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Dodgers dominant, Soto surges in MVP race

By Jason Weingarten  () 

USATSI_14756491

All bets are risking one unit unless specified. For the purpose of this column, one unit is equal to $500.

Division winner odds

A couple of weeks ago, I bet the Padres to win the NL West at + 750. I could get that same bet

+ 1000 at BetMGM right now. I’m going to take the opportunity to get out of this bet and buy the Dodgers to win the NL West at a discount to their preseason price. I’m betting the Dodgers -420 to win the NL West at DraftKings to win 1x unit. The Dodgers led MLB with a + 62 run differential, and second highest was a tie between the Yankees and Twins at + 38.

As for the rest of the available division odds, I don’t see much available that excites me. The Reds have drifted to + 750 to win the NL Central, but I’ve bet enough Reds futures already. You should get extra drink tickets if you are betting the Marlins to win the NL East at + 1400.

NL MVP

DraftKings (Last week’s number in parentheses)

Betts + 450 (+ 650)

Tatis Jr. + 450 (+ 700)

Yastrzemski + 550 (not listed)

Blackmon + 750 (+ 1400)

Harper + 1300 (+ 2200)

Seager + 2000 (+ 1600)

Story + 2000 (+ 2000)

Castellanos + 2000 (+ 1000)

Acuna + 3000 (+ 800)

Bellinger + 4000 (+ 1800)

Soto + 4000 (+ 6600)

Mookie Betts and Fernando Tatis Jr. have emerged as co-favorites, while Ronald Acuna and Cody Bellinger have seen huge drops in their odds and have basically ejected themselves from consideration for MVP. Trevor Story is probably the third-best shortstop in his own division behind Corey Seager and Tatis, and he trails his own teammate, Charlie Blackmon. Mike Yastrzemski at + 550 (he’s + 700 at BetMGM) is the oddest name at the top of the list. I’d like to sit down with the oddsmaker who decided that an outfielder on a team with an 8-16 record deserves the third-lowest odds for MVP. It makes no sense to me, and I don’t see how Yastrzemski would receive serious consideration when he plays in the same division as actual MVP candidates such as Betts, Tatis, Seager and Blackmon.

That’s no knock on Yastrzemski as a player. He has a 1.5 WAR this season but happens to play on an awful team and won’t get much consideration for any voting award. I have no idea why he’s + 550. If I were running a book, I’d make him + 2000 and take all the bets on him. Meanwhile, Juan Soto is still + 4000 at DraftKings. He missed two weeks of training camp and then missed 10 more days with a false-positive coronavirus test. Soto was NL Player of the Week last week with five home runs, 12 RBIs and a 1.610 OPS. He had seven home runs in 11 games and was slashing .409/.490/1.445. This week I bet $300 at 40/1 at DraftKings on Juan Soto to win the NL MVP. He’s the best player on the defending World Series champions and one of the best players in baseball.

Right now if I were picking the three NL MVP finalists, they would be Tatis, Betts and Blackmon,

with Seager and Soto having the ability to jump into the conversation. Betts and Seager are teammates competing against each other for votes, but both are going up against Tatis. Seager and Tatis play the same position, so there’s a lot in play here. Let’s check back next week.

AL MVP

The AL MVP race is less exciting. Mike Trout is the favorite, as he’s + 250 at BetMGM and + 225 at DraftKings. Aaron Judge is second at + 600 but is on the 10-day injured list. I always have trouble giving Trout the MVP so early, especially when he’s playing on a team that was 8-15, but his numbers speak for themselves. His 10 home runs and 20 RBIs in 18 games with a .299/.349/1.050 slash line will make you the favorite even on a really bad team. My earlier bets on Giancarlo Stanton and Shohei Ohtani to win AL MVP are dead already. Nelson Cruz is down to 15/1. I don’t think he’ll jump Trout, but I’m happy to be holding tickets on him at 50/1 and 66/1. Brandon Lowe of the Rays and Matt Chapman of the A’s are the other guys who deserve consideration, but neither is likely to outplay Trout.

Since I’m already stuck with a potential $1,500+  loss on this market provided neither Cruz nor Judge win, I’m taking this opportunity to buy some Mike Trout AL MVP futures at + 250 risking 2x units, or $1,000. I can add more Trout next week or pivot again, but I believe we’ll see Trout’s odds drop closer to even money in the next week or two, and I’d like to get ahead of that and salvage this market if I can.

NL Cy Young

Reds teammates Trevor Bauer and Sonny Gray are the front-runners for the NL Cy Young. Much like with the Astros last season with Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander, you can make a case for either player. Jacob deGrom is also near the top, though he was scratched from his last start with a sore neck. Right now I don’t see a lot of separation among Bauer, Gray and deGrom.

The next tier is led by Max Fried and Aaron Nola at + 1200, and I still like Dinelson Lamet at + 2000, but it’s hard to see how he’ll jump ahead of five or six other guys. With deGrom scratched from his last start and the Reds on hiatus due to COVID-19, I think the NL Cy Young race is too close to call this week. I’ll pass on making any more bets here but I am also biased since I’m holding a $600 ticket on Bauer at 55/1 from March.

AL Cy Young 

The top three contenders for the AL Cy Young race are Shane Bieber, Lance Lynn and Gerrit Cole. Dylan Bundy and Frankie Montas decided to eject themselves from the conversation early this week. At + 200, I think Cole has been consistently overvalued all season and will continue to be. He deserved to win the 2019 award over former Astros teammate Justin Verlander. I think he’s looking at a potential runner-up again this year. Everyone is trying to catch Bieber, who has pitched so great I’d actually consider him for MVP, not just Cy Young, though surprisingly Bieber is unlisted for MVP odds everywhere I checked.

 

Bieber: 34.2 innings pitched over 5 starts, 5 quality starts with a 1.30 ERA, 4 wins, 5 earned runs, 4 home runs, 6 walks, 54 strikeouts, a 14.0 K/9 and 0.72 WHIP.

Lynn: 32.1 innings pitched over 5 starts, 4 quality starts with a 1.11 ERA, 3 wins, 4 earned runs, 2 home runs, 12 walks, 36 strikeouts, a 10.0 K/9 and 0.74 WHIP.

Cole: 29.1 innings pitched over 5 starts, 3 quality starts with a 2.76 ERA, 4 wins, 9 earned runs, 5 home runs, 5 walks, 34 strikeouts, a 10.4 K/9 and a 1.17 WHIP.

 

Another reason I’m low on Cole is that he appears to be cheating by using a foreign substance on the ball. It’s noticeable every time he pitches that he has something sticky on the top of his hat. Check it out next time you watch a Yankees game. Cole isn’t even trying to hide it.

NL Rookie of the Year

BetMGM

May + 350

Keller + 700

Cronenworth + 700

Carlson + 1000

Lux + 1200

Gore + 1200

Varsho + 1200

Gimenez + 1200

Hoerner + 1400

Kieboom + 1800

Bohm + 4000

Howard + 5000

That’s a long list of guys who mostly have no shot to win NL Rookie of the Year. Spencer Howard hasn’t pitched well enough to gain serious consideration. Nico Hoerner and Daulton Varsho haven’t done anything special either. Mets shortstop Andres Gimenez has six stolen bases, which is nice but not award-winning. Mackenzie Gore and Gavin Lux are great prospects who aren’t with their big-league clubs. Jake Cronenworth is 27, and I don’t think he will jump in front of Dustin May. I don’t think Mitch Keller is a serious threat, either, since he has been on the Pirates’ injured list for two weeks. It’s still May’s award to lose. If he stays in the Dodgers’ rotation all season, he’ll have an excellent chance to lock it down. May has made five starts and pitched 24 innings, giving up 25 hits and eight earned runs with three home runs, five walks and 19 strikeouts and a very respectable 3.00 ERA and 1.25 WHIP. I’m adding another 1x unit bet on May at + 350 at BetMGM this week.

May’s main threat is Cardinals outfielder Dylan Carlson at + 1000. He was just called up and is expected to play almost every day the rest of the season, but he’ll need to play lights out to make up for missing the first third of the season. I’d rather bet more on May this week than add

Carlson.

AL ROY

BetMGM

Luis Robert + 300

Kyle Lewis + 300

Randy Dobnak + 600

Jesus Luzardo + 800

Brendan McKay + 1000

Casey Mize + 1000

Nate Pearson + 1200

Jo Adell + 1400

Evan White + 1600

With poor starts last week, Nate Pearson and Jesus Luzardo have at least temporarily ejected themselves from AL ROY consideration. Casey Mize is expected to start for the Tigers on Wednesday and has the potential to win the award but will be hard-pressed to make up the innings needed to contend after missing the first third of the season. The Twins’ Randy Dobnak has come out of nowhere to become the third favorite at + 600. He had pitched 25.1 innings in five starts with a 1.42 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and four wins. He had given up only four earned runs and two home runs. He had walked six batters with only 14 strikeouts, but it’s hard to quarrel with his early success. I’m not jumping in on him at + 600, though.

I’m not sure why Brendan McKay was ever + 1000. He didn’t show up to training camp until the very end, and news came Tuesday that he’s having shoulder surgery and is shut down for the season. I never understood his placement and he has always been dead money.

This market is mainly still a two-horse race between Luis Robert and Kyle Lewis.

Lewis: 15 runs, 30 hits, 2 doubles, 5 home runs, 17 RBIs, 0 stolen bases, 12 walks, 26 strikeouts .345/.420/.949.

Robert: 13 runs, 24 hits, 6 doubles, 5 home runs, 13 RBIs, 4 stolen bases, 7 walks, 31 strikeouts, .286/.341/.876.

Lewis has cut down on his strikeouts slightly, and I’d say he’s barely ahead of Robert. I think Robert will overtake him, but Lewis has earned his co-favorite status. I’m not adding anything in this market this week.

Recap

$2,100 to win $500 on the Dodgers winning the NL West

$300 to win $12,000 on Juan Soto NL MVP

$1,000 to win $2,500 on Mike Trout AL MVP

$500 to win $1,750 on Dustin May NL ROY

This week I bet a total of $3,900 and have now bet $26,141.36 in MLB futures. The previously bet futures are listed below.

Full-season recap

NL MVP

$500 to win $10,000 on Bryce Harper

$500 to win $15,000 on Nick Castellanos

$191.36 to win $5,740.80 on Nick Castellanos

$500 to win $4,000 on Fernando Tatis Jr.

$200 to win $20,000 on Charlie Blackmon

$1,000 to win $18,000 on Charlie Blackmon

AL MVP

$500 to win $17,500 on Shohei Ohtani

$400 to win $15,000 on Giancarlo Stanton

$200 to win $10,000 on Nelson Cruz

$100 to win $6,000 on Nelson Cruz

$500 to win $3,000 on Aaron Judge

NL Cy Young

$200 to win $10,000 on Kyle Hendricks

$100 to win $6,600 on Kyle Hendricks

$500 to win $11,000 on Dinelson Lamet

AL Cy Young

$500 to win $20,000 on Frankie Montas

$300 to win $24,000 on Dylan Bundy

AL ROY

$500 to win $8,000 on Evan White

$500 to win $20,000 on Evan White

$500 to win $12,500 on Nate Pearson

$500 to win $25,000 on Sean Murphy

$500 to win $2,000 on Luis Robert

$200 to win $10,000 on Yoshitomo Tsutsugo

NL ROY

$250 to win $15,000 on Alec Bohm

$500 to win $5,500 on Dustin May

$500 to win $2,000 on Dustin May

$500 to win $27,500 on Spencer Howard

Most Home Runs

$500 to win $25,000 on Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

$200 to win $20,000 on Luis Robert

$250 to win $13,750 on Yoenis Cespedes

Most Hits

$250 to win $5,500 on Ozzie Albies

$250 to win $8,250 on Fernando Tatis Jr.

$250 to win $10,250 on Bo Bichette

Most Hits AL Only

$250 to win $5,000 on Bo Bichette

Most Strikeouts

$500 to win $3,000 on Max Scherzer to lead both leagues

$250 to win $1,375 on Max Scherzer to lead both leagues

Most Strikeouts NL Only

$250 to win $16,250 on Chris Paddack

Most Strikeouts AL Only

$500 to win $5,000 on Lucas Giolito

Most Wins NL Only

$500 to win $12,500 on Trevor Bauer

Division Futures

$500 to win $1,500 on the Washington Nationals to win the NL East

$250 to win $687.50 on the Cincinnati Reds to win the NL Central

$500 to win $3,750 on the San Diego Padres to win the NL West

Yes/No To Make Playoffs

$500 to win $875 on the Cincinnati Reds to make the playoffs

$500 to win $7,500 on the Seattle Mariners to make the playoffs

$2,500 to win $1,000 on the Boston Red sox to miss the playoffs

Individual Player Futures

$575 to win $500 on Mike Trout Under 16.5 home runs

$525 to win $500 on Yordan Alvarez Over 35.5 RBIs

$575 to win $500 on Anthony Rizzo Under 11.5 home runs

$625 to win $500 on Trevor Bauer Over 83.5 strikeouts

$600 to win $500 on Trevor Bauer Over 4.5 wins

 

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