Not since 2014 have MLB bettors seen a pitcher take home the MVP Award in either the American or National League with Clayton Kershaw last pulling off the feat. However, Shohei Ohtani threw a little extra wrinkle into the mix by adding 46 home runs and 100 RBIs on top of his 3.18 ERA and 156 strikeouts. The effort was Babe Ruth-ian, and it earned him the 2021 AL MVP Award in a runaway fashion. Because of it, DraftKings Sportsbook currently has him installed the +400 odds on favorite to pull the repeat ahead of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and what seems to be the always injured Mike Trout. I wouldn’t blame you for buying shares of Ohtani-San with the two-way star still in the prime of his career, but his payoff lacks the wow factor I’m looking for heading into the regular season. As such, here are my favorite, underdog and longshot selections to take home the hardware come the conclusion of the 2022 MLB betting season.
AL MVP Odds at DraftKings Sportsbook
Shohei Ohtani +400
Vladimir Guerrero Jr./Mike Trout +450
Aaron Judge/Wander Franco +1800
Rafael Devers/Luis Robert +2000
Bo Bichette/Yordan Alvarez/Jose Ramirez +2200
Corey Seager/Brandon Lowe +2800
Kyle Tucker/Trevor Story +3000
Jose Altuve/Jose Abreu/Carlos Correa +3500
Byron Buxton/Alex Bregman +4000
Xander Bogaerts +4500
Giancarlo Stanton/George Springer/Eloy Jimenez/Anthony Rendon/Tim Anderson/Marcus Semien/Jesse Winker +5000
Salvador Perez/Randy Arozarena +6000
Javier Baez/Austin Meadows/Yoan Moncada/Mitch Haniger/Max Kepler +7000
Josh Donaldson +7500
Joey Gallo/Jeimer Candelario/DJ LeMahieu +8000
JD Martinez/Trey Mancini/Michael Brantley/Matt Chapman/Eugenio Suarez +9000
Yasmani Grandal +10000
Favorite to Bet: Wander Franco +1800
This kid is as legit as it gets! Though only able to get 354 plate appearances under his belt after being called up late, the Dominican largely impressed throughout his suppressed time in the Bigs. He played to a .288 batting average, .347 on-base percentage, and .463 slugging percentage. He also exhibited a keen eye at the dish evidenced by his 37:24 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The fantastic MLB debut allowed for him to finish third in AL Rookie of the Year award voting. Now nestled into the top third of the Tampa Bay Rays batting order, he’s going to score a ton of runs with bats like Randy Arozarena, Ji-Man Choi, and Yandy Diaz batting behind him. I’m also expecting a power surge in year two after only launching seven into the cheap seats last season. Franco already showed the tools of a generational talent in his brief stay in the Majors. An enormous leap in production is expected! Should he get out to a slow start, buy some more shares at a more attractive rate of return. Wander Franco will turn heads in 2022!
Underdog to Bet: Anthony Rendon +5000
The Halos haven’t qualified for the postseason since 2014. It’s a shame upper management hasn’t been able to surround Mike Trout with playoff caliber teammates throughout his stay in Anaheim. That being said, DK Sportsbook currently has the Angels (+400) slotted behind the Houston Astros (-175) on the odds to win the AL West heading into the regular season. It’s seemingly going to be a three-horse race for division bragging rights when throwing the Seattle Mariners into the mix. Anthony Rendon for all intents and purposes has been a huge disappointment for Los Angeles in failing to live up to the gargantuan $245 Million dollar contract signed at the outset of 2020. He’s made just 481 overall at-bats and played in a total of 110 games due to the injury bug taking bites out of him with regularity. He’s said to be healthy and in a groove entering the regular season. With one of the best eyes in the game paired with an uncanny ability to hit for power and get on base when healthy, I foresee the Angels third baseman playing a key role in the team’s ability to fight for a playoff spot this season. Should that come to fruition, he’ll be in the AL MVP race all season long.
Longshot to Bet: Matt Chapman +9000
There was a time when Matt Chapman was expected to be the next best thing at the 3B position. That time was only back in 2019 when he was voted to the All-Star game, finished sixth in AL MVP voting, and won a Gold Glove - the second of his career. But after suffering a nasty hip injury in 2020, his performance at the plate fell off a cliff as he worked his way back to getting into game shape. It took a bulk of the 2021 season to do so, but he really caught fire down the stretch to almost help lead the Oakland A’s back into the playoffs a fourth straight time. Now healthy and recently traded to a Toronto Blue Jays outfit brimming with star power that’s actually favored to win the AL East at DK, I’m expecting a resurgent campaign to be put forth from the youngster whose still only 28 years old. When healthy, Chapman was routinely in the MVP Award discussions and I predict more of the same in 2022 with the BJs likely to put on a show every passing game. His odds of winning this award are sure to decline as early as April. Throw some pizza money on this stud now to get the most bang for your buck!