Punter places big bet on Eagles Kenneth Gainwell’s long shot to win MVP

A punter is looking at the Philadelphia Eagles depth chart for a potential Super Bowl MVP long shot.

According to BetMGM, a Michigan bettor placed a $2,500 bet on Eagles running back Kenneth Gainwell to win Super Bowl MVP on Sunday. Gainwell is listed at +12500 to win the prize, meaning the payout would be $312,500 if it materializes.

Gainwell has had a good postseason so far as he has split carries with Miles Sanders. While Gainwell rushed for just 240 yards in the regular season (compared to Sanders’ 1,269), Gainwell outran Sanders 160 yards to 132 in Philadelphia’s two playoff games.

Gainwell also has just two fewer carries (26) than Sanders (28) and has caught three of five targets for 35 yards. Sanders has only been targeted once out of the backfield: a three-yard reception in the NFC Championship Game win over the San Francisco 49ers.

Kenneth Gainwell is a long shot for a reason

Gainwell played well, but was it really a real split backfield approach for the Eagles?

Sanders had 17 carries in their divisional round win over the New York Giants — a 38-7 blowout — and 13 of them came in the first half. Five of Gainwell’s 12 carries came in the first half.

The Eagles had a 28–0 halftime lead and were content to mostly run out the clock in the second half while holding on to a large lead. Sanders had four carries in the second half. Gainwell had nine, including a 35-yard touchdown run in the final two minutes.

In the NFC Championship Game against the 49ers, the splits were similar. Sanders had 10 first half carries while Gainwell had three rush attempts and two targets. In the second half, with the Eagles leading 28-7 and the 49ers without a good quarterback, Gainwell had 11 carries while Sanders was wrapped in bubble wrap and only touched the ball once.

Philadelphia Eagles running back Kenneth Gainwell in action during the NFC Championship Game NFL football game on Sunday, January 29, 2023 in Philadelphia.  (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Philadelphia Eagles running back Kenneth Gainwell in action during the NFC Championship Game NFL football game on Sunday, January 29, 2023 in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

And when you look at the regular season as a whole, the carry distribution for the Eagles weighs significantly in Sanders’ favor. He had 259 attempts, more than Gainwell (53) and Boston Scott (54) combined.

Could Gainwell play a big role in the Super Bowl? The Eagles have so many other weapons, and that includes quarterback Jalen Hurts’ running prowess. Hurts had 760 yards and 13 touchdowns on 165 rushing during the regular season. The Eagles also have two star receivers – AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith – and an excellent tight end, Dallas Goedert.

Gainwell, who doesn’t even play on special teams (Scott is the kickoff returner) is the very definition of a long shot. There are just so many taps to get around.

Who are the favorites to win the Super Bowl MVP?

Unsurprisingly, the two quarterbacks are favorites to win Super Bowl MVP. Hurts and Patrick Mahomes are both listed at +135 on BetMGM. A quarterback has won Super Bowl MVP 31 times, including four of the last six seasons. Mahomes himself had a win in Super Bowl LIV as the Chiefs beat the 49ers.

Behind those two on the odds board are Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (+1100) and Eagles wide receiver AJ Brown (+1400). Next, Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith, Sanders and Eagles rusher Haason Reddick are all listed at +3000.

Mahomes (10.9%), Kelce (10.8%) and Hurts (10.4%) received the most MVP bets on BetMGM. Mahomes received 21.9% of the money with Hurts next at 16.1%.

Here’s a more comprehensive look at the Super Bowl MVP Odds Scoreboard at BetMGM:

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