It’s rare for an athlete to completely distance the field in the betting odds for an MVP award but then again, Shohei Ohtani is the rarest of athletes. It doesn’t matter which online sportsbook you check, at all of the best MLB betting sites, in the American League MVP race, there is Ohani and then there is everyone else.
Bovada shows Ohtani as the -1200 AL MVP favorite. Toronto Blue Jays’ first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is a distant second in the betting line at +750. No other player is showing odds shorter than +4000. BetUS puts Ohtani as the -1250 chalk in this betting market, followed by Guerrero at +550. Again, the closest player to those two is offered at +4000.
|Shohei Ohtani (Angels)||-1200||-1250||-2000|
|Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Blue Jays)||+750||+550||+900|
|Rafael Devers (Red Sox)||+4000||+5000||OFF|
|Marcus Semien (Blue Jays)||+5000||+5000||OFF|
|Matt Olson (Athletics)||+5000||OFF||OFF|
|Jose Ramirez (Cleveland)||+15000||+4000||OFF|
BetOnline has as much as declared the race to be over. Ohtani is the -2000 favorite in that sportsbook’s betting line. Guerrero is at odds of +900. And there’s no one else even on the board.
No one has previously done what Ohtani is achieving for the Los Angeles Angels on the diamond this season.
At the plate, Ohtani, who plays at designated hitter and in the outfield, leads the American League with 40 home runs, 265 total bases, and a .648 slugging percentage. He’s been issued an AL-high nine intentional bases on balls.
On the mound, the right-handed throwing Ohtani, known by the nickname Shotime, is 8-1 in 18 startrs with a .279 ERA and 1.06 WHIP. He’s struck out 120 batters over 100 innings pitched while issuing just 39 walks.
On successive days this season, he threw a pitch at 101 mph and hit a home run that left his bat at 115.2 mph. At the time, that was the hardest-hit home run ball in the majors during the 2021 season.
Over the years, baseball has seen its share of fascinating and unique athletes. Bo Jackson was a Heisman Trophy winner who played in the MLB All-Star as an outfielder with the Kansas City Royals. Deoin Sanders played in the World Series with the Atlanta Braves and won the Super Bowl with the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers.
In the 1910s, Jim Thorpe, an Olympic medalist in the decathlon and an all-star football player in the NFL, played in the outfield for the New York Giants, Cincinnati Reds, and Boston Braves. Around the same era, Jim Riley, who won a Stanley Cup with the 1916-17 Seattle Metropolitans, played briefly in the major leagues with the Washington Senators and St. Louis Browns. Dave Debusschere was an NBA All-Star who pitched two seasons for the Chicago White Sox.
The closest thing baseball has seen to Ohtani, though, was Babe Ruth. And while Ruth was a great pitcher who became the game’s pre-eminent slugger, the fact of the matter is that even he never put a season comparable to what Ohtani is accomplishing in 2021.
From 1914-19, Ruth was an ace hurler for the Boston Red Sox. He won 23 games in 1916 and 24 in 1917. Ruth led the AL in ERA (1.75) and games started (40) in 1916. His 35 complete games were tops in the league in 1917.
The Red Sox came to realize that Ruth was equally valuable to the team when swinging a bat as he was when dealing from the mound. His 11 home runs led the A in 1918, as did his 29 round-trip shots in 1919.
However, it wasn’t until his 1920 trade to the New York Yankees that baseball came to realize that Ruth was a slugger like no other. He’d break the MLB home-run record three times in New York. Ruth hit 54 home runs in 1920, 59 in 1921, and then 60 in 1927, which stood as the most in a single MLB season until Yankees outfielder Roger Maris hit 61 in 1961.
His arrival in New York marked the virtual demise of Ruth’s pitching career, though. He made one start in 1920 and two in 1921. After leaving Boston, Ruth pitched in just five major league games.
Certainly, Blue Jays fans will make a case for Guerrero. The son of 2004 AL MVP Vladimir Guerrero, who, oddly enough won his MVP award while playing for the Angels, the younger Guerrero is also enjoying a breakthrough campaign.
Guerrero has hit 35 home runs. He leads the AL in on-base percentage (.409) and OPS (1.013).
Bettors who were wise enough to get an AL MVP bet down on Ohtani at the start of the season are poised to cash in a huge ticket.
On April 1, the day the MLB season got underway, Ohtani was listed at a betting line of +3300 to win the 2021 AL MVP Award. That means a $100 bet on Ohtani would return $3300 were he to win the MVP.
Even at the two-week mark of the 2021 season, Ohtani was still showing a betting line of +1400 in the AL MVP market.
There are a number of leading online betting sites that will provide bettors with the chance to place a wager on MLB, whether it be a moneyline or point spread wager, a future book bet, a parlay wager, or perhaps a player or team prop wager.