MLB MVP Odds 2021: Tatis & Ohtani Heading Towards MVP Finish Line

As we approach the final month of the MLB regular season, the final standings and playoff picture are looking clearer than ever. The same goes for the MLB MVP Odds 2021.

Around this time, the Awards picture usually becomes clearer as well. By now, the best players in pitchers in both leagues have broken off from the pack. That’s certainly true in the American League, where one guy is head-and-shoulders above the rest.

However, the National League MVP race is a messy one. Jacob deGrom is likely out for the season, and Fernando Tatis Jr. has been banged up recently. As such, guys like Zach Wheeler, Bryce Harper, and others have entered the conversation.

So, there’s likely some value to be found in that conversation. Let’s dig into the current odds for both leagues and investigate the market.

MLB MVP Odds 2021

The Favorites for AL MVP

Shohei Ohtani : Ohtani’s a lock for this award. There’s no way he won’t win the award at this point, as he’s accumulated 7.9 WAR between his stellar pitching performances and 40 home runs (to this point). Ohtani is deserving of the MVP and definitely won’t lose it.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. : I’m disappointed for Vladdy. In almost every other season, he’d be the runaway MVP candidate. He’s a triple-crown contender who’s slashing .313/.409/.605 with a 1.014 OPS and leading the hottest offense in baseball.

Lucky for him – and for Toronto fans – is that this season is totally repeatable. Guerrero does everything right, as he keeps his strikeout rate low (17.2%), walk rate high (13.2%), and smashes the ball when he makes contact (94.6 mph average exit velocity, 15.4% barrel rate).

Guerrero might provide some value for next season, as Ohtani is sure to be the favorite when 2022 markets open.

The Favorites for NL MVP

Fernando Tatis Jr. : Tatis has been the frontrunner for this award all season, and rightfully so. However, his injury issues lately (specifically, his shoulder) are a cause for concern and gives me pause when considering him as a lock for this award.

He’s played just four games this month. Of course, he’s also 6-for-17 with three home runs in that stretch. But it’s not a promise he’ll play every game down the stretch.

Plus, the Padres struggles recently poises another problem. Will Tatis still be the favorite to win MVP if his team doesn’t make the playoffs? I can imagine a scenario where sportswriters would prefer the leader of a team that’s a World Series contender, especially in the mess that is this race.

Bryce Harper : When June started, Harper was batting .275 with a .883 OPS and the Phillies were three games under .500.

Since Harper is batting over .300 with a 1.038 OPS and the Phillies briefly had the division lead. He’s on a torrid pace, having posted 15 home runs, 37 RBIs, and 40 walks over his past 60 games.

I think Harper is certainly worth a sprinkle at this price. There are still 62 games left in the season, and Harper can get hotter than any player in baseball. Plus, the Phillies are still in second place in a very weak NL East, and I’d imagine Harper would be a frontrunner if he got Philadelphia into the playoffs. 

Top Value Picks for 2021 MLB MVP

Max Muncy NL MVP : Muncy’s been my top value pick for this award all season. He’s a sleeping giant that’s running under the radar despite being the best hitter in a very dangerous Dodgers lineup.

He’s smacked 28 home runs and 75 RBIs this season while posting a .982 OPS. And, given his defensive play at first base, he leads the Majors in WAR for position players (5.9).

Plus, he’s batting .300 with a 1.000 OPS since July 1, wherein the Dodgers have gone 23-14 and solidified themselves in the wildcard spot.

Meanwhile, Tatis Jr., Harper and Freddie Freeman – the other three top guys in this race – are all on teams with mediocre playoff chances. If the Padres, Phillies, and Braves all miss the playoffs, that would leave Muncy as the best hitter in the NL playoffs.

If that’s not a good argument for MVP, I don’t know what is. I still really like Muncy at this price, and think he has a better shot at NL MVP than people think.

Joey Votto NL MVP : If the Reds are going to sneak into the playoff picture, it’ll be on the back of Joey Votto.

Votto is doing things never seen from a 37-year-old Canadian. He’s smacked 48 hits, 42 RBIs, and 16 home runs over his past 40 games, during which the Reds are 24-16. Since July 1, Votto’s hitting .324, slugging .731, and has posted a 1.150 OPS – good for a 184 wRC+ in that timeframe.

If Votto continues this torrid pace over the final 60 games, his season-long numbers should pass Muncy’s. In which case, the same argument I laid out for Muncy would now apply to Votto. But Votto would’ve pushed his team into the playoffs under a much less likely circumstance, and we can still cash in on him at 50/1.

I’d sprinkle a few dollars on Votto at this price and pray he crushes the baseball in September.

Zack Wheeler NL MVP : Baseball writers love WAR. In fact, everyone loves WAR these days, as it’s become a go-to statistic for comparing every baseball player ever.

Well, outside of Ohtani, Wheeler leads the Majors in WAR. Wheeler’s managed to rack up such a ridiculous number as he’s not only pitched awesome (2.56 ERA, 2.72 xERA, 2.57 FIP, 2.81 xFIP), but he leads the league in innings.

Wheeler has pitched 162 innings in 24 starts this season, which means he’s averaging over 6 2/3 innings per start. He’s not only devastating on the mound, but he’s also an automatic reset button for the Phillies bullpen.

So, since he pitches a lot of innings at a high level, Wheeler records WAR at Trout-like levels but for a starting pitcher. He’s a frontrunner for Cy Young given deGrom’s status, and why can’t he win the MVP given the context of this race?

Of course, there are very few pitchers that end up winning this award, and voters are wary of guys that don’t play every day. Wheeler probably provides some value at this 100/1 number, but it’s quite likely he doesn’t win it.

Tanner joined Lineups to cover everything, but he has vast experience in, and unlimited passion for, Major League Baseball and NCAA Basketball. He’s a McGill University grad and former (Canadian) Division-I alpine ski racer who now spends his time drinking beer and betting home underdogs. Patrick Mahomes is a poor man’s Tom Brady.

Hot Betting Odds Stories