In a typical Major League Baseball campaign, Toronto Blue Jays slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr. would be a certifiable lock on the AL MVP odds board.
It would be the happy result of Guerrero currently leading all AL hitters in runs, batting average, on-base percentage, and OPS while ranking second in slugging rate, fourth in home runs, and fourth in RBI.
However, with three weeks remaining in the regular season, Guerrero has consistently operated under the immense shadow of Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani, the most prolific two-way player since the early days of a guy named Babe Ruth.
So, which coming-of-age star will cash for customers in the AL MVP odds market? Props.com recently reached out to PointsBet USA sports analyst Mike Korn to break down the frontrunners for the coveted award.
American League MVP Odds
|Shohei Ohtani||Los Angeles Angels||-5000|
|Vladimir Guerrero Jr.||Toronto Blue Jays||+1800|
|Rafael Devers||Boston Red Sox||+8000|
|Jose Altuve||Houston Astros||+8000|
|Matt Olson||Oakland Athletics||+8000|
|Xander Bogaerts||Boston Red Sox||+8000|
|Marcus Semien||Toronto Blue Jays||+8000|
Odds via the PointsBet USA Sportsbook on September 8, 2021
Shohei Ohtani’s Incomparable Effect On The AL MVP Odds
HITTING STATS (through Sept. 8): 43 HR, 93 RBI, 89 runs, 23 steals, .356 OBP, .964 OPS
PITCHING STATS: 9-1, 2.97 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 135/41 K-BB, .198 opponents’ batting average
Before Ohtani swung at (or threw) his first pitch of the 2021 season, bettors at PointsBet USA could’ve gotten +2200 odds on the Japanese phenom to walk away with the AL MVP award—in other words, a $100 wager would’ve netted a cool $2,200. Today? You’d have to lay $4,000 to win $100, as Ohtani’s odds have dropped all the way to -4000.
Korn said Ohtani’s preseason AL MVP odds at PointsBet were his longest of the season, and following five-plus months of Ohtanimania, his current odds are the shortest. And despite some juicy prices on guys like Guerrero, bettors aren’t biting.
“The AL MVP betting market is still open, but we’re not taking much action on it at all,” Korn said. “Everyone realizes that Ohtani has this locked up.”
That comment reinforces how this year’s AL MVP “race” virtually has no modern-day precedent, with Ohtani essentially lapping the field and his victory a foregone conclusion. Sure, in 2012, Detroit Tigers star Miguel Cabrera captured the American League Triple Crown (ranking first in batting average, homers, and RBI) and ended up winning the MVP rather handily. But he had some stiff competition from Angels outfielder Mike Trout.
Even though Cabrera became the first player to capture the Triple Crown since 1967, several voters were more impressed with Trout’s amazing rookie season. In just 139 games, Trout hit .326 with 30 home runs, 83 RBI, 129 runs, 49 steals, and a .963 OPS.
After Cabrera claimed the MVP again in 2013, Trout broke through for his first award in 2014—and he won it in a landslide, finishing with nearly twice as many votes (420) as runner-up Victor Martinez (a catcher and Cabrera’s Tigers teammate).
Thanks to his Ruthian-like effort this season, Ohtani figures to shatter that 191-vote margin of victory. He also figures to fatten the wallets of a lot of AL MVP bettors, including those at PointsBet USA.
“Ohtani currently makes up 39 percent of the bet count and 56 percent of the handle for AL MVP,” Korn says.
“We are going to get rinsed on him winning the award—a fairly large loss for the book.”
Guerrero’s Final Push For An MVP Surprise
STATS (through Sept. 8): 41 HR, 99 RBI, 106 runs, .320 batting average, 1.016 OPS
So what, if anything, can Guerrero do to make this a race? Well, it wouldn’t hurt if he led Toronto to the playoffs. That’s looking like a realistic possibility now that the offensively potent Blue Jays (76-62 overall) have won seven consecutive games to pull within 1.5 games of the second AL wild card.
If Guerrero can carry the Blue Jays into October and chase down Ohtani and Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez for the home run and RBI titles to capture the AL Triple Crown, would that be enough to steal the MVP trophy?
After all, it worked for Cabrera nine years ago.
“Ohtani is our only red book for the [AL MVP] award,” Korn said. “If any other player were to somehow win, it would be great for us. Not looking great, but we’re all allowed to hope right?”