It's safe to say that a major reason why the Cincinnati Bengals are playing in Super Bowl 56 on Sunday night is because of their stellar defensive efforts in the playoffs. Specifically, the team's pass-rush unit has been on fire. Cincinnati has racked up 8.0 sacks across three postseason contests.
Defensive tackle D.J. Reader hasn't gotten in on the sacking action quite yet, but his ability to act as a stopgap in the running game has worked wonders for the Bengals. Sports bettors looking for a dart throw in the Super Bowl MVP odds may want to consider the sixth-year big man.
DJ Reader Super Bowl MVP Odds
FanDuel Sportsbook lists Reader at +30000 to win the award, which understandably makes him a long shot option. He isn't going to be racking up yards through the air or breaking up passes down the field. However, his ability to carry Cincinnati's rush defense on his back cannot be overlooked.
Keep in mind Reader is just one of two Bengals players with 2 or more tackles for loss and 11 total tackles during the postseason. Overall, the former Clemson standout tallied 43 tackles, 2.0 sacks and 7 quarterback hits during the regular season (15 games).
It's possible that the Rams get out to an early lead and start to lean on the rushing game over the second half of the game. Of course, Reader's role would become immensely more important in that scenario. Getting off the field in favor of the offense will be crucial for Cincinnati's success.
Has a Defensive Tackle Ever Won Super Bowl MVP?
History shows that it's not going to be easy for Reader on Sunday. 10 defensive players have been named Super Bowl MVP, but only one defensive tackle has ever earned the honors. Randy White of the Dallas Cowboys accomplished the feat back in 1978 thanks to his role in forcing eight turnovers.
If anything, past Super Bowls have shown that a player can come out of nowhere and change the outcome of the game with just one play. Reader has the opportunity to shock the world.
Bet $5 to win $280 on either team to win Super Bowl 56!
Larry Rupp is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Larry Rupp also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username phillyfan424. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.