2021 MLB MVP Betting Odds: Fernando Tatis Jr. Shortens the Distance to Acuña
Bob Levey/Getty Images. Pictured: Fernando Tatis Jr.
Opening Day for the 2021 season is finally here.
Here are the MVP odds for players in both the American League and National League. Odds as of June 1 and via PointsBet.
|Vladimir Guerrero Jr.||+300|
June 1 Update
Just as expected, an Angels star leads the American League odds, but it’s not Mike Trout, solely due to injury. Shohei Ohtani jumped his teammate as he continues to excel at both the plate and the mound.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. also saw a huge ascension up the board as he’s finally started to hit home runs after struggling to do so in 2020.
Houston’s Alex Bregman had the biggest fall in May, moving down from +1500 odds to +4000. The change in odds, however, has less to do with his continued strong play, and more to do with the rise of players on other teams.
May 1 Update
Nothing has changed at the top because of Mike Trout’s sensational April, although a teammate of his has become a legitimate candidate.
Whatever Shohei Ohtani does on the mound will only enhance his MVP chances, given how hot he has been at the plate to start the season.
Ohtani, who went from +2000 to +850 after one month of play, entered May with eight home runs, which were tied for second in the majors behind J.D. Martinez’s nine. Ohtani’s .972 OPS would be the highest of his career, as would his scolding .652 slugging percentage.
On the mound, Ohtani has made three starts and allowed five earned runs (seven total) over 13 2/3 innings. His 3.95 FIP indicates that his 3.29 ERA may rise, but Ohtani appears to have his stuff back. The key to improving his candidacy on the mound will be to lower his 8.6 walks per nine innings, which shouldn’t be too difficult.
The other major story is Byron Buxton, who went from off the board to start the season up to +1600.
Buxton has been very good over the past two seasons, registering an .833 OPS in 126 games between 2019-20. The problem was that it was just 126 games.
Buxton only played 18 games in April, but his .897 slugging percentage led the majors entering May. He also has three stolen bases and 16 total extra base-hits (eight home runs, eight doubles). Buxton’s case will come down to his health and whether the Twins can get out of the American League Central cellar.
It should come as no surprise that Mike Trout is once again favored. Even after a year in which he finished a mere fifth in the award voting, we’re still talking about a player who has won the award five times, finished second four times and finished in the top-five in every full season of his career.
Trout is still only 29, and the only questions regarding his MVP candidacy are health and the fact that he plays for a perennial loser, which still disqualifies him in the eyes of a faction of voters.
Behind Trout, last year’s winner, José Abreu, checks in at 25-1, tied for the fifth-lowest odds in the league. Among those in front of him are José Ramirez, last year’s runner-up, and Alex Bregman, who finished second in the last full season in 2019.
A handful of youngsters primed for a breakout rank among potentially intriguing plays, including Toronto slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (25-1), a trio of White Sox (Yoán Moncada and Luis Robert 25-1), and star building blocks on both sides of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry (Gleyber Torres 25-1, Rafael Devers 30-1).
Got your eyes even further toward the future? Global No. 1 prospect Wander Franco checks in at 60-1, although it’s unclear if or when the Rays will promote the 19-year-old. His future teammate Randy Arozarena, fresh off one of the most incredible postseason runs in history, still technically qualifies as a prospect, and he’s going at 50-1. Meanwhile, last year’s rookie of the year Kyle Lewis is 50-1, and the Angels’ Jo Adell, who had a miserable freshman campaign, is sitting at 100-1.
National League MVP
|Ronald Acuña Jr.||+280|
|Fernando Tatís Jr.||+300|
June 1 Update
Fernando Tatis Jr. was busy spending the month of May closing the distance between himself and Ronald Acuna Jr., as the Padres star shortened his second-best odds from +800 to +300.
Jesse Winker’s speedy rise up the board continues as he moved from +8500 in May to +4000 in June. His Reds teammate Nick Castellanos joins him as MVP candidates on a bad team.
Juan Soto has quite lived up to those preseason expectations, as his odds have gotten worse every month to where he now sits with +1600 odds.
May 1 Update
Before the season, there was a plethora of elite players at the top of the National League MVP oddsboard. Some of the best five-tool stars reside in the NL, and one took charge in April.
Ronald Acuña Jr. leads the majors with 25 runs scored hitting atop the Braves’ lineup, and he entered May pacing the NL in home runs (tied, eight), OPS (1.148), OPS+ (201) and total bases (62). Assuming the Braves are able to right the ship and start moving closer to the top of the division, he’ll be in great shape to win his first MVP.
Another name to watch at the top of the board is Bryce Harper, who hasn’t been among the MVP talk for a few years. He thrived during 2020’s shortened season, though, and has carried that form over to 2021.
Harper ended the month by getting hit in the face by a pitch and is in concussion protocol, but his 1.063 OPS and 195 OPS+ indicate he will be a contender for his second NL MVP.
At 28, Mookie Betts hardly qualifies as an elder statesman, but he’s six years the senior of his co-favorite for the NL award, Juan Soto.
Betts finished second a year ago and already has an award on his ledger, from 2018 with the Red Sox, while the Childish Bambino was fifth in 2020 despite leading the league in all three triple-slash categories at the age of 21.
Last year’s winner, Freddie Freeman, checks in at 13-1, while his teammate Ronald Acuña Jr. is right in front of him at 8-1.
2019 winner Cody Bellinger is 9-1, and emerging superstar Fernando Tatis Jr., who plays for the emerging contender Padres, is +850.
A couple of players who recently changed teams can be found with relatively low odds. New Cardinals third baseman Nolan Arenado is 12-1, which is the same as new Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor. A player who didn’t change teams, Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto, is 30-1.