Maybe Shohei Ohtani being surpassed as AL MVP favorite is just wishful thinking from BetMGM.
Ohtani’s unbelievable season for the Los Angeles Angels is a problem for BetMGM. Ohtani, who opened at +1100 odds to win AL MVP, has 41.1% of tickets and 39.5% of the money on him to win the award. Ohtani has 25 homers, second in the AL, and a 2.58 ERA. We’ve never seen anything like this in the past century of Major League Baseball. Ohtani is the biggest liability BetMGM has in the AL MVP futures market. His current odds at BetMGM are +105.
And yet, he’s not favored anymore. The guy leading the AL in home runs is.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is new MVP favorite
Ohtani has been surpassed as the AL MVP favorite, though not by much. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Toronto Blue Jays is the new favorite. He’s +100. Only 8.8 percent of the money bet on AL MVP at BetMGM is on Guerrero.
Guerrero has 26 home runs. No other AL player aside from Guerrero or Ohtani has more than 20 homers. Guerrero also leads the AL in hits, RBI, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. He’s hitting .342, which is amazing in the current offensive environment.
There’s about half of the MLB season to go, but odds indicate AL MVP is already a two-man race. No other player has shorter than +2500 odds. Guerrero is having a phenomenal season, Ohtani is doing something that has not been done over a full season in more than 100 years, and it is going to be a fun race over the second half of the season.
Good race for AL MVP
There’s really no value in either favorite to win MVP (taking a shot on someone like Oakland A’s first baseman Matt Olsen at +5000 is the better move, though you’d probably need injuries to Guerrero and Ohtani to have a shot), but there are plenty of tickets out on both players. And the arguments for both will be interesting.
What value should there be on a player who has been very good pitching and hitting? Guerrero is having the better offensive season to this point. He doesn’t pitch through, like practically every other major leaguer since Babe Ruth.
The novelty of Ohtani’s two-way act might go a long way in the voting. And it’s not just a narrative; his value to the Angels is obvious. Ohtani’s wins over replacement (WAR) is 5.6, well ahead of Guerrero at 4.2. Ohtani is offering a ton of value to the Angels, even if his teammates don’t help much. The Angels are 37-40 and unfortunately, some voters will refuse to ever vote for an individual player on a sub-.500 team. Like it would be Ohtani’s fault.
A lot can and will change over the final three months of the season. We’re set up for a fun story, no matter how it shakes out.