The 2021 Major League Baseball campaign is set to begin Thursday, April 1, with hope for a 162-game regular season. The return to a full schedule should help player production return to normal levels; as such, stat lines will no longer be impacted as heavily by exaggerated hot or cold stretches at the plate. With that in mind, we look at the MLB preseason betting odds to win the American League and National League MVP awards.
The 60-game 2020 MLB season saw the preseason favorite Los Angeles Dodgers top the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series. Chicago White Sox 1B Jose Abreu was named AL MVP and Atlanta Braves 1B Freddie Freeman took home NL honors. Both were longshots to win the award, as Abreu had 2020 pre-season odds of +6000 at William Hill and Freeman was +2500 at BetMGM prior to the start of the shortened campaign.
The page below looks at the 2021 MLB MVP betting odds from the top US sportsbooks, and highlights a few of the favorites and longshots from both leagues. We also look at how and where to bet on the MVP awards and list the recent winners and their preseason odds.
MLB MVP odds
AL MVP futures report (Feb. 23)
The following odds are from FanDuel Sportsbook:
Los Angeles Angels OF Mike Trout (+220): Trout once again heads into an MLB season as the favorite to be voted American League MVP. The three-time winner of the award has never finished lower than last year’s fifth in voting, despite the Angels making just one playoff appearance in his nine full seasons.
New York Yankees OF Aaron Judge (+1200): Judge is the top MVP contender from the star-studded Yankees. He was limited to just 28 games by injury last season. The 2017 AL Rookie of the Year and home run champ needs to play closer to a full season than he has each of the past three years.
Chicago White Sox OF Luis Robert (+2500): Abreu deservedly received the bulk of the credit for the White Sox’s first playoff appearance since 2008. But Robert finished second in Rookie of the Year voting and won a Gold Glove. The White Sox are the favorites to win the AL Central and Robert has the potential for the most impressive stat line with his well-rounded skill set.
Toronto Blue Jays OF George Springer (+3000): The prized free agent addition of the offseason joins the young Blue Jays roster as a veteran presence and former World Series winner with the Houston Astros. He also brings some much-needed defense to the outfield. If the Jays challenge the Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East, Springer will deserve a large share of the credit.
Tampa Bay Rays OF Randy Arozarena (+5000): Arozarena hit 7 home runs and slashed .281/.382/.641 in 23 regular-season games before erupting as a postseason star. He hit 10 homers with 14 RBI, slashed .377/.442/.831 and was named ALCS MVP. He should play every day and hit in the heart of the order while looking to continue that success over a full season.
New York Yankees C Gary Sanchez (+10000): Sanchez hit a modest 10 homers in 49 games and slashed just .147/.253/.365 last season. Injuries have kept his numbers in check since his breakout 2017 campaign, but he could impress defensively this season while catching free agent additions Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon.
NL MVP futures report
Washington Nationals OF Juan Soto (+700): Soto led the NL with a .351 batting average and led baseball with a 1.185 OPS last season; he finished fifth in NL MVP voting. The 2019 World Series champs added 1B Josh Bell from the Pittsburgh Pirates this offseason, but Soto will remain the biggest key to success in Washington.
Los Angeles Dodgers OF Mookie Betts (+750): Betts finished second in 2020 NL MVP voting. He was everything the Dodgers expected after being acquired via trade from the Boston Red Sox while hitting 16 home runs with 10 stolen bases and a .292/.366/.562 slash line. He won’t enjoy quite as favorable of a schedule this year but it’s unlikely to affect his performance much.
San Diego Padres SS Fernando Tatis Jr. (+850): There will be a lot of eyes on baseball’s newest $300-million man this season. A third-place finisher for NL Rookie of the Year in 2019, he finished fourth in MVP voting last year. He hit 17 homers, stole 11 bases over 59 games and was a plus defender.
New York Mets 1B Pete Alonso (+4000): The Mets were one of the busiest teams this offseason and stand to be one of baseball’s most improved teams. They acquired SS Francisco Lindor and SP Carlos Carrasco from the Cleveland Indians. Alonso, the 2019 Rookie of the Year, should see more pitches with Lindor in the lineup and will chase his second home run title.
Cincinnati Reds 3B Eugenio Suarez (+6000): Suarez was one of the biggest reasons the Reds fell flat last year as a popular preseason darkhorse pick. He hit an adequate 15 homers in 57 games but a .202/.312/.470 slash line was largely the fault of a .214 BABIP. Cincinnati still has the second-best odds to win the NL Central and another push for the home run crown from Suarez will be needed to topple the retooled St. Louis Cardinals.
Philadelphia Phillies 3B Alec Bohm (+8000): The Phillies managed to retain C J.T. Realmuto and SS Didi Gregorius this offseason but were unable to make any notable additions. Bohm, a first-round pick of the 2018 draft, fills a need at a premier position at third base, and impressed with a .338/.400/.481 slash line over 44 games last year.
Where can I bet on the MLB MVP Award?
All legal sportsbooks in the US offer a wide-array of MLB futures bets, including DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, and PointsBet. These can be found under the primary MLB/Baseball tab at all online books. Select “MVP odds” under the drop-down menu or tab for MLB Futures and Player Futures or Awards.
Once the MVP award odds have been selected, a list of all available betting options will display the players your book of choice deems to have a chance at winning the MVP in their respective league. At the beginning of the season, all available options will be offered at plus-money (usually ranging from Trout’s +220 to Toronto Blue Jays OF Teoscar Hernandez’s +10000 pre-season odds at FanDuel).
The available options will be updated and potentially changed throughout the season. Surprising risers will be added to the available options once they’ve emerged as a viable candidate; injured or struggling players may even be dropped from the selections altogether.
How the MVP award is decided
The MVP of both leagues is voted on each year by the Baseball Writers’ Association of American. The group is made up of baseball writers for daily newspapers, magazines and qualifying websites. Two writers from each MLB city are put forth by their local chapter chairman and must be approved by the national secretary-treasurer.
Writers are only allowed to vote for the league in which their city’s team plays. MVP ballots include 10 spots and must be submitted prior to the start of the postseason. Votes are counted via a point system based on which spot players are listed on a ballot. A first-place vote is worth 14 points, while second through 10th spots on the ballot are worth 9 through 1 points in the corresponding descending order.
There are several factors that may sway each writer’s choices. Generally, the award goes to the player with the top statistical accomplishments. Others base their votes, at least toward the bottom of their ballot, on the true meaning of “most valuable” as in which players did the most to improve or help their team’s performance.
Unfortunately, local biases can’t be fully eliminated based on the current voting system. Occasionally, writers may give extra credit to a less-deserving player from the team they cover daily.
MVP betting history: recent winners
|Year||AL Winner||Odds||NL Winner||Odds|
|2020||Jose Abreu (CHW)||+6000||Freddie Freeman (ATL)||+2500|
|2019||Mike Trout (LAA)||+125||Cody Bellinger (LAD)||+3000|
|2018||Mookie Betts (BOS)||+2500||Christian Yelich (MIL)||+15000|
|2017||Jose Altuve (HOU)||+1200||Giancarlo Stanton (MIA)||+4500|
|2016||Mike Trout (LAA)||+160||Kris Bryant (CHC)||+1000|
|2015||Josh Donaldson (TOR)||+1600||Bryce Harper (WAS)||+2000|
|2014||Mike Trout (LAA)||+500||Clayton Kershaw (LAD)||+2000|
|2013||Miguel Cabrera (DET)||+700||Andrew McCutchen (PIT)||+1500|
|2012||Miguel Cabrera (DET)||+900||Buster Posey (SFG)||+2500|
|2011||Justin Verlander (DET)||+7500||Ryan Braun (MIL)||+800|
|2010||Josh Hamilton (TEX)||+1000||Joey Votto (CIN)||+5000|