2018 MLB MVP Odds with Expert Betting Predictions for Most Valuable Player
We can't have two repeat MVP winners in baseball this year. Giancarlo Stanton has joined Jose Altuve in the American League, so unless there is a tie at least one can't win. And the odds would suggest that neither will repeat. In both leagues there are clear favorites, and neither should be a surprise to anyone who has paid any attention to baseball at all in recent years. Here's a look at how the two MVP races shape up heading into the season ( MVP odds are from BetOnline ):
Mike Trout, Angels (+150): Trout has won the MVP twice in the last four years and would likely have won it last year if he had stayed healthy. He is always in the mix, and he is the best player in the game. He's healthy now and is playing on perhaps the best Angels team he has been on. That will help his case - not that he needs the help. He's the clear and obvious favorite, though this price is very tough to stomach. If you think Trout is going to win then it would be tough to bet on him - or anyone - given the lack of value.
Jose Altuve, Astros (+500): He's the defending champ, he's only scratching the surface of what he can do, and his team is at least as good on paper as they were last year - quite possibly better. There is a lot to like. His biggest issue could be that the team is too good. Carlos Correa, George Springer and others get plenty of attention, and the pitching is crazy. He doesn't have to do as much heavy lifting as Trout has had to, and that will hurt him a bit. He's a real factor but deservedly well behind Trout.
Carlos Correa, Astros (+1000): The reverse of what I said about Altuve is true - Correa's biggest issue with trying to win this award is that he isn't even the best player on his team, and his team would still be very good without him. He would have to have an epic year to win, and the price isn't high enough to bet on that happening.
Francisco Lindor, Indians (+1000): He's a really great player on a really great team. And he is only 24, which is just mind-boggling. But his biggest issue is that his counting stats aren't quite as gaudy as some on this list, and MVP voters aren't always the subtlest. He finished fifth in voting last year, so he is always in the mix, but this price doesn't adequately reflect the risk of betting on him.
Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees (+1000): He won it in the National League last year, so he is obviously capable. Now he plays for the highest-profile team in the spor,t so he will get plenty of attention. And he is in a more favorable ballpark and playing in a lineup better able to protect him. He's a freakish talent. Last year was a career year, but if he can come close to replicating it then he'll be in the mix. I like the value at this price.
Bryce Harper, Nationals (+350): Harper won this award in 2015 and was as good as he has been other than that year last year despite injuries that limited him to just 111 games. He's in his prime and is completely healthy entering the year. And he is in a contract year, and he will secure a truly mind-boggling contract with a big season this year. If that isn't enough to motivate him then he's not the guy people think he is. He's on one of the best teams in the league, too. He is a deserving favorite, and I would struggle to bet against him - though his health woes in recent years make it hard for me to like this price much.
Kris Bryant, Cubs (+450): Bryant won this award the year after Harper did, and he added a World Series win, too. Last year wasn't quite at the same level, but he was still strong. He's young and has so much upside left to explore. And after a slow start last year the Cubs found their game and should be at a higher level this year. I obviously like Bryant a lot, but the price isn't right - at least compared to Harper.
Nolan Arenado, Rockies (+500): Arenado doesn't get enough respect for how good he is, though he got more notice last year on the surprising Rockies. I don't have a lot of faith that Colorado can quite replicate that season, though, which makes it hard to have any real faith in this bet - he's just not going to have the profile to win unless he has a true season for the ages and Harper or Bryant doesn't. Can't bet on that at this price.
Joey Votto, Reds (+700): Votto is great - and I'm not just saying that because he's a fellow Canadian. He's an OBP machine, and he probably deserves more than the one MVP award he did win in 2010. But it's hard to get excited about him at this price this year. He'll turn 35 this season, and he is on a team that is a long way from good. If he got traded to a contender then maybe it would be different, but there is no value here.
Cody Bellinger, Dodgers (+700): I was not on the Bellinger bandwagon last year despite his strong season - albeit one in which it sure felt like he overachieved. I respect him, but I expect him to take a step back this year. Easy pass for me.
Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks (+800): If I was looking for a play at a decent price this would be it. He was third in voting last year and is a very legitimate player. The Diamondbacks have a chance to be competitive again, and he'll be the showcase hitter. His chances are behind the leaders, but that is reflected in the price. This is fair value.
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