VSiN’s MLB handicapper runs through his favorite futures bets that are widely available at various nationally branded sportsbooks.
The pick: Shohei Ohtani.
Odds: BetMGM 30/1, FanDuel 22/1, DraftKings 22/1.
Last year, I bet Ohtani to be the AL MVP, and he proceeded to give up six runs in the first inning of his first start without getting an out. My bet didn’t even make it through the first inning of Ohtani’s first start. This year I promised myself I wasn’t going to bet Ohtani again, yet sure enough, a week into spring training I had convinced myself to bet him to win the AL MVP. This time it will be different.
Ohtani has looked impressive as a batter and a pitcher this spring. Early indications from the Angels are that they plan to let him play as much as his body will let him. I am rehashing the same argument I used for Ohtani to win the MVP in 2020: Ohtani is the only player in MLB who can throw 99 mph and average a strikeout an inning while hitting 400-foot home runs on a regular basis.
The Angels have even been experimenting with batting Ohtani at the top of the order this spring. There’s no real modern comparison. If Ohtani stays healthy and gets 450 at-bats with, say, 25 home runs while pitching 120-plus quality innings with a strikeout per inning and a 3.50 or less ERA at the top of the Angels’ rotation, it will be hard to make a case that he isn’t the most valuable player in baseball.
The downside is that he’s still teammates with Mike Trout, the perennial AL MVP favorite and best player in baseball. But Trout doesn’t throw 99 mph. The road map to an Ohtani MVP is him staying healthy and the Angels making the playoffs. If both those things happen, Ohtani will likely be in the MVP conversation late in the season.
The pick: Corey Seager.
Odds: DraftKings 15/1, FanDuel 15/1, BetMGM 12/1.
Seager was last year’s NLCS and World Series MVP and would likely be the Cactus League MVP if there were such a thing. In 17 spring training games, Seager had 15 hits, nine runs, six home runs and 13 RBIs and a .375/.444/.825 slash line. The Dodgers’ shortstop is batting second behind Mookie Betts and is still available at double-digit odds for MVP. I’ve bet this multiple times already, and it’s my only NL MVP future to start the season. Seager is in a contract year, and an MVP award would likely make him one of the highest-paid free agents in MLB history next winter.
NL Cy Young
The pick: Jacob deGrom.
Odds: DraftKings +425, BetMGM 4/1, FanDuel +380.
DeGrom opened at 5/1 and has been bet down a bit at most books, though at +425 or 4/1, it’s still a good bet. His spring numbers, in case you need some convincing: 13 ²/₃ innings pitched, six hits, one earned run, three walks, 21 strikeouts. Had the 2020 season gone two weeks or a month longer, deGrom would likely be the reigning Cy Young winner. I think deGrom will regain the title and win his third Cy Young while likely leading the NL in strikeouts for the third consecutive year.
AL Cy Young
The pick: None.
I’m not super compelled to bet Gerrit Cole (7/2) or Shane Bieber (+375) at short odds. I’m going to wait.