The 2024 MLB MVP Race: A Closer Look at the Odds

By Tom Ober
Fact Checked by Peter Mooney

The battle for the most prestigious individual award in Major League Baseball has always been entertaining to follow, often coming right down to the final days of the regular season. From wins by rookies like Ichiro Suzuki to pitchers like Justin Verlander, the MLB MVP Awards recognize what players in each respective league were most vital to their team's success.

We think things are setting up for another exciting MVP race...especially if you've got some action on who's going to come out on top.

Ronald Acuna Jr Atlanta Braves

Overview of 2024 MLB MVP Race Odds

While Shohei Ohtani (the American League MVP) and Ronald Acuna Jr (the National League MVP) got off to big starts, set historic career highs, and made the MVP Awards race a formality by the last third of the season in 2023, we're expecting a more wide-open competition this year.

Online sportsbooks generally let you place bets on dozens of players, and the odds are calculated using a mixture of past performance, future potential, team situation, injury status and other variables. Read on for a snapshot of the current odds for both AL MVP and NL MVP, listing out top contenders in each league and what's driving their value as futures bets.

According to DraftKings Sportsbook, here are the current odds of the favorites to win the MVP in each league:

American League

PLAYER CURRENT ODDS
Juan Soto+400
Aaron Judge+600
Julio Rodriguez+700
Yordan Alvarez+950
Mike Trout+1200

National League

PLAYER CURRENT ODDS
Mookie Betts+450
Ronald Acuna Jr.+550
Shohei Ohtani+850
Freddie Freeman+1000
Bryce Harper+1100
Fernando Tatis Jr.+1300

Preseason Favorites in the American League MVP Race

Aaron Judge: +550

  • 2017 Rookie of the Year, 2022 AL MVP, 5-time All-Star
  • Premier power hitter and run producer in AL, could far outpace league in offensive stats
  • Reigning MVP Shohei Ohtani went to NL in free agency, Juan Soto will give him protection in the lineup

Juan Soto: +600

  • 3-time All-Star, 4 top-10 MVP finishes, 4 Silver Slugger Awards (given to the league's best offensive player at each position)
  • Incredible batting eye and on-base ability, great all-around offensive player
  • Will need to adjust to the New York Yankees, but short RF porch at Yankee Stadium could elevate numbers
 
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Analysis of AL MVP Odds

It's no surprise that Aaron Judge and Juan Soto, the two biggest stars in baseball's biggest media market, have the best odds to win AL MVP. Judge, the AL MVP favorite, won MVP just a couple of seasons ago and seems to be right in the prime of his career. Another MVP and he would join a club of multiple-time winners that includes Albert Pujols, Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera and other Hall-of-Famers. Soto could get a big boost in both attention and lineup protection with his trade to New York.

Favorites in the National League MVP Race

Ronald Acuna Jr: +500

  • 2018 Rookie of the Year, 2023 NL MVP, 4-time All-Star, led NL in steals and total bases
  • Record-setting blend of speed and power, first member of the 40-HR/70-steal club
  • Frequently injured, but plays for a contending team in a top media market, surrounded by offensive talent

Mookie Betts: +650

  • 7-time All-Star, 2018 AL MVP, 6 Gold Gloves, 6 Silver Slugger Awards 
  • Great glove and positional versatility makes him the most well-rounded MVP contender
  • Lineup could be even better with Ohtani, teams won't be able to pitch around Betts, Freddie Freeman, and Shohei

Analysis of NL MVP Odds

When it comes to who'll win MVP in the NL, there's a bit more distance between the favorites and the rest of the pack. Most of the best sportsbooks are projecting a fairly tight 3-man race among Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr and Los Angeles Dodgers teammates Mookie Betts and Shohei Ohtani. Sho-Time and Betts will both be trying to join Frank Robinson as just the second player to win MVP in both leagues, while Acuna will be looking to build off his historic 40-HR/70-steal season.

Dark Horse Candidates

Looking at AL MVP odds, even dark horse candidates are among the best of the best players. Corey Seager is coming off a World Series season with the Rangers, Vladimir Guerrero Jr continues to excel with the Jays, and Jose Ramirez, Rafael Devers, Mike Trout and Carlos Correa are leading their respective teams in a hunt for the postseason.

In terms of NL MVP odds, you can get good value on vets like Bryce Harper, Freddie Freeman and Manny Machado, all players leading good (or great) teams gunning for playoff berths.

 
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How Betting Odds Can Change

Betting odds are typically determined by performance, but there are a lot of other factors that can change the MVP races. Of course, there are injuries...and no player traded midseason has even won. And being on a good team matters, as it's rare for a player to win if their team as a whole is underperforming.

Storylines Influencing the MVP Race

Similar to what we mentioned in the section above, writers can also be swayed by a good story. The leader of a Cinderella team or a rookie with unprecedented success may get the extra attention he needs to boost his MVP chances.

A Look at Recent Winners

Looking at the last 10 seasons in the American League, Mike Trout took home the AL MVP Award in 2014, 2016 and 2019. Mookie Betts and Jose Altuve each won by leading great teams to playoff glory, and Jose Abreu, Shohei Ohtani (twice) and Aaron Judge won with prodigious power, including a 62-HR campaign from Judge.

In the National League, the only repeat winner has been Bryce Harper (on different teams), while Clayton Kershaw remains the last pitcher (excluding Ohtani, who pitches and hits) to win the MVP award, in 2014. A few NL MVP winners, notably Christian Yelich, Cody Bellinger and Paul Goldschmidt have seen dips in production following their MVP seasons.

The Role of Analytics in MVP Odds

Sabermetrics and advanced stats may play more of a role in the Cy Young Award, but the big change in how MVP is evaluated is on-base percentage and wins above replacement (WAR), a new stat that attempts to aggregate a player's total offensive and defensive value in the regular season. Long story short, walks and defense are more important than ever. 

MVP Winners from Winning Teams

As we alluded to above, it's rare for a player from a losing (or underperforming) team to win MVP. So as a team slides down the standings, a player's MVP odds may take a similar hit.

The MVP Debate: Position Players vs. Pitchers

It's unusual for pitchers to win the Most Valuable Player Award, and not because their value is in question. The fact the Cy Young Award recognizes the best pitchers in each league makes voters less likely to cast an MVP vote for a hurler. As a result, it takes a truly historic season for a player that exclusively pitches to win. 

Midseason Surges: Players Climbing the Odds

Just like the games, the MVP Awards are determined between the lines. In recent years, Aaron Judge saw his MVP odds skyrocket when he got within striking distance of the Yankee HR record. Mookie Betts gained steam as his Red Sox got off to the best start in franchise history. And Clayton Kershaw made voters rethink whether a pitcher should win when he kept his ERA under 2.00 through the All-Star break and beyond.

Young Players in the MVP Conversation

Because they can be relatively unproven, bettors can often get solid MVP odds on players in their first few years in the big leagues. In the AL, young and supremely talented players like Julio Rodriguez, Gunnar Henderson and Bobby Witt Jr should be right in the mix for MVP. After near misses in the playoffs, NL youngsters like Corbin Carroll and Austin Riley will be looking to get their teams to the promised land.

Comeback Stories: MVP Winners Overcoming Adversity

Everyone loves a comeback story, and fans can't help but be impressed by Ronald Acuna Jr winning MVP after recovering from his season-ending knee injury not long ago. Jose Abreu making his way to MLB from Cuba is a great story of perseverance, and Paul Goldschmidt winning in his mid-thirties is quite the feat.

The International Influence: Global Players in the MVP Race

One look at the list of recent winners shows how many foreign-born players have won MVP. And with the recent influx of more players from Asia, expect the international influence on the MVP races to continue growing.

The Evolution of MVP Criteria Over the Years

As mentioned above in the analytics section, home runs, RBIs and batting average are no longer the last word on MVP voting. Secondary, sabermetric-driven stats like OPS, WAR, Runs Created and Runs Saved are more highly valued than ever.

Fan Favorites for the MVP Awards

Well-liked, popular players will generally have a better chance to win MVP than guys with a bad reputation or questionable character. If their numbers are similar, or even a bit worse, than a player people don't like, odds are the fan favorite will take home the trophy.

Betting on the MLB MVP Odds for This Season

So while there are certainly favorites, the MVP Awards appear to be more up-for-grabs than they have been in recent years. For fans and bettors alike, following the ups and downs of team and individual performance, trades, big storylines and more can make an already exciting season even more so.

 
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MLB MVP Odds FAQ

Yankee teammates Aaron Judge and Juan Soto have the best odds to win AL MVP. Ronald Acuna Jr and Dodger teammates Mookie Betts and Shohei Ohtani have the best odds for NL MVP.

There are many online sportsbooks now available to Ontario bettors, including BetMGM, BetRivers, DraftKings and others.

Author

Tom Ober is a professional writer living in New Hampshire. An avid Boston sports fan, he's rooted with his heart (and wallet) for the local teams for many years. When he's not stationed in front of a game on the TV, he's probably playing Gin Rummy or a video game that's roughly 30-40 years old.

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