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NL and AL MVP Odds – Who’s the Best Bet

Bryan Thiel

by Bryan Thiel in MLB Baseball

Mar 31, 2021 · 6:40 AM PDT

Francisco Lindor, Shortstop, New York Mets
New York Mets' Francisco Lindor (12) reacts after scoring god a solo home run during the fifth inning of a spring training baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Tuesday, March 23, 2021, in Port St. Lucie, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
  • The NL MVP Odds and AL MVP Odds have been updated prior to the start of the 2021 season
  • Last year, Freddie Freeman opened at +2500 and Jose Abreu wasn’t listed until August; both earned MVP honors
  • See the NL and AL MVP fields below and which longshots could win

The 2020 MLB season was unlike any other. And not just because of the whole COVID-shortened, 60-game season thing.

Both the NL and AL MVP were initially longshots when things started up. In fact, Jose Abreu wasn’t even on the board until August, when he showed up at +950. Freddie Freeman had similarly long odds at +2500, but ended up a near-unanimous winner.

With the 2021 regular season set to start on April 1st, here’s a look at the respective MVP odds.

2021 NL MVP Odds

Player Odds
Mookie Betts, LAD +750
Juan Soto, WAS +750
Ronald Acuna, ATL +800
Cody Bellinger, LAD +800
Fernando Tatis Jr, SD +850
Nolan Arenado, STL +1200
Freddie Freeman, ATL +1200
Francisco Lindor, NYM +1200
Christian Yelich, MIL +1200
Bryce Harper, PHI +1500
Corey Seager, LAD +1500
Manny Machado, SD +2200
Trevor Story, COL +2500
Ozzie Albies, ATL +3000
Kris Bryant, CHC +3000
Ketel Marte, ARZ +3000
JT Realmuto, PHI +3000
Anthony Rizzo, CHC +3000
Pete Alonso, NYM +3300
Javier Baez, CHC +3300
Paul Goldschmidt, STL +3300
Michael Conforto, NYM +4000
Ian Happ, CHC +4000
Rhys Hoskins, PHI +4000
Max Muncy, LAD +4000

Odds as of March 30 from DraftKings

There is a lot of exciting, young talent in the National League, and it’s reflected in the MLB MVP Odds.

After four-straight seasons of finishing in the top 10 of AL voting, Mookie Betts swooped in and finished second in the NL in 2020. Machado, Soto and Tatis rounded out the top five. But there’s a couple of shortstops who could be in the running for 2021.

Lindor Looks for Betts-level Transition

Arguably the biggest move of the MLB off-season was the New York Mets landing Francisco Lindor.

The former Cleveland shortstop has been a monster across multiple categories for years. While 2020 was a bit of a step backwards, there’s reason to believe he’ll have an instant impact on the MVP picture.

Francisco Lindor: 2017-19 Averages vs 2020

2017-19 Averages
VS
2020

.278 Batting Average .258
34 Home Runs 8
85 RBI 27
110 Runs 30
21 Stolen Bases 6
.342 On-Base Percentage .335
.514 Slugging Percentage .415

Lindor has been especially durable, playing all 60 games last year, 143 in 2019, and at least 158 in the three seasons prior.

A two-time Gold Glove winner, leading the Mets back to the playoffs for just the fourth time since 2001 would likely mean another great season. And doing it in a market like New York could influence voters.

Seager Looks to Ride Red-Hot Postseason

Corey Seager has consistently shown flashes of what could be throughout six seasons. He looked like the surest of things through 2015-17, but Tommy John surgery slowed him down in 2018-19. Then he came back with a bang.

Corey Seager: 2020

Season AVG HR RBI OBP SLG% OPS
Regular Season .307 15 41 .358 .585 .943
NLCS .310 5 11 .333 .897 1.230
World Series .400 2 5 .556 .700 1.256

Seager was back to his dominant ways in the regular season, and played in 52 of 60 games. He followed that up with back-to-back MVPs in the NLCS and World Series.

The hot-hitting has continued this Spring, as he’s slugged eight homers and is hitting .346. While Betts and Cody Bellinger carry big-name value on a team where attention is split, Seager’s continued ascension could carry strong value.

2021 AL MVP Odds

Player Odds
Mike Trout, LAA +225
Alex Bregman, HOU +1200
Aaron Judge, NYY +1200
Jose Ramirez, CLE +1200
Matt Chapman, OAK +1500
Anthony Rendon, LAA +1500
Shohei Ohtani, LAA +2000
Jose Abreu, CHW +2500
Tim Anderson, CHW +2500
Vladimir Guerrero Jr, TOR +2500
Yoan Moncada, CHW +2500
Luis Robert, CHW +2500
Gleyber Torres, NYY +2500
Rafael Devers, BOS +3000
Yasmani Grandal, CHW +3000
Bo Bichette, TOR +3300
Xander Bogaerts, BOS +3300
DJ LeMahieu, NYY +3300
George Springer, TOR +3300
Carlos Correa, HOU +4000
Josh Donaldson, MIN +4000
Matt Olson, OAK +4000
Giancarlo Stanton, NYY +4000
Kyle Tucker, HOU +4000
Yordan Alvarez, HOU +4000

Odds as of March 30 from DraftKings

Not surprisingly, Mike Trout tops the MLB MVP Odds in the American League. An annual contender, 2020 marked just the second time since 2011 that the three-time MVP didn’t receive a first-place vote. There is no case to be made against Trout other than voter fatigue. He’s as safe a bet as there is, and the board rightly reflects that.

So where’s the value in the AL?

Ohtani Eyeing Bounce-Back Season

One player that could get some recognition if the Angels are in the playoff hunt is Trout’s teammate, Shohei Ohtani.

The two-way superstar bottomed out in 2020 in terms of his slash numbers, but that could be attributed partly to bad luck.

Shohei Ohatni: 2018/19  vs 2020

2018/19 Averages
VS
2020

.286 Batting Average .190
20 Home Runs 7
62 RBI 24
55 Runs 23
.351 On-Base Percentage .291
.532 Slugging Percentage .366
.883 OPS .657
.352 BaBIP .229
.380 rOBA .301

There’s an important number that isn’t listed, and that’s 105. That’s the average number of games played in Ohtani’s first two seasons. Averaging his 2020 numbers over that span the home runs and RBI (16 and 57) are still down, but it’s palatable. Combined with his dreadful BaBIP and a career-high pull rate (35.9%) there’s room for improvement.

Ohtani’s Spring at the plate has been blistering (.552 average, five homers), but he’s been battered as a pitcher. Purely as a hitter, if Ohtani can play 130+ games he’s a solid bet. But if he scuffles on the mound, it could sap some votes.

AL Shortstops Should Produce

Both Xander Bogaerts and Tim Anderson are primed for some MVP love.

Bogaerts’ climb is much more uphill. While his last three seasons have been excellent, the pitching will likely keep Boston from being playoff caliber. He’s been moved to the cleanup spot, which could mean a production bump. If Boston can stay in the race for a Wild Card spot, and he’s mashing, it could go a long way.

For Anderson, it comes down to the fact he plays a premium position on a loaded team. The Eloy Jimenez injury hurts Chicago’s offense, and predictions of how their season could go vary. But if Anderson flirts with a 30/30 season at the top of the White Sox’ order, that should stick out in the race.

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