Tom Brady basically even-money wager on the Super Bowl MVP odds

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The upside of having such a familiar presence as the top prop on the Super Bowl MVP odds is that there is value elsewhere that could be realized if there’s an unlikely outcome.

As one would expect, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is a near even-money +110 favorite on the Super Bowl LIII MVP odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The Los Angeles Rams’ Jared Goff, Brady’s counterpart QB in the matchup set for February 3 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, is the second favorite at +225.

Thirteen of the last 20 Super Bowl MVPs, or 65 percent, have indeed been quarterbacks – including Brady a record four times in his eight appearances –  with wide receivers winning three times, linebackers three times and a defensive back once. But that is a slightly lower percentage than the league MVP award for the regular season, which has gone to a quarterback 14 times in the last 20 seasons, including 10 of the last 11.

Brady is the clear-cut favorite, with other Patriots offensive contributors such as Sony Michel (+1500), James White (+2000), Julian Edelman (+2500) and Rob Gronkowski (+3300) dispersed over the top half of the board on those Super Bowl prop bets.

Based on recent production and the fact that wide receivers have occasionally nabbed the honor, Edelman is probably the most justifiable longshot play. Given the Patriots’ emphasis on time of possession, it’s unlikely that defenders such as linebacker Kyle Van Noy (+10000) or defensive end Trey Flowers (+10000) will get enough opportunity to wrest the spotlight from Brady and cohorts.

If there is a sleeper wearing Rams blue and gold, it is likely defensive tackle Aaron Donald (+1800), who led the NFL in sacks during the regular season and will be counted on to force some disruptions in New England’s offense.

A running back has not won the award since Terrell Davis did so 21 seasons ago. The Rams’ Todd Gurley (+1100) and C.J. Anderson (+2500) present the biggest rushing threat New England, the favorite on the Super Bowl odds, has seen in the playoffs, but a job-share might work against getting MVP buzz during the game.

The Rams’ upset chances likely also rest somewhat on getting points off turnovers. Cornerbacks Aqib Talib (+8000) and Marcus Peters (+10000) are the picks that match up with that narrative.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Two teams are set to dominate the 2019 NFL Draft: Patriots and…the Raiders?

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The owner of the 2019 NFL Draft? Oakland, with rookie GM Mike Mayock, who counts Bill Belichick as one of his best friends in football.

The power broker, potentially, of the 2019 NFL Draft? New England, which will have the ammo to move up, down and sideways—and Belichick has always loved wheeling and dealing on draft weekend.

The Raiders have four picks in the top 35. The Patriots have one pick in the top 55. But that’s a misleading part of the story. There’s great depth in this draft from pick 25 to 100 and even deeper, some scouts at the Senior Bowl thought. So there could be fine value in the Patriot picks when they are slated to choose five times in a 45-pick span from 56 to 101.

Raiders and Patriots picks in the top 110 overall choices of the draft, as of today:

• New England: 1st round, 32nd overall; 2-56; 2-64; 3-73; 3-97^; 3-101^

• Oakland: 1st round, 4th overall; 1-24; 1-27; 2-35; 3-66; 4-106

^ Projected compensatory picks for the losses of Nate Solder and Malcolm Butler in free agency, as calculated by Over the Cap’s Nick Korte.

Read more from Peter King’s Football Morning in America by clicking here

Bengals coach Zac Taylor has had no time to process the Rams’ crushing Super Bowl LIII loss

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Don’t you always wonder what it’s like for a man to coach in the Super Bowl, then, a day or two later, get introduced as the new coach of Team X? It’s crazy. Happened twice last week. The Patriots found it odd that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross was in their Atlanta lobby at 9 a.m. Monday, 5.5 hours after the Super Bowl victory party ended, to ferry new coach Brian Flores (ex-Patriots defensive coordinator) to south Florida to be introduced as coach Monday afternoon. Zac Taylor had a few more hours to get his family to Cincinnati. The former Rams quarterback coach’s introductory press conference was Tuesday.

So it was interesting to hear Taylor’s reaction over the weekend when I asked him: “How disappointing was it to play the way your offense played in the Super Bowl?”

“I haven’t had a chance to process it, quite honestly,” he said from Cincinnati. “There just hasn’t been time. I haven’t watched the game. Honestly, I’m conflicted. It’s devastating to work so hard to get to the championship game, and for your entire team to pour everything they’ve got into it, and then to lose like that.

“But five or six hours after the game, I’m on a plane to Cincinnati, on the way to fulfill a dream I’ve had for so long—to be a head coach in the NFL. And then your brain goes there. It’s just … it’s just the way it is, and you’ve got to turn the page.”

There was some discomfort in his voice, bordering on pain. It’s easy to sit back and say, Buck up, buddy. You’re about to make millions to coach a football team. True, but if you’ve been a football coach for a while, and you help your team get to the Super Bowl, regardless of the outcome, it’s got to be odd to just walk out the door a few hours after the biggest game of all of your lives, no time to process or adjust, and you move on while everyone else wallows.

One other question. I asked Taylor if he’d had much of a chance to consider how close the Rams came to taking a lead with four minutes left in the third quarter, when Jason McCourty, panic-stricken, ran 20 yards in 2.4 seconds (per NFL Next Gen Stats) to bat a decisive touchdown away from Brandin Cooks in the back of the end zone. If Jared Goff was a millisecond quicker with his throw, the touchdown would have given LA a 7-3 lead and put huge pressure on New England. Instead, the Rams settled for a field goal to tie it, 3-3.

Taylor: Sigh.

“In football, you just miss by inch sometimes,” he said. “You can be an inch from … “

Sigh again.

“That’s football in a nutshell. That’s football.”

I thought that would be it from Taylor, but he brightened, as his mentor Sean McVay would have. Taylor continued, “Criticism, pressure, adversity. We want our staff and our players to understand that this is the NFL. This is why you do this job. The energy, the camaraderie, can’t be duplicated, except maybe at the craps table in Vegas when you’re on a roll.”

The Bengals have needed some energy, and an offensive spur. I’m looking forward to seeing what Taylor can provide.

Read more from Peter King’s Football Morning in America by clicking here