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MLB MVP Odds: Can Shohei Ohtani Catch Aaron Judge in the AL MVP Race?

According to oddsmakers, both MVP races are shaping up to be a three-man sprint to the finish over the second half of the season. Who are the top bets in each league as we approach the All-Star Break?
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MLB MVP Odds: Can Shohei Ohtani Catch Aaron Judge in the AL MVP Race?

According to oddsmakers, both MVP races are shaping up to be a three-man sprint to the finish over the second half of the season. The most intriguing case is the major push Shohei Ohtani has made in the last month to win his second straight MVP award. Who are the top bets in each league as we approach the All-Star Break?

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MLB American League MVP Odds

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Yordan Alvarez AL MVP Odds (+900) (Bet $100 to win $900)

At least by the odds, it may not look like Alvarez is in the same stratosphere as Ohtani and Judge, but if he keeps hitting like he has since the beginning of June, he is going to force the issue for MVP voters. Since June 1, Alvarez leads all major league batters in WAR, despite being an overall negative on the defensive side of the ball. He is slashing an insane .388/.487/.806 with 11 home runs and 30 RBI. But perhaps even more impressive is the fact that he is walking (14.3%) almost as much as he is striking out (15.1%) over that stretch. He now leads the majors in average exit velocity and has become one of the most feared power hitters in the league. Of course, the downside to Alvarez is he doesn't play much defense (like Judge) and he doesn't pitch (like Ohtani). In the end, voters may hold that against him when there are two other worthy candidates. But in terms of his offense, he is second to none this year.

Shohei Ohtani AL MVP Odds (+250) (Bet $100 to win $250)

Considering the recent stretch of dominance both at the plate and on the mound, the conversation has resurfaced about whether or not we are watching the best overall baseball player ever right now. Ohtani is one of only eight players to have at least seven homers and three steals since the beginning of June and he is hitting .277/.376/.536 in that span. Those numbers are elite enough before they even begin to factor in what he has been doing on the mound.

It's not hyperbole to say that Ohtani has been the best pitcher in the major leagues since June 1. He has the lowest ERA (1.23), eighth-highest WAR (1.2), fifth-best K/9 (11.78), and he leads the majors in wins (5). It seems like on a nightly basis, Ohtani is doing things we have never seen before, at least since the days of Babe Ruth. The +110 number for Judge is a tough one to overcome, but Ohtani is charging right now and looks like a tremendous value bet if you can find +250 for MVP.

Aaron Judge AL MVP Odds (+110) (Bet $100 to win $110)

Last night, Aaron Judge became the first to 30 home runs this season in grand fashion. He hit a grand slam against the Pirates to give him 30 bombs and 64 RBI on the year. The homers are three more than any other player so far, and he is fourth in RBI and second in slugging percentage on the season. Assuming he stays healthy, Judge's gamble on himself in a contract year is going to lead to perhaps one of the largest contracts a major league baseball player has ever seen this offseason.

But somehow it feels like Judge is losing steam in this race. Both Alvarez and Ohtani are gaining quickly after massive months, while Judge has just been consistently excellent all year. In the end, Judge still likely wins this award. If the Yankees win a historic 110+ game, voters will want to reward someone for that level of success. Many books, including DraftKings (-130) and BetMGM (-110) already have Judge in minus odds territory.

MLB American League MVP Odds

Aaron Judge+110
Shohei Ohtani+250
Yordan Alvarez+900

MLB National League MVP Odds

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Pete Alonso NL MVP Odds (+650) (Bet $100 to win $650)

If we were looking at this list just one week ago, we likely would have seen Pete Alonso ahead of Manny Machado in the MVP race. In the months of May and June, Alonso had two unbelievable months where he amassed 18 home runs and 52 RBI just in those 53 games. He has yet to hit a homer or produce an RBI in July, so we may continue to see him slip slightly until he gets the power back on track.

But they may present a betting opportunity for us with Alonso. As we will see with Machado and Goldschmidt, they have their own warts as well, and Alonso has the benefit of leading the way for arguably the best offense in the National League (the Mets have scored only 13 fewer runs than the Dodgers). After a "down" 2021 season where he hit only 37 home runs, Alonso is back on track for around 45 home runs and almost 170 RBI. No player has done that since Jimmie Foxx in 1938. If he reaches those milestones, doesn't he have to win?

Manny Machado NL MVP Odds (+600) (Bet $100 to win $600)

Much like Alonso, Machado was an offensive force the first three months of 2022 but has not been able to keep up that pace the first few days in July. On the season, Machado is slashing .316/.389/.526 with a strong 12 home runs, seven stolen bases, and 46 RBI. But this month he is at .133/.235/.200 with nary a home run, RBI, or steal. That has opened the door slightly for players like Pete Alonso and Mookie Betts to make a charge.

Machado did see some real luck in the first couple of months of the season. His batting average on balls in play each month has really told the story of the minor decline in production. In April, that number was .438, and it plummeted to .306 in June and just .250 in July. It will normalize back to around .300 if history holds, but the massive numbers and batting average we saw back in April and May will likely not reappear for any substantial stretch this year. Machado is having an astounding year offensively and defensively, but from this group, I rank him third in how likely it is he will win MVP.

Paul Goldschmidt NL MVP Odds (+120) (Bet $100 to win $120)

Much like Aaron Judge, many sportsbooks already have Goldschmidt in minus odds territory before we even hit the All-Star Break. Most books are hovering around -110 to +100 which is a testament to just how amazing a season the Cardinals' first baseman is having. Goldy leads the National League in batting average and slugging percentage and is second in RBI with 65. He is getting on base more than 42% of the time and looks like vintage Goldschmidt out there this year.

The one thing potentially holding Goldschmidt back this year is precedence. Goldschmidt will be 35 years old when the 2022 season finishes. There has not been a 35-year-old MVP since Barry Bonds in 2004. And while Goldschmidt is having an electric season, he isn't going to touch Bonds' .362/609/.812 with 45 home runs from that season. Still, assuming good health, Goldschmidt has as good a chance of anyone in the National League with the recent slip from Manny Machado.

MLB National League MVP Odds

Paul Goldschmidt+110
Manny Machado+600
Pete Alonso+650

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Proudest husband and dad you will ever find. When I'm not with my wife and two kids I split my time working in higher ed, grinding DFS and season-long, collecting silver age comics, studying behavioral economics, and drinking coffee. I once played Pat Connaughton in an actual NBA DFS lineup for money. Astros, Rockets, and Texans for life.


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