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MLB MVP Odds: Should You Bet on Betts?

Mookie Betts celebrates at home plate.
Mookie Betts has had a lot to celebrate in 2018. Photo by Keith Allison (Flickr) [CC License]
  • Vegas is about to be inundated with bets on Betts. The Red Sox right fielder is batting .359 with 17 home runs and 37 RBI
  • Can Betts continue to knock the stuffing out of the ball and win his first AL MVP award?
  • Will Mike Trout surpass Betts and earn his third MVP?

Boston’s smallest slugger is becoming baseball’s biggest story.

Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts has captured the attention of baseball fans and bookmakers alike by hitting .359 with 17 home runs and 37 RBI. The 5’9″ dynamo is leading the American League in batting average, slugging percentage, OPS, total bases, and runs, and has already had a pair of three homer games.

Betts’ power numbers are impressive for any player, but especially for an undersized outfielder who claims he doesn’t even hit home runs in batting practice.

Betts’ torrid start has Boston in first place and has him positioned to take home some serious hardware. His odds to win the 2018 AL MVP award have improved dramatically from +2300 on March 16th to +300 on May 31st across a number of top online betting sites.

Betts finished second in MVP balloting in 2016 and sixth in 2017, but his exceptional hitting this year initially caught many bookmakers off guard.

The 25-year-old has given much of the credit to new teammate JD Martinez, who has helped him rediscover his pop by refining his swing and preaching patience at the plate. Betts is now doing a far better job of working counts and is back to actively attacking pitches in the strike zone.

Top 5 AL MVP Contenders

Player Avg. Odds at BetOnline BA HR RBI
Mike Trout +200 .303 18 35
Mookie Betts +300 .359 17 37
Jose Altuve +1000 .335 4 29
Aaron Judge +1400 .292 15 40
Giancarlo Stanton +1600 .248 11 29

As good as Betts has been, he still isn’t the favorite to win the AL MVP award. That honor belongs to Mike Trout, whose average odds rose slightly from +125 on March 16th to +200 on May 31st. The Angels outfielder won the award twice in 2014 and 2016 and finished fourth in balloting last season despite missing 48 games with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb.

Trout is fully healthy again and is leading the American League in home runs, on base percentage, and WAR.

Trout is fully healthy again and is leading the American League in home runs, on base percentage, and WAR. Voters are likely to look kindly upon the fact that he has LA above .500 and within striking distance of the Astros in the jam-packed AL West.

And don’t overlook Jose Altuve. The 2017 AL MVP is hitting .338 and is leading the league in at bats and hits. His power numbers are down significantly from a year ago, but he’s still a key cog on a division leader and is liable to go off on a 20-game hitting streak at any time.

Top 5 NL MVP Contenders

Player Avg. Odds at BetOnline BA HR RBI
Bryce Harper +400 .238 18 40
Nolan Arenado +400 .319 11 34
Freddie Freeman +600 .335 9 40
Kris Bryant +1000 .281 8 27
Scooter Gennett +1200 .343 10 38

The National League has a surprise MVP candidate of its own this year in Scooter Gennett. The Reds second sacker wasn’t even among the 45 players listed by sportsbooks prior to the season, and now finds himself with average odds of +1200 to win MVP honors.

Gennett is hitting a career-high .343 with ten home runs and 38 RBI, but is at distinct disadvantage because of Cincinnati’s poor performance. Only two players from losing teams have won the MVP award since 2000, and the Reds are currently dead last in the National League. It’s hard to argue a player is truly among baseball’s elite when he can’t even help his team beat the Marlins.

The smart money is on Bryce Harper, whose average odds to win the NL MVP award are +400. The Nationals masher is leading the league in home runs and walks and has been heating up after a slow start to the season. Harper clubbed ten home runs in May and should see far more hittable pitches now that Anthony Rendon is back in the lineup and is producing at an All-Star level.

It’s also worth keeping an eye on Nolan Arenado, whose average odds have also improved to +400 since the start of the season. The Rockies third baseman finished fourth in MVP voting in 2017 and is back in the thick of things again with a .319 average.

Check out our 2018 MLB MVP Odds Tracker to see how the odds of baseball’s best players fluctuate as the season unfolds.

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Ryan Murphy began his love affair with sports journalism at the age of nine when he wrote his first article about his little league baseball team. He has since authored his own column for Fox Sports and has created campaigns for the WWE, the NHL, and the NFL. Ryan's critically acclaimed stories have also been published in 20 books and have been featured on more than 170 radio stations and 40 newspapers across North America.