Steelers' Polamalu a good MVP bet

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by Sportsbook Advisor - 1/29/2009 11:43 AM Share

Betting on a defensive player to win the Super Bowl MVP award is a risky proposition. It has happened only seven times in the 42 games.

Yet All-Pro safety might be worth the risk at +1200 on Those odds are better than anyone else's other than Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger (+150), Cardinals QB Kurt Warner (+200), Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (+400), Steelers RB Willie Parker (+625) and Cardinals DB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (+800 on

Why put money down on Polamalu? While linebacker James Harrison is the NFL defensive player of the year, Polamalu is easily the team's most important defensive player. He changes the way teams play because of who physical he is, either roaming center field ready to crush a receiver or playing up front against the run, almost like another linebacker. Oh, and he had seven interceptions this season, a career high and second in the NFL.

Just look at the AFC Championship Game, where Polamalu sealed the victory over Baltimore when he intercepted Joe Flacco and went 40 yards for a touchdown. And he also had a key stop on Flacco on fourth-and-1 at the end of the first quarter. He was the MVP of that game, hands down.

And he's noticeable with those long flowing locks, something that can't be overstated to those MVP voters.

"He's something special, something you can't teach, can't work out, can't buy," Roethlisberger said. "Sometimes it seems like he's all over the field, and you wonder, ‘Is he supposed to be there?' "

Polamalu was voted to his fifth straight Pro Bowl this season, and Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau says the safety has never played better.

"We always know where he's going," LeBeau said of Polamalu's freedom to roam the field. "But we're not always sure how he's going to get there."

With Fitzgerald going crazy this postseason, expect Polamalu to be around him often.

"He's arguably the best safety in the business," Fitzgerald says. "He's all over the field. He causes so much disruption. ... You have to know where he's at, and then right when you think he's over here, he's in your backfield or he's picking off a play on the backside.

"He's all over the place, and you have to identify where he's at and try not to let him affect the game, because he does such a good job of disrupting it."

A defensive back has won the MVP award just three times, but Polamalu is in great position to make it four. Be aware that in the seven previous games that a defensive player won the MVP award, that defense allowed an average of just 12.1 points per game. And also know that a defensive player won the MVP the last time this game was in Tampa - Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis.

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