World Series MVP Betting Odds, Picks: Astros’ Yuli Gurriel, Braves’ Eddie Rosario Among Best Value Plays

World Series MVP Betting Odds, Picks: Astros’ Yuli Gurriel, Braves’ Eddie Rosario Among Best Value Plays article feature image
Credit:

Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: NLCS MVP Eddie Rosario

  • The World Series starts tonight and there's plenty of value in the MVP market.
  • While there is some intrigue among the favorites, longshots like Dansby Swanson and Yuli Gurriel might be the players worth targeting.
  • Continue reading for a full breakdown of the World Series MVP betting market.

In the World Series, everyone is under a microscope. From the players to the managers to the umpires, performance is scrutinized to the most finite detail as any decision can make or break a team’s chance of hoisting the Commissioner’s Trophy.

That makes betting on the World Series MVP even more fun. While the award is determined by a committee of reporters and officials, that extra scrutiny can lead to unexpected winners because the seven-game format lays about the possibility for any of the 52 players to come through when it matters most and be judged as the player most important in his team’s success.

The World Series MVP was first awarded in 1955 when Johnny Podres threw two complete games to lift the Brooklyn Dodgers to the first title in franchise history in seven games over the New York Yankees. Since then, we’ve seen everyone from future Hall of Famers to guys who make you go “who?” hoist that trophy.

Betting on the World Series MVP is an inexact science, but we can break down the details as best as possible. In general, you’re not going to find someone with insanely low odds to win World Series MVP — another point of evidence in how much of a crapshoot this can be. The lowest odds for any players to win the World Series MVP this year are Yordan Alvarez and Freddie Freeman, both at +850 on DraftKings.

The Favorites

The criteria for “favorites” to me is anyone with odds inside of 20-to-1, and that list includes all the usual suspects: the aforementioned sluggers, Jose Altuve, Michael Brantley, Alex Bregman, etc.

What’s interesting, albeit not all that surprising, is that the favorites are heavily Astros-tilted. That makes sense since the Astros are favored to win the World Series, but the only Atlanta players who rank among the favorites are Freeman, Max Fried, Eddie Rosario and Austin Riley. For Houston, you get Altuve, Brantley, Bregman, Alvarez, plus Carlos Correa and Kyle Tucker.

We’ll get to pitchers later, but for now we’re going to focus on the hitters. I don’t generally like betting on favorites, but there are a few value plays among this group.

In breaking down all the hitters, I first looked at each pitching staff’s most used pitchers — three starting pitchers and several key relievers — to key in on pitch usage. I then looked at offensive players’ successes and failures against those pitches.

The Astros’ group is: Framber Valdez, Luis Garcia and Jose Urqiudy as starters, plus Cristian Javier, Ryne Stanek, Phil Maton, Kendall Graveman, Yimi Garcia and Ryan Pressly as relievers.

The Braves’ group is: Charlie Morton, Max Fried and Ian Anderson as starters, plus Tyler Matzek, A.J. Minter, Luke Jackson, Jesse Chavez and Will Smith as relievers.

The Astros’ group utilizes fastballs, sinkers, curveballs and sliders more than any other pitch, and when averaging out weighted run values from Braves hitters against those offerings, one favorite stood out: NLCS MVP Eddie Rosario.

Rosario’s weighted run value’s against those four pitches this season:

  • Fastball: 0.28
  • Sinker: 1.05
  • Curveball: 2.78
  • Slider: 0.84

That’s an average weighted run value of 1.24, best of any Atlanta hitter available on the odds board. The other Braves favorites aren’t even close to that level. Freeman’s average weighted run value is 0.82, while Austin Riley’s is 0.96.

The problem for Rosario is that his odds were boosted significantly by his NLCS performance. If you were mocking out World Series MVP odds prior to the LCS, Rosario likely would’ve checked in at +3000 or lower, but the best number on him now is +1700 at FanDuel. Hindsight is 20/20, of course, and there’s nothing we can do about it there.

It’s also worth noting that there’s plenty of precedent in LCS MVPs carrying over their performance to the World Series. Recent players to win World Series MVP after winning LCS MVP include the Dodgers’ Corey Seager last year, plus The Giants‘ Madison Bumgarner in 2014, the Cardinals‘ David Freese in 2011 and the Phillies’ Cole Hamels in 2008.

For Houston, there are two different options. When looking at the group of Atlanta hurlers, the dominant pitches are fastball, curveball and slider. I threw changeup into the mix as well because even though only one of the aforementioned arms throws one, it’s a starting pitcher in Anderson.

The average weighted run values that stand out here are Kyle Tucker and Carlos Correa at 1.1 and 1.04, respectively. Other Houston hitters that qualify in this “favorite” category include Brantley (0.39), Altuve (0.62), Alvarez (0.74) and Bregman (0.85).

The best number you can find on Tucker is +1500 at Caesars, while for Correa it’s +1200 at both BetMGM and FanDuel.

Again, I don’t love playing favorites, but those are the best value plays if you’re looking in that direction.

Recommended Plays: Eddie Rosario +1700 (FanDuel); Kyle Tucker +1500 (Caesars); Carlos Correa +1200 (BetMGM and FanDuel).

The Longshots

This is where the real value lies.

Using the same method outlined above, I’ve identified two Braves hitters and one Astros hitter who present good value in the World Series MVP odds market.

For Atlanta, it begins with Dansby Swanson. His average weighted run value of 2.69 is dwarfed by Rosario’s number, but given his current odds, there’s immense value there.

Swanson had a down season offensively, hitting .248/.311/.449 with just a 98 wRC+. He was a below-average offensive player, and he’s had an immensely unproductive postseason, with just a .237 batting average, .263 slugging, and nary a single walk drawn. He also hits lower in the batting order, which gives him fewer opportunities for success.

But the one thing we can guarantee is that Swanson will be out there every game in this series barring injury, and he’s a rare Braves hitters who’s above average against sinkers, which is a primary offering of Valdez, Urquidy, Javier and Graveman, at a 0.32 weighted run value. He’s also above-average against fastballs (0.41) and curveballs (1.39) while slightly below average against sliders (-0.57).

Swanson’s best odds are at FanDuel where you can get him at +4100, but he’s still +4000 at BetMGM, DraftKings, PointsBet and Caesars, and that’s the recommended play at any of those books.

The other Braves hitter who crushes sinkers is the other Braves value play: Jorge Soler.

Soler missed significant time this postseason on the COVID-IL, but he returned for the last two games of the LCS, receiving pinch-hit opportunities in both. Against sinkers this year, Soler has a weighted run value of 4.85. He’s 1.83 against fastballs, and below-average against both curveballs (-0.87) and sliders (-0.64).

The biggest question mark around Soler is playing time. He hasn’t started a game since the LDS, but one would expect him to be Atlanta’s primary designated hitter in Games 1, 2, 6 and 7 in the American League ballpark. If he’s healthy and proves effective, he could also steal plate appearances from Adam Duvall in Games 3-5 in Atlanta.

Soler tore things up down the stretch and was the team’s leadoff hitter entering the playoffs, so if he proves healthy and effective, there’s plenty of value there. His best odds are +3500 at both BetMGM and DraftKings. You can find him at +3300 at FanDuel and PointsBet, and +3000 at Caesars.

One additional Atlanta caveat comes in the form of Ozzie Albies. The second baseman is extremely undervalued entering the postseason as he struggled against both the Dodgers and Brewers.

As such, you can find him at +3000 at BetMGM, which is worth a look despite his average weighted run value (-2.94) being abysmal, as he’s simply too good of an all-around player to have odds that low. For comparison, the other four books I’ve mentioned have him at either +1800 or +2000. BetMGM’s line might be worth a small play.

For the Astros, there’s really only one hitter who stands out: Yuli Gurriel. From a pure average weighted run value standpoint, Gurriel’s 1.48 leads all Astros hitters. He’s 0.27 against fastballs, 1.82 against curveballs, 1.15 against sliders and 2.67 against changeups.

Additionally, Gurriel, the American League batting champion, crushes lefties to the tune of a .925 OPS and had more homers against southpaws this year despite 189 fewer plate appearances against them. The Braves’ pitching staff is incredibly lefty-heavy, with Fried in the rotation and Smith, Matzek and Minter all throwing left-handed in the bullpen.

Gurriel is going to have plenty of opportunities to mash, and he has the most appealing odds of any Astros hitter with a realistic chance of winning the award. You can get Gurriel at +3000 at Caesars, but there’s still value on him at +2700 (FanDuel) or +2500 (BetMGM, DraftKings, PointsBet).

Recommended Plays: Dansby Swanson +4100 (FanDuel); Jorge Soler +3500 (BetMGM, DraftKings); Yuli Gurriel +3000 (Caesars).

Consider: Ozzie Albies +3000 (BetMGM)

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Pitchers

Once upon a time, pitchers were all the rage in World Series MVP voting. In fact, of the 68 World Series MVPs awarded, 29 have been pitchers.

But things changed in the 21st century. Since Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling split the award in 2001, only four pitchers have won World Series MVP: the Marlins’ Josh Beckett in 2003, the Phillies’ Cole Hamels in 2008, the Giants’ Madison Bumgarner in 2014 and the Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg in 2019.

Basically, in order for a starting pitcher to win World Series MVP, they need to start twice, dominate both times, and maybe even go and short rest/pitch in relief late in the series, or be the most notable performance in a short series.

There’s really only one starting pitcher on each side worth considering, and they are of course the two Game 1 starters: Framber Valdez and Charlie Morton.

We saw the best of Valdez in Game 5 against the Red Sox. In a postseason that’s been devoid of length out of starting pitchers, he put together one of the most impressive starts of the season, going eight innings and allowing just one run with five strikeouts. It was Valdez at his best, and that’s entirely what he’s capable of any time out.

Dusty Baker has said on a number of occasions that Valdez is someone who could go on short rest, so there’s a scenario here where he dominates Game 1, comes back in either Game 4 on short rest or Game 5 on regular rest, and maybe even works in relief in Game 7, which would put him on the MVP path easily.

Similarly for Morton, he has already pitched on short rest once this postseason, and given that writers love their narratives, a performance similar to the one outlined above against the very same team for which he played postseason hero four years ago might be too good to pass up.

Again, I don’t recommend betting pitchers, and probably won’t do so, but if you’re so inclined, you can get Valdez at +2500 at DraftKings, and Morton at +2500 at DraftKings or Caesars.

Recommended Plays: None.

Consider: Framber Valdez +2500 (DraftKings); Charlie Morton +2500 (DraftKings, Caesars).

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World Series MVP Bets

Atlanta Braves

  • Eddie Rosario +1700 (FanDuel)
  • Dansby Swanson +4100 (FanDuel)

Consider: Ozzie Albies +3000 (BetMGM); Charlie Morton +2500 (DraftKings, Caesars)

Houston Astros

  • Kyle Tucker +1500 (Caesars)
  • Carlos Correa +1200 (BetMGM, FanDuel)
  • Yuli Gurriel +3000 (Caesars)

Consider: Framber Valdez +2500 (DraftKings)

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