With the 2023 season around the corner, our staff has compiled a MLB betting futures portfolio, including a wager on which team will emerge from AL Central odds (hint: it’s not the lowly White Sox). But rather than attacking World Series odds off the bat, I decided to dig a bit deeper within AL MVP futures, and why I believe Jose Abreu is a longshot worth considering after the Astros signed him to a three-year deal.
Click on any of the odds below to place a wager.
Best Available AL MVP Futures Odds
Assessing The Favorite
In general, the obvious notion towards avoiding this market is comprised of two words: Shohei Ohtani ().
Whether the Angels live up to their potential darkhorse price tag or not, Ohtani will find himself in contention for this award for the foreseeable future — injury aside — because of his two-way prowess. For one, the 28-year-old sensation produced the 16th-highest wRC+. On top of that, his swinging strike rate increased by 4.3 percentage points, thanks to his slider usage jumping ahead of his fastball employment.
Overall, Ohtani finished second to Aaron Judge among 2022 AL MVP odds after winning the season prior, and it took Judge hitting more home runs than Roger Maris to do it. Even if Ohtani doesn’t outproduce himself this time around, it may not matter if Phil Nevin’s club reaches the postseason for the first time since 2014. But Mike Trout’s presence also complicates Ohtani’s candidacy, assuming Trout stays healthy.
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AL MVP Futures Longshot Bet
To preface, I placed this wager on Feb. 19. Hence, the number isn’t nearly as valuable as it once was. Nevertheless, explaining my process is still valuable if you weren’t able to snag it or find similar odds in the current MLB betting market.
The Astros’ rotation may take a slight dip without Justin Verlander (signed with Mets), as The Lines’ Mo Nuwwarah mentioned in his Angels futures piece. They undoubtedly possess a top-two lineup across MLB, though. One could make the case that they’re ahead of the Braves, especially after acquiring former White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu. The 2020 AL MVP generated a top-25 wRC+ last season, along with the eighth-highest expected weighted on-base average (xwOBA).
Collectively, Chicago ranked below league average in each of those categories in 2022. Abreu’s proficiency should only rise with the best lineup protection of his nine-year MLB career. Couple that with the 63.64% implied probability behind Houston’s AL West odds, which would enforce Abreu’s resume even more. The best price on those is -175 on DraftKings Sportsbook.
Even without leadoff man Jose Altuve (hand) for at least the first two months of the campaign, a healthy Michael Brantley gives Abreu enough at the top of the order to theoretically contend for this award.
Best available price: