2020 MLB American League MVP Odds: Can a Dark Horse Upset Trout?

Spring training opened up over the weekend as the MLB regular season inches closer and closer. While pitchers build pitch counts and hitters get reps, bettors can access an array of MLB futures markets not limited to merely betting on the World Series. Today, we discuss American League MVP odds at US sportsbooks.

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2020 MLB American League MVP Betting Odds

All odds are courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook and accurate as of February 24th, 2020.

Mike Trout +150

The conversation starts with Mike Trout for a couple of reasons. The first, of course, is because bookmakers portend that the award begins and ends with the Angel in the outfield. Last season, Trout finished ahead of Alex Bregman — more on that, later — to capture his third MVP award, tying him for second all-time behind Barry Bonds with seven. Trout finished in the top two in voting seven of the last eight years and DraftKings Sportsbook is implying that he is likely going to be there, again.

Next, the main reason Trout leads our conversation is the impact his presence has on the value of other options. As a massive favorite to win this award, other superstars are carrying potentially better price tags. I will not argue whether or not Mike Trout should be a massive favorite — that would be silly. Instead, in a world where unprecedented things can — and often will — happen, there is certainly merit to discussing other options who might bring better value for bettors.

Personally, I don’t think I will tie up any money on Trout before the season begins. Instead, one might consider employing a wait-and-see approach early in the MLB season hoping strong candidates emerging may bring a better price for last year’s MVP. The baseball season is a long haul.

Aaron Judge +1000

Aaron Judge comes in as my first value consideration for the award. After beginning his career in 2017 with a season to remember, Judge slowed down a bit in the 2018 and 2019 seasons. Injuries meant Judge did not exceed 500 plate appearances in either season after amassing 678 in his near-MVP monster season. Coming with a 10-to-1 price tag, Judge merits consideration on a team favored to win the World Series at the time of this writing (+350).

From August to September of last season, Judge finished with 16 home runs after posting an enormous .324 ISO and 147 wRC+. Fly balls were down over the last two seasons while Judge’s hard-contact rate climbed all the way up to 53.8%. Given the offensive context, Judge is a prime candidate for gaudy numbers considering the protection from fellow Bombers.

If American League MVP is not for you, perhaps consider a ticket on Judge to lead the MLB in home runs. DraftKings currently offers a +1800 price for Judge to finish atop that leaderboard while teammate, Giancarlo Stanton is on top at +900. You can find a better price tag for Stanton (+1200) at Pointsbet. Home runs are both valuable and vital in both actual baseball and daily fantasy contests. Aaron Judge will be an expensive commodity across all DFS platforms this season. His futures price tag could get pretty expensive if he starts the 2020 MLB season in the same fashion as he finished his last.

J.D. Martinez +4000

After the Mookie Betts trade covered in an earlier World Series futures article, J.D. Martinez remains as the predominant right-handed slugger residing in Fenway Park. Losing an MVP-caliber player like Betts will certainly be detrimental to Boston’s playoff hopes but might open up a lane for J.D. Martinez as a potential MVP-candidate.

When Betts won the award in 2018, Martinez finished fourth in voting behind (surprise) Mike Trout and Jose Ramirez. That notwithstanding, Martinez put together an incredible season — finishing with 43 HR, 111 R, 130 RBI, and a 170 wRC+. With numbers like that, how did Martinez not garner more first-place votes?

Well, playing a predominate portion of his games as a designated hitter does not help Martinez’ cause. Since the position was created in 1973, no designated hitter has won the MVP award. With analytics representing the core of the MLB, the worth of a defensive star, ahem, Mike Trout, cannot be ignored. Playing only 24 games in right field last season, a move back into the outfield is unlikely for the Boston slugger.

J.D.‘s prospects rest on the Red Sox winning the American League East behind another dominant year. All of this is baked into pretty long odds.

Vladimir Guerrero +6600

Speaking of long odds, let me try to sell you on a player starting for a team with +10000 World Series odds. Coming off of a long-anticipated rookie campaign where Guerrero held his own, the Blue Jays’ highly-touted third baseman represents an AL MVP dart throw in 2020.

The Most Valuable Player Award is not reserved for winning teams. Giancarlo Stanton and Alex Rodriguez both won the award for teams that were woefully bad. So, there is precedent for a player on a very bad team to perform so exceptionally well that the campaign cannot be ignored. The Blue Jays seem to be readying themselves for a shift from rebuilding to hoping to contend. Additions of players like Hyun-Jin Ryu and Travis Shaw add veteran presence to a very young but talented lineup. Guerrero is the spotlight for a lineup featuring Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, and Lourdes Gurriel. The nucleus of the Blue Jays is likely going to grow together but that does not mean a player cannot stick out.

Over 514 plate appearances, Guerrero compiled 15 HR, 52 R, and 69 RBI. His 17.7 K% is pretty impressive considering his nascent status and the Toronto lineup will be better equipped to support a budding star. Guerrero is certainly a long shot for MVP in 2020 but might be a fixture over the next decade. Plenty of things need to happen and plenty (hopefully not) of injuries would likely need to surface but speculating on different players this year could be profitable considering the situation in Houston.

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The Houston Conun-drum

Conspicuous by their absence above, the Astros as MVP candidates pose quite the dilemma for online sports bettors. While Alex Bregman (+1800) appears to be a strong value play considering his second-place finish last season, the negative sentiment surrounding the team as the sign-stealing scandal continues to be fleshed out brings pause. Carlos Correa (+3300) and a previous winner, Jose Altuve (+4000) are afterthoughts for me. Will writers vote for any of these players after the Astros became the target of all media outlets during this offseason?

My gut says, no. Baseball writers tend to be a bit territorial with their ballots and I just don’t see much merit in taking a chance on anyone in an Astros’ uniform. The production would likely need to be so historic for writers to get on board. I may be more inclined to take a crack at the Astros hit-by-pitch prop at William Hill. With so many potential candidates embroiled in this scandal, lanes may open up for new faces if any other key players have a rough season.

Look for another article soon covering the National League MVP odds offered at DraftKings Sportsbook.

For more general MLB betting tips, check out our MLB Betting Picks Guide.

Image Credit: USA Today Sports Image

About the Author

  • Joe Cistaro (joeycis)

  • Joe Cistaro has blogged on RotoGrinders since January 2017. He fell in love with daily fantasy sports after winning an NBA single-entry tournament on FanDuel in the fall of 2013. A small-time player, Joe enjoys writing about MLB and NBA DFS while connecting with the RotoGrinders community.

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