Shohei Ohtani AL MVP Odds: How Baseball Is Taking the Angels’ 2-Way Star for Granted

Shohei Ohtani AL MVP odds are available at sportsbooks throughout the U.S., and the debate is rising to a fevered pitch as the season enters the final three weeks.

As an All-Star pitcher and also slugger at the plate, Ohtani has not one, but two ways to win over MVP voters. The Los Angeles Angels’ most popular player has a chance to win the award in the American League again. But, Yankee outfielder Aaron Judge is making a legitimate run at the triple crown, which places Ohtani’s MVP chances in jeopardy.

The shortest odds can be found at Caesars Sportsbook California, which lists the Japanese-born slugger/pitcher at +2000 (up from +1000 a week ago) to win a second consecutive MVP award. FanDuel California has the Angels two-way star at +2500, and Judge the overwhelming favorite at -20000.

BetMGM California and DraftKings no longer list the AL MVP odds, as of Sept. 21.

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Shohei Ohtani Is Being Taken for Granted

Aaron JudgeYankees-5000NA-20000
Shohei OhtaniAngels+2000NA+2500
Jose RamirezIndians+50000NA+50000
Yordan AlvarezAstros+50000NA+50000
Rafael DeversRed Sox+50000NA+50000
Mike TroutAngels+50000NA+50000
Vladimir Guerrero Jr.Blue Jays+50000NA+50000

Listed odds are as of Sept. 14, 2022.

How quickly we become accustomed to things. A year ago, when Ohtani was doing unbelievable things with his pitching shoulder and home run swing, he was MVP-to-be by acclimation. Ohtani’s ability to give his team value on the mound every five days, and as an All-Star DH every day, was unprecedented.

It still is. But baseball fans are starting to take it for granted.

Aaron Judge is having an excellent season for the Yankees, and he’s likely to set a league single-season home run record (he hit his 60th on Sept. 21). He may even win a batting title, and leads as of Wednesday. But we’ve seen many batters have the type of season Judge is having.

Since 1980, there have been 11 seasons where a batter has hit a minimum of 45 homers, slugged at least .650, and driven in at least 130 runs. Sure, that’s a select group, but it’s still happened 11 times in the past 38 full seasons. But what Ohtani is doing is unheard of.

What Ohtani has done in 2022 has been done exactly zero times in baseball history.

In 2022, Ohtani has hit more than 30 homers, will drive in more than 90 runs, and slug more than .500, while also winning 12 games with a sub-3.00 ERA, with (eventually) more than 200 strikeouts.

No player in baseball history has ever done those things in the same season. No player in history has done those things in a career. Ohtani is now the only player in MLB history to have at least 30 home runs and 10 pitching wins in the same season. Babe Ruth never achieved that. Babe Ruth!

Yes folks, we are taking Ohtani’s greatness for granted. While Judge is having one of those super super slugger seasons, he’s still only getting to the plate 4-5 times per game, while Ohtani also pitches every fifth day (he has 14 quality starts and has pitched more than 140 innings, with an ERA that ranks in the top 10 in the AL).

In order for Judge to be as valuable as Ohtani, he would need to be a 10-game winning pitcher with an ERA in the mid-3.00 range, or be a very good setup man out of the bullpen. Judge’s slugging advantage over Ohtani in 2022 doesn’t come close to making up for the value the Angels star creates as a pitcher.

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What’s Next for Shohei Ohtani and the Angels?

The Angels are on the road this coming week, with two games against the Rangers in Texas on Wednesday/Thurday, and three at the Minnesota Twins over the weekend. Los Angeles was eliminated from the postseason for an eighth straight season earlier this week. The franchise has not won a playoff game since 2009.

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MLB MVP Awards by Country of Birth

The MVP in baseball dates back to 1911 when the Chalmers Automobile Co. handed out an award to the most outstanding player in the American and National Leagues. Since 1931, both leagues have had an award that is voted on by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Here are the awards won broken down by country of birth:

  • US: 182
  • Dominican Republic: 7
  • Puerto Rico: 6
  • Canada: 3
  • Cuba: 3
  • Venezuela: 2
  • Japan: 2
  • Panama: 1

Some notes on MLB’s MVP awards:

  • Until 1947, Black players were barred from playing in what was considered Major League Baseball at the time. The AL and NL were segregated until Jackie Robinson’s rookie season with the Dodgers in 1947.
  • The only two Japanese-born MVPs are Ohtani and Ichiro Suzuki.
  • The lone Panama-born player to win an MVP was Rod Carew, who was actually born on a train in the American-controlled zone of that country. A passenger named Dr. Rodney Cline delivered the baby, and that’s why the future Hall of Famer was named Rodney Cline Carew.
  • Miguel Cabrera has twice won MVP, and is the only Venezuelan to do so.
  • Though the Dominican Republic has a population that’s only 3% of the US, that island nation has produced seven MVPs since 1987.

Shohei Ohtani AL MVP Betting Analysis

Barring something majorly unforeseen, the AL MVP race will come down to Shohei Ohtani and Aaron Judge. Ohtani is the underdog right now, but by how much varies from sportsbook to sportsbook. With his star power both on the mound and at the plate, there’s always a chance Ohtani could go on a tear while Judge, the Yankees slugger, hits a slump.

Of course, it hurts Ohtani’s chances that the Angels are so bad. Judge, meanwhile, is helped by the Yankees being one of the best teams in baseball.

Still, taking a flyer on Ohtani at his current odds would not be a bad decision at this point in the season.

Aaron Judge Is the Current AL MVP Favorite

Although the AL MVP battle is a two-man race, Judge is the comfortable favorite. FanDuel gives him -1050 odds to win. Other sportsbooks are a bit more conservative at -1000.

Entering Sept. 7, Judge was hitting .302 with a 1.085 OPS and 54 home runs and 117 RBI for the 81-54 Yankees.

AL MVP Betting History

Below, you’ll see the top three vote-getters for AL MVP the past 10 seasons. You’ll also see the MVP winner’s preseason odds. If you somehow bet on Jose Abreu in 2020, good for you.

YearAL MVP Winner2nd Place3rd Place
2021Shohei Ohtani (+2000)Vladamir Guerrero Jr.Marcus Semien
2020Jose Abreu (above +10000 — was a rookie)Jose RamirezDJ LeMahieu
2019Mike Trout (+250)Alex BregmanMarcus Semien
2018Mookie Betts (+2333)Mike TroutJose Ramirez
2017Jose Altuve (+1000)Aaron JudgeJose Ramirez
2016Mike Trout (+150)Mookie BettsJose Altuve
2015Josh Donaldson (+1600)Mike TroutLorenzo Cain
2014Mike Trout (+500)Victor MartinezMichael Brantley
2013Miguel Cabrera (+700)Mike TroutChris Davis
2012Miguel Cabrera (+900)Mike TroutAdrian Beltre

What Other MLB Player Futures Bets Can I Make?

MVP isn’t the only MLB player futures bet you can make. You can also bet on who will win the Cy Young and Rookie of the Year.

Shohei Ohtani AL MVP FAQs

What do American League MVP odds mean?

All California sports betting apps utilize odds based on a $100 wager: +300 means you would win $300 on a $100 bet. Odds of +500 are the same as 5-to-1, for example. Odds listed as -200 indicate that player is better than even money to win (-200 means you must bet $200 to win $100, or the same as 1-to-2 odds).

Where do I find MLB MVP odds?

Sportsbooks will list MLB MVP odds under “Futures Bets” and/or in a section titled “Awards.” Most books will list dozens of players for the award. If you don’t see a player listed, you can contact that sportsbook to see if they can offer odds on your favorite.

You should bookmark the relevant MLB MVP odds page so you can return regularly to see how the odds shift.

How often are American League and National League MVP odds updated?

Unlike other sports like the NFL, odds for baseball MVP awards do not shift as frequently. There are exceptions, but usually the odds will move weekly or even less, depending on the performance and health of the players.

The success of the player’s team is important, but not always the biggest factor, unlike football and basketball, where typically the MVP winners are from the teams that have one of the best records. For example, in 2021, Shohei Ohtani was named American League MVP even though his team (the Angels) finished in fourth place with a disappointing 77-85 record.

About the Author

Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes is a writer and contributor for California Casinos with plenty of experience under his belt. Dan has written three books about sports and previously worked for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Major League Baseball. Currently, Dan is residing in Michigan with his family.