MLB Betting: Value Plays Favor Betts & Bautista To Win AL MVP

Mark Lathrop

Monday, March 28, 2016 9:13 PM GMT

Our MLB Handicapper looks at the 2016 AL MVP odds, now available at BetOnline, to see if there is any value MLB picks in this fun prop bet!

The MLB odds are out for American League and National League MVP over at BetOnline, and I thought I would take a look at them to see if we can’t find some hidden value behind the obvious favorites. Below are the prop odds for the American League, along with the projected WAR for each player from the Steamer statistics system:

Player

Odds (+)

Projected WAR

Mike Trout (LAA)

150

9.0

Josh Donaldson (TOR)

450

5.9

Manny Machado (BAL)

550

6.2

Carlos Correa (HOU)

1400

4.6

Miguel Cabrera (DET)

900

4.1

Mookie Betts (BOS)

1000

4.8

Jose Bautista (TOR)

2500

3.6

Lorenzo Cain (KC)

2500

3.6

Jose Altuve (HOU)

2500

3.3

Adrian Beltre (TEX)

3300

3.8

Justin Upton (DET)

3300

3.3

Chris Davis (BAL)

3300

3.2

Jose Abreu (CWS)

2500

2.7

Todd Frazier (CWS)

4000

3.2

Robinson Cano (SEA)

4000

3.5

J.D. Martinez (DET)

3300

2.5

Alex Gordon (KC)

6600

3.8

Nelson Cruz (SEA)

5000

1.3

Edwin Encarnacion (TOR)

5000

2.6

(Odds current 03/28/2016)

 

The Heavy Favorites
Mike Trout (LAA) – Mike Trout is projected to hit north of 30 HR’s, exceed 100 runs and RBI’s, steal 15+ bases, and play fantastic defense in 2016. That is the obvious reason he is the MVP favorite this year in the American League. The problem with Trout in 2015, and likely in 2016, is that he is the best player on what is continuing to be an uninspiring team. He has placed 2nd in MVP voting three times now and it will take a triple crown type season to overcome any deficits that his team puts him in when votes are tallied. If the Angels make the playoffs and Trout puts up his expected numbers, the MVP is his to lose. You are better off taking the Angels at +375 to win the AL West than Trout at +150 to win the MVP though.

Josh Donaldson (TOR) – The returning MVP rode an 8.7 WAR season to the AL MVP in 2015, taking the Toronto Blue Jays to the playoffs in the process. This is exactly where I was going with my explanation on avoiding Mike Trout. You want your money backing the best player on the best team. Toronto definitely has a chance to make the playoffs again in a competitive AL East, and if they do, even a slightly subdued year for Donaldson will garner him AL MVP votes in 2016.

Manny Machado (BAL) – Machado had a breakout season in 2015, excelling in every aspect of the game to come in 4th place in AL MVP voting. With the Orioles at +750 to win the AL East though, a repeat of his 2015 season could get lost in the shuffle. Most projection systems have a repeat as a sure thing though, and he’s still developing power, so a 40+ HR season isn’t completely out of question. Just don’t expect Machado to overcome Trout or Donaldson if the Orioles don’t make the playoffs.

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The Value Plays
Mookie Betts (BOS) – With Boston taking a year off last year, Mookie Betts arrival on the scene didn’t get as much press as it normally would have. But a player that is projected to put up nearly 5 WAR on a team that is predicted to make the playoffs needs to be considered for this MVP prop bet. At +1000 odds and the best player on the team, if you think that Boston will really take the AL East you could do worse than to dabble in this prop MLB pick to give your AL East division champion wager a bit more juice.

Jose Bautista (TOR) – If Toronto does make the playoffs again, it will be because Josh Donaldson didn’t do it alone on offense. That opens up the possibility that a player like Bautista will be in the mix for MVP discussion. Bautista put up a 6.4 WAR season in 2014, and at +2500 you’d be hard pressed to find someone with that kind of pedigree, a team with playoff chances, and that kind of payoff from the book.