2017 American League MVP Odds and Analysis
By Loot, MLB Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Baseball futures bets can be some of the more rewarding wagers you make when betting on sports. And that's especially true of betting on who will win a league's Most Valuable Player Award. You pick a player(s) to win the award and then sit back and watch it all unfold over the course of the 162-game season. The neat part about this bet is that it allows you have a stake in a player's every at-bat throughout the season. That's an awful lot of action crammed into one bet.
It can also be a bet that really pays off handsomely. With so many viable choices to win the MVP, you can fetch pretty good odds depending on who you pick. We see a prohibitive favorite in defending league MVP Mike Trout, who is nearly even-money at +125. The Angels star, a winner of the award in two of the last three seasons, certainly needs to be accounted for, but for those willing to take another pick, the odds are pretty hefty. We recommend making multiple picks, including more-obvious picks, along with some potentially-rewarding underdogs.
Let's talk about the types of players who typically win the MVP. In the AL, pitchers usually aren't considered too heavily, though Justin Verlander won it in 2011. The last one before that was Dennis Eckersley in 1992. We're generally looking for really good hitters and ones with power. A hitter who doesn't put up power numbers needs to do something extraordinary to be considered for the MVP. A guy like Ichiro Suzuki or maybe even Dustin Pedroia comes to mind. But a quick scan of recent winners of this honor shows power guys who hit for average—guys like Trout and Miguel Cabrera.
There used to be a greater emphasis on how good the team was that the candidate played for when voting for an MVP. With Trout taking the award twice with the Angels, teams that weren't great, in addition to some other recent winners, that's not so much an unwritten rule anymore. Anyone can win it if they put up the numbers. However, for the most part, a player on a good team will have his numbers resound more with the voters. In other words, if the player you are considering betting on is on a team projected to do poorly, he might have to go above and beyond to win the MVP.
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Listed below are the American League's Most Valuable Player Award odds. Following the odds will be our picks, categorized by our best favorites, middle-of-the-road picks, and our best long-shots. Take a peek!
Odds to Win the 2017 AL MVP:
Manny Machado +1400
Jackie Bradley Jr.+5000
Albert Pujols +10000
Favorites We Like:
Mike Trout (+125): There isn't a ton of value here, but with two MVP awards in the last three seasons, Trout has cemented himself as the preeminent offensive force in the game. And if the Angels actually make the postseason, he'll be that much harder to deny. Again, the value isn't really there and a lot of contenders will be breathing down his neck this season. Still, he has to be accounted for in this discussion.
Mookie Betts (+500): Second in the MVP voting in 2016, Betts won't be 25 until October and may not have reached his zenith yet. Another big season from Betts, combined with a big team effort from the Red Sox could make Betts the go-to choice. He's getting better and his numbers in 2017 might be hard to ignore.
Jose Altuve (+1000): He could be one of those all-around picks that really gets a lot of momentum in this voting if the Astros step it up a notch or two. With 641 hits in the last three seasons and two batting titles, he's one of the best hitters in the game and he's not even 27 yet. What makes him an exciting candidate was his 2016 season, where we saw vastly improved power numbers and more walks.
Middle-of-the Road Picks We Like:
Miguel Cabrera (+1200): OK, we may be catching Cabrera here on the downslide, but he was still good for a .318 average, 38 homers, and 108 RBI last season. The two-time winner of this award and a former triple-crown winner, Cabrera could benefit if the Tigers climb back into relevance. He's only 33 and could have another giant season in him.
Manny Machado (+1400): He plays every day, hits for power, and at 24, he may have yet another gear to exploit. The Orioles star had one of the stranger statistical anomalies in 2016, going from 20 steals in 2015 to 0 steals in 2016. Still, Machado could easily be expected to emerge in this discussion by season's end.
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Long-Shots We Like:
Francisco Lindor (+5000): When you're getting 50-to-1 on a 23-year old who finished in the top ten in last season's MVP voting, it's almost a no-brainer to take a hard look. While he probably lacks the power you'd like to see with an ideal MVP candidate, he is nonetheless a blossoming young all-star on a good team.
Brian Dozier (+10000): First of all, he's 100-to-1. So let's get that out of the way before even thinking about the obvious liabilities of making this bet. He's on the Twins, which doesn't really help and he'll soon be 30 with a .246 lifetime average. He did, however, swat 40 homers last season and hit 24 points higher than he ever has. We've seen worse 100-to-1 shots in sports betting.