MLB MVP Odds: Ohtani, Tatis The Odds-On Favorites

Following Jacob deGrom's latest IL stint, San Diego superstar Fernando Tatis Jr. is now the favorite to win the NL MVP, while two-way star Shohei Ohtani has the top AL MVP odds. Check out all the MLB MVP odds as we enter the last week of July.

Posted: Jun 3, 2021 5:19 PM ET Updated: Jul 26, 2021 10:16 AM ET Est Time: 6 min
Fernando Tatis Jr. San Diego Padres MLB
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The MLB MVP odds race is getting a little more serious as the All-Star break is in our rearview mirror — and August is dead in our sights.

The American League MVP odds race has turned into a two-man show since Mike Trout suffered a calf injury in the middle of May, while the National League MVP odds board has a distinct west-coast fell with some superstars catching the injury bug.

Let's see who the MLB MVP favorites are — as well as the best value picks — as of July 26.

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 (-290)

The preseason thinking was that if anyone could steal this award away from Trout it would be his teammate, Shohei 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 -290, 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.

The 26-year-old stud is the MLB leader in homers with 35, swatting 20 since June 1. He was the Home Run Derby favorite and was the lead-off — and starting pitcher — for the AL in the All-Star Game. There is simply no one like him. 

The extra-base hitting machine also leads the majors in slugging percentage (.684) and he has been a beast on the mound. He's given up two earned runs or fewer in six of his last seven starts, posting a 3.21 ERA and 1.16 WHIP through 14 starts, though he's striking out 11.7 batters per nine innings thanks to a fastball that can touch 100 mph and a putaway splitter that's one of the best pitches in the game.

He'll never have a typical starter's workload, and has been skipped a couple of times in the rotation due to various ailments, but even around 20 starts of average pitching to complement his power bat would make him an immediate frontrunner... and he's better than average.

This is Ohtani's award to lose. 

Sharp bet to win AL MVP

Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Toronto Blue Jays (+210)

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is past having his breakout season — 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. Before an insanely hot stretch leading into the ASG break, Guerrero was ahead of Ohtani on the odds board. For now, he's settled in second at +210 after opening at +1,000.

The 22-year-old Guerrero's 32 home runs trail only Ohtani, his 79 RBI is one off the MLB lead, and he's tied for the AL lead in batting average (.326). He also leads the majors in OPS and is first among all position players in FanGraphs' WAR. 

We are witnessing something special. Buckle up.

Best value bet to win AL MVP

Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox (+4,000)

It's hard to see anyone outside of Ohtani or Guerrero winning this award as long as the two megastars stay healthy, but the next man on the odds board is likely the player who has the best shot. That would be Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who offers incredible value that's worth jumping on at +4,000.

Bogaerts is batting well over .300 and is among the leaders in significant categories including WAR (tied for ninth in MLB) and hits (Top 10). And it certainly doesn't hurt that he's playing on a Red Sox team that didn't get much love coming into the 2021 campaign but is currently leading the AL East right.

That narrative can sway some voters, as playing on a first-place team — something Ohtani and Guerrero can't say they are doing at the moment — will also grab him some votes.

Bogaerts has been good for a long time but he's enjoying the best season of his career.

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

Fernando Tatis Jr., San Diego Padres (-155)

When New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom hit the IL with a triceps injury, coupled with Atlanta superstar Ronald Acuna Jr. suffering a season-ending injury, that opened the door for San Diego's megastar to grab control of the National League MVP award.

And he's done just that.

The Padres' exhilarating shortstop is up to an NL-best 30 homers through 83 games, he trails only Ohtani and Guerrero in slugging and OPS, and he leads the NL with 23 stolen bases. He's an all-around force at a premium position and can mash as well as any player in the game.

With huge offensive upside on a strong Padres team, the 22-year-old was already a strong bet considering some voters may not want to pick a pitcher for the award. But with deGrom sidelined — and Tatis continuing to dominate — he is clearly the odds-on favorite.

Sharp bet to win NL MVP

Jacob deGrom, New York Mets (+120)

Speaking of deGrom, the only thing that seemingly could slow down the Mets ace was injury... and that's exactly what happened.

Prior to his latest IL stint, deGrom was sitting at -105 to win the NL MVP. But he's slipped all the way down to the second favorite at +120 — which is incredible value.

The latest reports expect deGrom to return in early August, but that doesn't change the fact that he has been a cheat code this season. It has been nothing but utter domination for deGrom across his 15 starts this year as he leads all pitchers in ERA (1.01), strikeout rate (14.3 K/9), WHIP (0.55). He has tallied double-digit Ks in seven outings and allowed one or zero earned runs in each of his first 12 starts.

Oh yes: he's also hitting .364 this season and spent most of the year with more RBIs at the plate than earned runs allowed, but he coughed up three to the Braves on July 1 to nix that incredible stat. Still, he punched out 14 that game... then he followed it up with a 10-strikeout performance.

There's no reason to think the Cy Young favorite can't also have his name in the MVP mix, as long as he returns as quickly as possible and stays healthy after that. He opened at +3,300, but the fact that +120 is considered great value is outstanding. 

While it's not common for pitchers to win the award, both Clayton Kershaw (2014) and Justin Velander (2011) have recently pulled off the feat and deGrom's 2021 is far more dominant than either of those two seasons. The 32-year-old deGrom placed fifth in MVP voting in 2018, the year he won his first of back-to-back Cy Young awards.

Best value bet to win NL MVP

Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves (+2,500)

Acuna had great value at +450 before he went down because he had as good a chance as any to win the award and still wasn't tops on the board. Finding the best value isn't always about getting crazy longshot odds because it doesn't matter if the player stands no chance to win. You'd still be throwing away money. 

When searching for the best value here, we're looking at the man that is going to pick up the slack in Atlanta following Acuna's absence: Freddie Freeman.

The five-time All-Star (including this year) and two-time Silver Slugger has come out of the All-Star break absolutely on fire, slashing .455/.513/.818 with four home runs and eight RBI in nine games. His .393 on-base percentage for the season is seventh in the MLB, while he's eighth in runs scored, sixth in walks, and fourth in the NL in home runs.

The Braves are currently just 48-50 but they're only five games behind the Mets for the NL East lead. If Atlanta can rally to take the division, and Freeman is the engine behind it, it could be a narrative that supports his MVP case — along with what would be outstanding numbers. 

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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