Assessing the leading MLB MVP contenders through the first two months
Mookie Betts and Aaron Judge have emerged as the favorites to win the MVP honors in their respective leagues after making a blistering start to the season. We are now two months in, and they have established themselves as the most potent offensive weapons in the business. However, it is a long and grueling season, and there is plenty of time for new contenders to come to the fore. Let’s take a look at the current MVP futures betting odds and see where the value lies:
National League MVP Contenders
At the start of the season, some commentators speculated that Betts would slow down this year after recovering from a serious hip injury. However, the five-time All-Star has made a mockery of such projections by blazing a trail of destruction across the NL in the first two months. In May, he set a franchise record by becoming the first Dodger with at least one run in 15 straight starts. He led the majors with 31 runs during the month, hitting .342/.411/.746. It was the best month any Dodger has had since Duke Snider in July 1954. Betts is now operating at the peak of his powers for the first time since joining the Dodgers. He also has the best defensive Wins Above Replacement (WAR) record of any right fielder this year. He is now the +320 favorite with FanDuel for the MVP award, while some sportsbooks will only go to +275.
Machado will provide fierce competition for Betts in the MVP race. They have similar offensive WAR numbers, but Machado’s sparkling defense at third base may just make him the best player in the league so far this year. He is batting .344/.421/.566, with nine home runs and seven stolen bases, cementing his status as one of the elite talents in the majors. His three-run homer to put the Brewers to the sword at the start of June showcased his power, and he should continue to impress throughout the season. He is the second favorite at +440 with FanDuel for the MVP award, and that looks like a really tempting set of odds.
The Cardinals’ offense has been on fire this year, with Tommy Edman and Nolan Arenado both impressing on a regular basis. However, Goldschmidt has been the star of the show. We have not seen him play like this since 2015. He had 12 home runs and 47 RBI already, and he has just been crowned NL Player of the Month. Goldschmidt enters June as the hottest hitter in baseball, having put together a 25-game hitting streak, and he has now reached base safely in 41 consecutive games. He is best priced at +550 with PlaySugarHouse, BetRivers and Unibet to be named NL MVP.
The reigning NL MVP has gone out to +1200 with PlaySugarHouse and Unibet in this year’s betting. The Phillies have underwhelmed this season, costing Joe Girardi his job, but Harper has still shown flashes of his brilliance. A prime example was his game-tying salami into the second deck in right field at the weekend, which inspired his team to a dramatic comeback victory over the Angels. He deserves to be an outsider right now, but there is still time for Harper to force his way back into contention.
Alosno was cut to just +900 with PointsBet to be named NL MVP after his two homers led the Mets to a 9-4 victory over the Dodgers at the weekend. However, you can still find +1500 on him with Unibet and PlaySugarHouse. He is maturing as a hitter, taking at-bats every single night, and there is a distinct chance that Alonso could become the first Mets player to ever win the MVP award.
Juan Soto is priced at +2000, which could interest some bettors. Arenado was among the favorites a month ago, but he has now drifted out to +2000 with FanDuel, and that looks interesting, as he could rediscover the form he displayed in early May. Trea Turner also appeals as a +3000 long shot with several books. He is currently overshadowed by Betts, but there is still time for the reigning batting champion to shine.
American League MVP Contenders
Most sportsbooks make Judge the narrow favorite ahead of Shohei Ohtani to be named American League MVP this year. BetMGM is offering a market leading +300 on Judge, who has a stronger offensive WAR figure than any other player in the AL. He took a major gamble by turning down a large contract extension from the Yankees, but it now looks very shrewd, as Judge will now be in line for a massive contract when the offseason rolls around. He now has more home runs through 53 games than Yankees greats Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle did in the record-breaking 1961 season. He is now on 21 homers for the season, following another fine display against the Detroit Tigers. Judge remains on pace for 40-plus dingers, which would give him a great chance of winning the MVP honor.
BetMGM, PointsBet, PlaySugarHouse and a couple of other sportsbooks make Ohtani the favorite for the MVP award this year. However, you can find a market beating +350 on him at FanDuel, which looks attractive. Babe Ruth comparisons abound after the Japanese star flourished as both a hitter and pitcher for the Los Angeles Angels during the opening two months of the season. Ohtani is hitting .243 with OPS of .776, with 11 home runs and 32 RBIs. That cannot match Judge’s figures, but Ohtani is also 3-4 in nine starts on the mound, with 65 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.99. Many are encouraging him to go in one direction or the other – John Smoltz recently claimed he would be the AL’s best pitcher if he never hit again – but it is exciting to see Ohtani flourishing in both departments.
The venerable GOAT candidate is currently enduring the worst drought of his career. His 0-for-23 skid is the longest hitless streak in his career, and that has caused the odds on him being named MVP to drift out to +450 with BetMGM and Caesars Sportsbook. However, it was only a week ago that Trout led the majors for OBS+, and it would not take a great stretch of the imagination to envisage him returning to the top of the chart at some point this season. Yet odds of +450 on him do not look particularly appealing right now, so it might be worth waiting to see if he drifts further.
Ramirez trails the aforementioned trio by a considerable margin in the MVP futures betting, but he remains well clear of the chasing pack. He is priced at +1200 or +1300 with leading sportsbooks after regularly leaving Guardians fans speechless with his brilliance in the opening stages of the season. He is on 53 RBI for the season, just one behind leader Alonso, despite having played seven games fewer. Ramirez is extremely valuable to his team, and he should be in the MVP conversation by the end of the season.
Devers cranked his 12th homer of the season in a 5-2 win against the Athletics on Sunday. He ended the game 2-for-3 with a first inning home run, a walk and an additional run to lead his team to victory. Devers now ranks second in the league for at-bats, fourth for runs, fifth for batting average, sixth for OPS, 14th for dingers and 23rd for RBI. He has been remarkably consistent so far, making him an interesting contender at +2300 with some leading MLB betting sites.
You can now find +3000 on Yordan Alvarez, +4500 on Byron Buxton and +5500 on Luis Robert if you are seeking interesting long shots. Alvarez has just agreed a six-year, $115 million extension with the Astros, representing the largest contract ever handed to a player whose primary position is designated hitter. The 2019 Rookie of the Year had a career best 33 homers and 104 RBIs in 2021, and he was then named ALCS MVP after tearing it up in the postseason. He is currently tied for second in the majors with 16 home runs, behind only Judge and he ranks fourth for OPS. The Houston slugger could go from strength to strength after earning his extension, making odds of +3000 intriguing.