Odds to win NL MVP: After Betts' injury, Ohtani leads the charge

Despite only playing as a designated hitter this season, Shohei Ohtani has become the odds-on favourite to win NL MVP. Photo by Ashley Landis/AP.

Ronald Acuna Jr. and Mookie Betts took their turns as NL MVP favourites. But now that both are on the injured list, it looks like Shohei Ohtani's time to shine.

The latest: We're used to seeing Ohtani shine as a two-way superstar, but this year he's doing enough with just his bat to earn MVP frontrunner status. Bryce Harper is easily his closest adversary right now, with all other players situated at 15-to-1 odds or longer.

Let's take a look at the current NL MVP odds.

NL MVP odds

Check out the latest odds to win NL MVP. Click linked odds to add selection to your betslip.

Best NL MVP odds

The favourite: Shohei Ohtani (-136)

Injuries can alter awards markets in a blink.

Not long ago, Betts was nearly the odds-on favourite to win MVP. But after fracturing his had on a hit-by-pitch, Betts is slated to be out until August. He's a 50-to-1 long shot now.

Given that Ohtani isn't pitching this year (as he recovers from elbow surgery last fall), it seemed like a perfect time for someone else to win MVP. After all, no designated hitter has ever won MVP — aside from Ohtani, who did it twice while also accruing value from the mound.

But now a DH-only MVP campaign is more than possible. It's likely.

With NL-best marks in runs (63), home runs (24) and OPS (1.033), Ohtani has provided plenty of value without ever donning a glove.

In Betts' absence, Ohtani has moved into the leadoff spot for the Dodgers, which means he'll fully maximize his opportunities to produce at the plate.

NL MVP notes

  • If you're skeptical of one-way Ohtani winning MVP, then Harper is probably your best bet. He's second in the NL in fWAR (3.9) and has a 172 wRC+. In his 2021 MVP season, he finished with a 170 wRC+.
  • One long shot to pay attention to is Fernando Tatis Jr. at 40-to-1. Over the past month (entering play on June 26), Tatis has a 1.008 OPS. The San Diego Padres will need him to play at or near an MVP pace if they hope to get on the right side of a crowded NL wild-card picture.
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