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Early movement in MVP, Cy Young markets

By Jason Weingarten  (VSiN.com) 

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You shouldn’t draw a lot of conclusions from the first few games of the MLB season, but I’m going to do it anyway. 

NL MVP

DraftKings

Mookie Betts + 750

Juan Soto + 750

Ronald Acuna Jr. + 900

Cody Bellinger + 1000

Corey Seager + 1000

Fernando Tatis Jr. + 1000

Westgate

Mookie Betts 9-2

Juan Soto 9-2

Ronald Acuna Jr. 9-2

Corey Seager 7-1

Nick Castellanos 16-1

Cody Bellinger 18-1

Fernando Tatis Jr. 500-1

Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. injured his shoulder this week and looks like he’ll be out a couple of weeks minimum and potentially the entire season. This is a huge blow, as Tatis started the season as one of the favorites for NL Most Valuable Player. 

Tatis is 10-1 at DraftKings and 500-1 at Westgate. At first I thought 500-1 was a typo, so if you think his shoulder injury is not as bad as some people believe or you have information that Tatis will come back, those 500-1 odds are waiting for you. I thought his MVP price was bad to begin with, and if and when he does return, he’ll be playing at less than 100%. Westgate seems to have more dynamic pricing that appears more in line with my numbers than those available at DraftKings, BetMGM and other places. 

The major beneficiaries of Tatis’ injury are the Dodgers’ Mookie Betts and Corey Seager and, to a lesser extent, Cody Bellinger. I pointed out before the season I didn’t understand why Tatis was favored over the Dodgers trio when Los Angeles is more likely to win 100 or more games, while the Padres are likely to be a wild-card team again. The market has started to react, and Seager’s odds have been cut from 20-1 and 15-1 to 10-1 and even lower at Westgate, where he’s 7-1. (You can still get + 1200 at BetMGM.) I think it’s fairly priced now. Seager and Betts are the legitimate front-runners but will face competition from the Nationals’ Juan Soto and the Braves’ Ronald Acuna Jr. all season.

I also want to point out the Reds’ Nick Castellanos. He’s 16-1 at Westgate, 40-1 at DraftKings and still 100-1 at BetMGM. I bet $150 on Castellanos at 100-1 preseason, and I will probably try to add $100 or $200 more here at 100-1. He will have an uphill climb to win MVP, but at 100-1 I’ll add a tiny bit more to my position. 

AL MVP

DraftKings 

Mike Trout + 225

Alex Bregman + 1200

Shohei Ohtani + 1200

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. + 2000

Westgate

Mike Trout + 150

Shohei Ohtani + 900

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. + 900

Aaron Judge + 1200

I could write a book on Ohtani’s performance Sunday night. The Angels’ two-way star became the first starting pitcher to bat second in the lineup since Jack Dunleavy did it for the Cardinals in 1903. Ohtani started the game throwing 98 mph and showed off his arsenal in the first inning, hitting 100.6 mph with his fastball and then striking out Adam Eaton on a 91.8 mph splitter. If that wasn’t impressive enough, he followed it up in the bottom of the first inning by hitting a home run with an exit velocity of 115.2. 

Ohtani had the hardest-hit ball by a pitcher in the Statcast era (since 2015). His home run was the second-hardest-hit ball of the season through Sunday, while his 100.6 mph fastball registered as the seventh-hardest-thrown pitch of the season. He also struck out the reigning AL MVP, Jose Abreu. The point is that what Ohtani did Sunday night was practically unprecedented. He ended up pitching 4.2 innings with one earned run and seven strikeouts and 92 pitches before exiting after a collision at the plate. Ohtani avoided injury on the play and is projected to make his next start Sunday against the Blue Jays.

Through six games, Ohtani had two home runs and two stolen bases to go along with his pitching stats. He’s still teammates with Mike Trout, who is the MVP front-runner until further notice, but Ohtani did what he needed to do, and the drop in his odds reflects that he has a legitimate shot at MVP. 

I’m also surprised to see the Blue Jays’ Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at + 900 at Westgate. I think that’s a bad number, but I’ve also noticed the oddsmakers at Westgate always have different prices on him than I do. For example, the book made him -200 to -500 to win AL Rookie of the Year before he had even been called up his rookie season. Maybe he’s just a popular public bet, but the numbers Westgate puts on Guerrero are consistently bad. 

NL Cy Young

DraftKings

Jacob deGrom + 400

Trevor Bauer + 799

Max Scherzer + 950

Walker Buehler + 1000

Aaron Nola + 1100

Blake Snell + 1100

Yu Darvish + 1200

Corbin Burnes + 1500

Julio Urias + 6600

Westgate

Jacob deGrom + 175

Trevor Bauer + 800

Walker Buehler + 800

Aaron Nola + 1000

Yu Darvish + 2000

Corbin Burnes + 2500

Blake Snell + 3000

Julio Urias + 5000

If you have not bet the Mets’ Jacob deGrom for NL Cy Young, he’s still + 400 at DraftKings, and that’s a great price for the front-runner. Most of my money is on deGrom, but that didn’t stop me from backing a few long shots after watching their first starts. 

I picked up a few bets on the Brewers’ Corbin Burnes between + 3000 and + 3500 at Westgate and DraftKings after his 11-strikeout performance against the Twins. 

I grabbed more Julio Urias at 100-1 at Westgate after his first start for the Dodgers. I don’t know where that number came from after he allowed one run in seven innings at Coors Field. I was surprised to see 100-1 available after his first start, as I was happy to bet 75-1 on Urias preseason. 

And my third long shot was Zach Eflin at 200-1 at Westgate. He’s a true long shot. He’s the third starter for the Phillies and would need an exceptional season to leapfrog teammates Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola for serious consideration, but at 200-1 I took a shot.

Al Cy Young

DraftKings

Gerrit Cole + 280

Shane Bieber + 400

Lucas Giolito + 450

Tyler Glasnow + 850

Jose Berrios + 900

Westgate

Gerrit Cole 5-2

Tyler Glasnow 4-1

Shane Bieber 9-2

Lucas Giolito 5-1

Jose Berrios 18-1

I am fairly confident the AL Cy Young Award winner will come out of this group, and I am fairly confident it will be the Yankees’ Gerrit Cole. Every time I’m compelled to make a case for betting on the White Sox’s Lucas Giolito or the Rays’ Tyler Glasnow, I look at Cole’s stat line. He has already opened a three-strikeout lead over Giolito 21-18, and he just pitched seven innings against the Orioles, allowing no runs on four hits with 13 strikeouts. Not every start will come against the lowly O’s, but Cole, much like deGrom, is the deserved front-runner, and I just don’t see any compelling numbers to bet against him. The Twins’ Jose Berrios at 18-1 at the Westgate is interesting, but I don’t think it’s good enough to bet. 

Recap

Jacob deGrom is still available for NL Cy Young at + 400 at DraftKings. Corey Seager is still 12-1 for NL MVP at BetMGM. Those remain my favorite bets for the season. Nick Castellanos for NL MVP at 100-1 at BetMGM is also a great long shot.

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