MLB MVP Betting Odds, Picks: Best Bets Ahead of Opening Day
Getty Images. Pictured: Brandon Lowe, Aaron Judge and Luis Robert.
- Opening Day of the 2022 MLB season is Thursday, and the MVP market this year promises to be an intriguing race.
- Our MLB experts have their eyes on three different players to take home the American League award.
- Continue reading for our staff's best bets for MVP ahead of the start of the MLB season.
One of the biggest questions entering any Major League Baseball season is a simple one: Who’s the MVP?
For years, it was a clear-cut choice in the American League. It’s Mike Trout as long as he’s healthy. Trout hasn’t won the award now since 2019, and his teammate and reigning MVP, Shohei Ohtani, has surpassed him as the talk of baseball.
There’s plenty of MVP intrigue in both leagues, but our experts are all focused on that American League prize in their best bets, with a couple of mid-tier favorites and one longshot.
Here are our best bets to win MVP entering the 2022 MLB season.
American League MVP Best Bets
Aaron Judge (+2200)
Odds via FanDuel
Nick Shlain: Aaron Judge played in at least 140 games for just the second time in his career last year but seemed to settle the debate on if he’s injury-prone. Judge’s 148 games in 2021 are the most since his 52-home run rookie campaign in 2017, when he played in 155 games.
He’ll turn 30 this April, and unless he and the Yankees are able to hammer out an extension before the end of the season, he’ll become a free agent after the World Series. The Atlanta Braves’ Freddie Freeman was in a similar situation last season and had one of his best statistical seasons, posting a .300 average, at least 30 home runs and at least 120 runs scored for the second time in his career while leading the team to a World Series victory.
I expect Judge to have similar success in his contract year.
The favorites for the American League MVP, Ohtani, Trout and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. are all great, but let’s pick some nits anyway. Ohtani just won the award last season, so voters could be hesitant to vote for him again. Ohtani could also end up splitting some votes with Trout, who has also won multiple MVPs before.
Guerrero doesn’t provide a lot of value defensively at first base while Judge is a strong right fielder with a great throwing arm. Judge’s Yankees are also merely slight underdogs to Vlad’s Blue Jays in the division race at most sportsbooks, and throughout history, awards voters have shown that they prefer to vote for players on better teams, especially when it comes to MVP.
All Judge has to do to take home this MVP is push 50 home runs again and have the Yankees win the division. At 22/1, is that really so crazy?
Luis Robert (+2200)
Odds via FanDuel.
Collin Whitchurch: It’s kind of crazy that Luis Robert still hasn’t played a full season’s worth of games in his career. He played 56 in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season and then was limited to just 68 last year after suffering an injury early in the season.
That leaves Robert at just 124 career games entering 2022, but he’s already shown that, when he’s on the field, he’s one of the best players in baseball.
Robert put up 3.2 fWAR in those 68 games last season. If you prorate that over a full season, we’re looking at a potential 7-8 WAR player. WAR is a pretty good measure of where voters are going to cast their ballots, and with a full and healthy season, we can expect to see Robert near the top of that leaderboard.
From a more narrative point of view, Robert will likely be the best player for one of the best teams in the American League. The White Sox’s odds to win the AL Central again are strong, and while voters have somewhat gone away from their requirement that an MVP play for a winner team, it certainly can’t hurt.
Robert will be in the spotlight all season long, and if he’s healthy, he’ll be productive, racking up WAR with the bat and also with the glove, as he plays spectacular defense at a premium position.
All of that is to say that at +2200, his odds are too long. Ohtani, Trout and Guerrero Jr. are favorites for a reason, but Robert should be right behind them. I love this value.
Brandon Lowe (+6500)
Odds via FanDuel.
I would consider betting Lowe even at the +2800 number, so +6500 is far too good to pass up.
Lowe hit 39 tanks a year ago and has finished top-10 in MVP voting in each of the last two seasons. While the Rays are certainly in danger of missing the postseason with -205 odds to do so at DraftKings, I’m inclined to believe they’ll be there thanks to some strong pitching from their youngsters.
I do think it’s important to have confidence a player’s team is going to make the postseason before you pick them to win MVP, so I’m comfortable with this pick.
There’s obviously more to Lowe than just home runs, but the fact he hit one every 13.7 at-bats is pretty staggering. That was a top-10 mark in the league, and his overall run production was once again stellar with a 137 wRC+.
I think you could make a serious case for Lowe being the best hitter on a postseason team, and if he flashes more of this home run prowess, he’s going to be right in voters’ faces come the end of the season.