MLB MVP Odds: Sizzling Soto Shoots Up Board

The National League MVP odds board is tight, with Juan Soto and Fernando Tatis Jr. right behind odds-on favorite Bryce Harper. The American League MVP odds leader remains Shohei Ohtani... by a mile. Check the latest MLB MVP odds as we approach October.

Posted: Jun 3, 2021 5:19 PM ET Updated: Sep 27, 2021 7:06 PM ET Read Time: 6 min
Juan Soto Washington Nationals MLB
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The MLB MVP odds race is sizzling with one week left in the regular season.

While two-way star Shohei Ohtani continues to have the best American League MVP odds by a sizable amount, the National League MVP odds board is tight and the wide-open field has a number of players with legitimate cases.

Let's see who the MLB MVP odds favorites are — as well as the sharp bets and best value picks — as we approach October baseball.

Odds to win AL MVP

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

Compare MLB odds before betting to ensure you get the best number.

AL MVP favorite

Shohei Ohtani (-4,500)

The preseason thinking was that if anyone could steal this award away from Mike Trout, it would be his teammate, Ohtani. While Trout's injury, which has kept him sidelined since mid-May, has paved the way for Ohtani to win, the two-way phenom may have not even needed an injury to surpass the three-time MVP winner in the odds race.

Ohtani, the massive AL MVP favorite at -4,500 (he was as high as -7,000 earlier in the month), has exceeded all expectations as one of baseball's top power hitters — in addition to being a front-of-the-rotation flamethrower on the mound.

While Ohtani has struggled at the dish in the second half, he has been a beast on the rubber down the stretch to bolster his case as Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the playoff-hopeful Toronto Blue Jays goes off at the plate. Ohtani has still posted a .830 second-half OPS with a .379 on-base percentage entering play on September 27, but those numbers don't exactly scream MVP and the dip in production has allowed Guerrero to surpass him in every meaningful offensive category. 

Still, his season-long numbers are legit, ranking Top 5 in slugging and OPS to go along with 45 homers, and let's not forget the value he adds as a pitcher as well. Ohtani has fanned 10 batters in back-to-back starts and allowed three runs total, lowering his ERA to 3.18 and upping his K/9 rate to 10.77 thanks to a fastball that can touch 100 mph and a putaway splitter that's one of the best pitches in the game. There's simply no one like Ohtani, who is having one of the greatest seasons in MLB history and should finish it as the MLB leader in FanGraphs' WAR (his 7.9 combined pitcher and batter WAR is No. 1 in the majors). 

His pitching wouldn't have even needed to be this good for him to win MVP, but it is, and that's why he's the runaway choice to capture the award. 

Sharp bet to win AL MVP

Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Toronto Blue Jays (+800)

There's no one else to put here other than the No. 2 man on the board at +800. Guerrero is doing everything possible to give voters something to think about and his team may make the postseason, which Ohtani's won't, but he still remains a long shot. That shouldn't take away from the fact that he's cementing himself as one of the game's most feared hitters.

After dropping 40 pounds in the offseason, Guerrero has turned into a force and hit his way into the MVP conversation. Heading into the All-Star break, Guerrero was ahead of Ohtani on the odds board, but he cooled down in July and August, making it easy for the two-way freak to pull away, but Vlad has been lethal in September and a catalyst behind Toronto's playoff push.

Guerrero entered play on September 27 as the AL leader in WAR, OBP, slugging, and tied for the MLB lead in homers, one ahead of Ohtani, while leading in runs scored.

Vladdy is having a special season and has flirted with the Triple Crown for much of the second half. While he won't win it this year, there are certainly MVP awards in his future.

Best value bet to win AL MVP

Marcus Semien, Toronto Blue Jays (+15,000)

The best value is actually Guerrero because he's the only one who can realistically steal first-place votes away from Ohtani. It would be shocking if anyone other than Ohtani or Guerrero got a No. 1 vote on any ballot. 

Still, while unlikely, some voters may actually have Semien ahead of Guerrero on their ballots if any sort of emphasis is placed on defense and baserunning. Semien, in his first season with the Blue Jays, has tied the MLB record for homers in a season by a second baseman with 43, which is a Top-5 mark in the majors as is his 111 runs scored. 

He is dead even with Vladdy in WAR, ranking second in the AL, and he's sixth in the AL in slugging and has also swiped a career-high 15 bases. And a number of advanced metrics view him as one of the best defensive second basemen in the majors while he plays off his natural position of shortstop. He has as good a chance as any player to finish No. 3 on the ballot behind the Top 2.

Odds to win NL MVP

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

Compare MLB odds before betting to ensure you get the best number.

NL MVP favorite

Bryce Harper, Philadelphia Phillies (-240)

This has to be the quietest monster season of 2021, and maybe even longer. Bryce Harper has flown under the radar while absolutely punishing pitchers in the second half to give the Philadelphia Phillies a fighter's chance at a postseason spot.

Harper entered September 27 tied with Vladdy in WAR, just behind Juan Soto, whom he is also second to in OBP. He does, however, lead Soto and all MLB players in OPS, wRC+, and slugging. Any time you can do that, you'll put yourself in the MVP conversation. And Harper has done just that and enters the final week of the season as the NL betting favorite at -240 odds.

The right fielder has hit an insane .347/.490/.735 (1.225 OPS) in the second half and clubbed 19 of his 34 homers to prop up his season-long numbers to his best marks since his 2015 MVP season with the Nationals. And he's building a case as to why he should receive this award for the second time in his career. 

With a number of the top NL choices coming from non-playoff teams, Harper's case will only build if he can power the Phillies into the playoffs. He's an absolute beast and is reminding the baseball world why he got a $300-plus million contract.

Sharp bet to win NL MVP

Juan Soto, Washington Nationals (+340)

If the MVP is going to come from a team on the outside of the playoff picture... there's no reason it can't be Soto.

The Nats superstar has entered the discussion late thanks to a scorching second half that never slowed down. He leads the majors in average (.371), OBP (.544), OPS (1.235), and wRC+ post-All-Star Game, and 18 of his 29 bombs have come since he participated in the Home Run Derby.

The 22-year-old phenom is first in MLB in OBP on the season, first in average, second to Harper in OPS, and he leads in WAR and walk rate.

His ridiculous end to the season will certainly give voters a lot to think about it.

Best value bet to win NL MVP

Fernando Tatis Jr., San Diego Padres (+550)

Injuries to Jacob deGrom and Ronald Acuna opened the door for San Diego's megastar to grab control of the NL MVP award and he did just that for a large chunk of the season. 

He led the race for a long stretch before Harper recently surpassed him with his video game-like second-half numbers, but Tatis certainly remains in the mix and has as good a shot as the two names above him and offers great value at +550.

Despite multiple trips to IL this season, the Padres' exhilarating shortstop leads the NL with 41 home runs and is second in MLB to Harper in slugging, while ranking fourth in OPS and seventh in stolen bases (25). He's an all-around force at a premium position and can mash as well as any player in the game.

This will be a tight race and there's a good chance that the Top 3 choices will all be from non-playoff teams unless the Phillies can sneak in.

The Top 3 are having such great seasons that we don't think it will be enough for anyone else to leap past them but two players likely headed to the postseason could steal votes away. The NL leader in runs scored, Freddie Freeman, who has been a force in the second half, offers great value at +10,000, as does Paul Goldschmidt (+4,500), who has hit a blistering .352/.440/.746 (1.187 OPS) over the St. Louis Cardinals' improbable 16-game winning streak.

Understanding MLB MVP odds

Most sportsbooks will display odds in the American format as listed above. When Trout ran away with the MVP award in 2019 his odds had a minus (-) sign ahead of the number for a large part of the season. 

  • Mike Trout -1,000

That means that a bettor in August had to wager $1,000 to win $100 by betting on Trout to win MVP. Before the season starts, almost every player will have a plus (+) sign ahead of their odds.

  • Jacob deGrom +3,300

That means a bettor would have profited $3,300 for a $100 wager on deGrom before the season started. 

If American odds aren't your thing, simply use a tool like our odds converter to switch the odds to decimal or fractional format. Most online sportsbooks also give you the option to change the odds format that you see.

How to bet futures odds

Futures betting is different than betting on an individual game because you need to consider the long haul as opposed to a single event. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when betting futures odds.  

Change your strategy at different points in the season

While some futures bets must be placed before the season begins and are then removed off the board (such as team win totals), other wagers will change odds as the season goes on.

If you are wagering money on a futures bet with changing odds keep in mind that there is less variance at the beginning of the season (when more players and teams are still in contention) and more variance as the season goes on (when teams and players at the top separate themselves from those at the bottom). 

In the preseason and beginning of the season, betting on dark horses can prove very profitable. But as the season continues, expect to see odds tighten around the favorites. At that point it becomes wise to focus on the players near the top of the odds board and betting big underdogs is practically like giving your money away.

Look for value with underdogs

While the bigger names tend to be strong favorites, there are also live long shots that can provide tremendous value. Look at younger players on the verge of breaking out, or guys that have already been playing at a high level but could take the next step now that they are in an ideal situation with a new team, coach or system. 

Other players that can give a great payout are established stars coming off under-performing years due to injuries or other factors. If you're lucky you might be able to catch them in a bounce-back year.  

Follow the narrative

When placing futures bets on individual awards, keep in mind that voters, not a scoreboard are often the deciding factor. Voters can be influenced by a variety of factors, including media coverage and public opinion. Consider what the media narrative is for a particular season and which players they seem to be rooting for and against. 

For example, in LeBron James' first season in Miami, he was viewed as a villain or heel by the media, while Derrick Rose, who ended up winning MVP, was the perfect foil for that. When Ron Dayne won the Heisman trophy back in 1999 it was viewed by many as a well-deserved reward for his entire career at Wisconsin.  

Research historical trends

Historical trends, especially recent ones, can give you a good idea of which way voters tend to lean. 

The NBA MVP, for example, almost always goes to a player on the best or second-best regular-season team in the league. While the Heisman trophy is almost exclusively given to a quarterback or running back - and over the last couple of decades has been overwhelmingly handed out to QBs. 

Identifying those trends is a good way to separate the true contenders from the pretenders.

Where can I bet on American League and National League MVP odds?

Almost every online sportsbook and casino will provide MLB MVP futures odds. Check out the best sportsbooks available where you live and see what MLB betting odds they currently have available.

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