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Breaking down Shohei Ohtani’s ascent to AL MVP favorite

We take a look at the odds movement for Ohtani in the AL MVP market on DraftKings Sportsbook and also look at how the public is betting.

Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani reacts after a base hit against the Houston Astros in the seventh inning at Minute Maid Park. Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Shohei Ohtani had already taken the baseball world by storm. Now, he’s making his mark in the betting markets. Following the brutal news that Los Angeles Angels OF Mike Trout would miss 6-8 weeks due to a calf strain, we saw Ohtani’s path to becoming AL MVP favorite become clear. Trout had spent most of the season at the top of the odds list until the injury. Ohtani had been second at +300. He’s now the favorite at +150 on DraftKings Sportsbook. Trout has moved down to +1100.

The odds movement on Ohtani’s AL MVP line has been pretty remarkable over the course of the season and prior. DKSB provided a nice chart that tracks Ohtani’s AL MVP line starting from when the odds opened back in February until now.

Just looking at Ohtani’s odds movement from the opening of the market to MLB Opening Day, we see that this was always going to be the case. Sure, the Trout injury definitely helped in Ohtani taking over as favorite, but this always seemed inevitable. Ohtani went from +3300 to +2000 by Opening Day and it really only took a month for him to move to +1000. It’s not even the end of May, and we see almost an identical jump from +1000 to +150 on May 19. Ohtani is set to make another start on Wednesday and it seems every time he does anything noteworthy, it has the potential to shift the line.

Shohei Ohtani MVP Odds Movement

Date Odds
Date Odds
Opening Odds (2/13) +3300
3/23 +3000
3/25 +2500
3/26 +2200
Opening Day (4/1) +2000
4/5 +1800
4/6 +1200
4/13 +900
4/16 +1000
4/21 +1100
4/24 +1200
4/28 +1100
5/2 +1000
5/3 +900
5/7 +800
5/10 +700
5/12 +650
5/15 +550
5/17 +500
5/18 +300
Now +150

Now let’s take a look at the betting splits for AL MVP and where Ohtani stacks up compared to the rest of the field. This is how the public has bet on AL MVP throughout the year. Trout and Ohtani make up almost 40 percent of the betting market for AL MVP. Ohtani makes up 26 percent of the bets and 27 percent of the handle. So even before Ohtani rose to become the favorite to win, he was getting the majority of the action. This isn’t surprising, really. He’s unique. No one can do what he does — be an above average rotation pitcher while putting up MVP stats at the plate.

Trout dropped from the favorite to the third-best odds to win MVP overnight because of the injury. If Trout misses closer to 6 weeks and even comes back early, that could help him get back into the picture. Ohtani is starting to run away with this award, but there really isn’t much competition behind him. Because of that, it wouldn’t be tough for Trout to get back into the lineup and continue doing what he does. It makes Trout an interesting value at this number. All it would take is an Ohtani slump for a portion of Trout’s absence to allow the Angels outfielder to get back and jump up in the odds. There’s no doubt, as long as Trout returns within that timeframe, that his AL MVP odds will move back up from 11/1.

AL MVP Odds Betting Splits

Rank Team Odds % of Handle % of Bets
Rank Team Odds % of Handle % of Bets
1 Mike Trout +1100 37% 13%
2 Shohei Ohtani +150 27% 26%
3 DJ LeMahieu +3300 6% 5%
4 Aaron Judge +1400 3% 5%
5 Luis Robert +3300 3% 5%
6 Byron Buxton +2000 2% 2%
7 Giancarlo Stanton +1400 2% 4%
8 Vladimir Guerrero Jr +850 2% 5%
9 Eloy Jimenez +3000 2% 2%
10 Tim Anderson +3300 2% 5%

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