MLB MVP, Cy Young Odds, Picks | Bet Matt Chapman, Xander Bogaerts, Julio Urias After Hot Starts

MLB MVP, Cy Young Odds, Picks | Bet Matt Chapman, Xander Bogaerts, Julio Urias After Hot Starts article feature image

Getty Images. Pictured: Xander Bogaerts, Julio Urias and Matt Chapman.

Is it patently absurd to do an awards check-in after two weeks of baseball, when the samples are comically tiny and potential winners haven’t even debuted yet? 


However, value doesn’t sleep, and anyone who tailed my Jeffrey Springs suggestion from just before the season knows the odds can change fast when someone arrives on the scene.

As such, here’s a brief reminder of the criteria we are looking for when assessing these two main awards.


  • We’re looking for someone typically in that peak age range of 24-30 years old.
  • Winning does still matter 
  • A previous strong finish in the MVP race is needed
  • WAR is by far the most important statistic

Cy Young

  • It’s simple here: ERA is king. All the other factors can be pushed away to bow at the altar of a top-two ERA.

With that in mind, let’s do some early assessments. As a reminder, you can shop odds at multiple books for all MLB awards by visiting our futures betting odds page.

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American League MVP

Not a whole lot has changed here in that this is the award with by far the shortest odds on the winner. And Shohei Ohtani has done nothing to scare off folks yet. In fact, his Stuff+ numbers are somehow even higher to start the season, and he’s given up one total run in 19 innings. (Oh, and he has a 167 wRC+ as a hitter.)

However, my fade of Ohtani has never been because of doubting his talent. The worry is potential injury. He’s attempting to do things that just have never been done in the modern game before, and he was the pitcher with arguably the most to change with the new pitch clock given his typically slow time between pitches. 

As such, the cap hasn’t changed much for me, and I still don’t see value on Ohtani at the top of the board. 

The buzziest name in the AL MVP to start the season is Wander Franco. He has jumped from 40:1 preseason to 20:1 thanks to a .321/.368/.679 slash line and the second-best fWAR (1.1). In our preseason column, I noted the two big weaknesses in his potential case: he’s never received an MVP vote before, and he’s in a small market. Remember, the only player to win MVP in the past decade without receiving a previous vote was Shohei Ohtani, who was obviously a unique case. Franco does have the elite prospect bump in terms of us knowing who he is, but I don’t think he’s worth buying right now, especially after the slash in his number.

A name that I do find interesting is the man right above Franco on the WAR leaderboard: Matt Chapman. The Blue Jays third baseman is riding a .489/.538/.851 slash line to 1.3 early WAR. Now, that is coming on the strength of a comically large and unsustainable .588 BABIP, but at +10000 at Caesars, this is a guy who checks off a lot of our boxes. Chapman is in his age-30 season and playing for a Toronto team that is both in a large market and is likely to win a lot of games this season. He also has two top-seven MVP finishes to his name, and finally, he has twice before finished in the top five in his league in WAR thanks to his strong defense. I wouldn’t take some of the lower numbers at other books, but for 100:1 at Caesars, I’m in.

The final name I want to look at, and far more briefly, is Kyle Tucker. He ranks in the top 10 in WAR already, and he’s one of the few who’s there without any sort of luck driving it. He was +3500 to start the season, but you can get him for +5000 now at BetMGM despite a very strong start. I’ll be here as well.

AL MVP Bets Today:

  • Matt Chapman (+10000, Caesars)
  • Kyle Tucker (+4500, BetMGM)

National League MVP

Ronald Acuna Jr has made himself the early favorite, coming in at +500 across the board. Before the season, I had him as “Can’t Quite Write Off,” and my opinion hasn’t changed much. I still don’t hate the bet, but I also don’t like it enough to play it, especially at this number now, and that’s for a few reasons. While it does appear as though Acuna is back at full health (Mike Petriello had an excellent piece for laying out how his sprint speed may be a good indicator of that), my biggest worry with him is still that because of his high caught stealing rate and his meh defense, he doesn’t really rack up the WAR. At this number, I won’t be betting it.

The player who I do see value on is a guy who was in our “Intriguing Looks” section before the season: Xander Bogaerts. He’s been killing it with the stick (175 wRC+), but what I like to see even more is that his defensive metrics seem to be back on track. It’s a tiny, tiny sample for a sector of stats that are noisy to begin with, but if Bogaerts is back to being at least a solid defensive shortstop, that’s going to be massive for the WAR part of his MVP equation. Bettors can still get +3500 pretty much across the board, and it’s my favorite play here.

NL MVP Bets Today:

  • Xander Bogaerts (+3500, multiple books)

AL Cy Young

I was SO READY to take a way-too-early mini victory lap on Jeffrey Springs. He was one of my favorite bets before the season at +20000, and after a pair of supremely sexy starts to kick off the season, his number had plummeted all the way to +2000 before his Thursday start … where he proceeded to get injured. I don’t often put emojis into my writing, but picture that one with the scrunched up face that shows pure despair.

As they say, though, when one door closes (and we’re not burying the Springs bet just yet, let’s see how much time he misses first), another one opens. And this door happens to be the one right next to it! 

What if I told you that there was a starting pitcher on the Rays with the second-best K-BB% in baseball, and who is tied with Jacob deGrom for the best Pitching Plus among all starting pitchers this early season? And you can still bet him at +6600! 

No, it’s not Springs, it’s his teammate Drew Rasmussen. Now ‘Ras’ has had the benefit of facing the A’s and the Nationals, but he’s done literally everything he could do in those two starts, going six shutout innings and then seven shutout innings. When combined with the Stuff+ numbers, and the Rays' unreal ability to prevent runs as a team, this is absolutely my favorite bet to add to the portfolio. This is my favorite play from the whole article.

AL Cy Young Bets Today:

  • Drew Rasmussen (+6600)

NL Cy Young

Ok I’ve done some victory lapping this article, but it’s time to hop to the other side of that ledger. NL Cy Young was the award I actually gave out the most bets for before the season, and it hasn’t been as pretty so far.

Aaron Nola looks more lost in the pitch clock era than any other starter. Hunter Greene is looking far more like the version of himself from the first half of 2022 than the second half (which is not a good thing). Alex Cobb hasn’t made it out of the fourth inning in two of his three starts. And Clayton Kershaw has a 4.51 FIP. Again, this is entirely too early to be pronouncing any of these bets dead, but the early starts haven’t been great for this crew.

One guy who was a preseason bet who is still a recommended play is the current co-favorite, Spencer Strider. The other name who is catching my eye is someone we said to have an eye on and has already done enough to really grab my attention.

Julio Urias has seen big improvements to his Pitching+ numbers, and his advanced metrics across the board, such as his FIP, xERA, and K-BB%. His numbers are now elite across the board by both standard and advanced measurements. Remember, this is the reigning NL ERA champ. He knows how to go low with his ERA, and remember, when it comes to Cy Young, that’s all that matters. Let’s add him to the portfolio, even though the number has already moved.

NL Cy Young Bets Today:

  • Julio Urias (+900)
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