AL MVP Odds: Aaron Judge Takes The Lead

Aaron Judge takes the lead in the AL MVP race

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The American League is loaded with talent, as evidenced by the lengthy Most Valuable Player futures board.

Dual-threat Shohei Ohtani is the reigning MVP and currently has the best MLB odds to win the award again. It’s going to take a special season from one of the other contenders to knock him off his perch. Still, there are a number of candidates who continue to put up generational numbers, coming for Ohtani’s crown.

We’re running through the top candidates to take home the award to help when it comes to MLB betting.

Aaron Judge (-110)

Last week: It’s shocking the amount of space that Aaron Judge is putting between himself and the rest of the pack in the AL MVP race. Judge ended the week with a 1.214 on-base plus slugging percentage, with three of his six hits going for home runs, leading to five runs scored and four runs batted in. That pushed his season-long totals to 25 homers and a 1.062 on-base plus slugging percentage, both MLB bests. 

This week: New York is north of the border for a three-game set with the Toronto Blue Jays over the weekend, following that up with another series against the Tampa Bay Rays, whom the Yankees just swept. Although that may appear to be a good omen, Judge hasn’t been great against either team this season. The three-time All-Star has a .944 on-base plus slugging percentage against the Jays, falling to .744 against the Rays. A bad week won’t derail his momentum in the MVP race, as Judge has moved to -110 to take home the award. 

Shohei Ohtani (+400)

Last week: Shohei Ohtani re-captured his MVP form this past week, delivering a 1.467 on-base plus slugging percentage. The reigning MVP went 8-for-16 at the plate, with two doubles, one triple, and one long ball, driving in three and cashing four times. He looked just as impressive toeing the rubber, tossing six shutout innings, including six strikeouts and a paltry three hits. That puts Ohtani on last season’s pace, nearly matching his career-best pitching stats from his MVP-winning campaign.

This week: There’s still room to grow for Ohtani, who remains below his career average in on-base plus slugging percentage. The dual-threat will need to string together more weeks like the one we just saw if he hopes to change course with his betting price, which has fallen week-over-week since the end of May. 

Mike Trout (+600)

Last week: Ohtani’s dominance wasn’t even the best performance from an Angels hitter last week. Mike Trout set the league on fire with his 1.111 slugging percentage, in tandem with his .476 on-base percentage, the three-time MVP put together an earth-shattering 1.587 on-base plus slugging percentage. Although Trout is above his career average, he remains below his benchmarks from the past several seasons. The 30-year-old has posted a 1.071 on-base plus slugging percentage or better in four of his past five seasons, leaving this year’s mark short at 1.043.

This week: Expect Trout to continue his upward trend over the coming weeks. The Mariners have given up the third-most home runs this season, with the Royals also ranking in the league’s bottom half. That’s the runway Trout needs to elevate his MVP profile and catch Judge’s lofty metrics. 

Jose Ramirez (+900)

Last week: Cleveland Guardians’ third baseman Jose Ramirez is having a sensational year at the plate. The three-time Silver Slugger capped off this week’s 9-for-21 performance with six runs batted in, four runs scored, and two stolen bags. No one is fooling Ramirez at the plate, as he ranks in the top 1% of MLB hitters with a 7.4% strikeout rate. Moreover, he leads his team in virtually every offensive category while posting an MLB-best 62 runs batted in and four triples. 

This week: Ramirez is a catalyst for the Guardians, elevating Cleveland’s standing in the AL Central and himself to MVP contender. The Guardians continue their NL West road trip, which puts Ramirez at a disadvantage this weekend as they take on the stingy Los Angeles Dodgers. They follow that up with a set against the Minnesota Twins, who have given up the sixth-most dingers this season but rank in the league’s top half in most other categories. That could slow Ramirez’s pace this week, but not enough to take him out of the MVP conversation.

Rafael Devers (+1200)

Last week: Rafael Devers has moved into the top five AL MVP favorites, seemingly out of nowhere. Granted, the Boston Red Sox third baseman has been among the favorites since the outset of the season; still, he’s made great strides over the past few weeks, and his odds have increased. Devers was exceptional over the past seven days, with all four of his hits getting sent to the bleachers, leading to nine runs scored and batted in. He leads the MLB with 85 hits, 53 runs, 23 doubles, and 158 total bases. 

This week: The former World Series champion has found his power stroke recently, and he could have productive series against the St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers this week. Tigers’ pitchers have combined for a 6.00 ERA over the past week, giving up a .329 opponent’s batting average. Although the Cards have been more effective recently, they sit in the bottom half of the league in home runs and opponent’s batting average, amplifying Devers’ MVP appeal.

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