MVP, Cy Young long shots worth betting ahead of MLB's 2nd half

Brace Hemmelgarn / Getty Images Sport / Getty

We're roughly halfway through the MLB season, and we've already got a pretty good sense of who will win each of the four major awards. Jacob deGrom is the prohibitive favorite to win both NL MVP (-105) and Cy Young (-1000), while Shohei Ohtani (-290) and Gerrit Cole (-115) are the clear leaders for AL MVP and Cy Young, respectively.

That said, we have played just over half the campaign, meaning there is still plenty of time for a player to have a scorching second half and rip the award away from the current favorite. Here are the odds to win each of the major awards (100-1 or shorter) and our favorite sleeper pick for each:

AL Most Valuable Player

PLAYER ODDS
Shohei Ohtani -290
Vladimir Guerrero Jr +210
Xander Bogaerts +4000
Matt Olson +5000
Marcus Semien +5000
Jose Ramirez +5000
Rafael Devers +6000
Mike Trout +6000
Carlos Correa +6000
Aaron Judge +7000
Jose Altuve +7000
Byron Buxton +7000
Yordan Alvarez +7000
J.D. Martinez +7000
Jose Abreu +8000
Bo Bichette +8000
Salvador Perez +10000
Teoscar Hernandez +10000
Kyle Tucker +10000
Cedric Mullins +10000

This has clearly emerged as a two-man race between Ohtani and Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who appropriately rank first and second in the AL in home runs, OPS, and combined fWAR. The clear difference between the two is on the mound, where Ohtani owns a 3.49 ERA with 87 strikeouts in 67 innings to complement his already MVP-level bat.

If anybody can bust up the party at the top, it's Xander Bogaerts, who is quietly having an Ohtani-like season at the plate but with fewer home runs and much better contact. The Red Sox star ranks third in batting average (.321) and fWAR (3.9) among qualified AL batters and anchors Boston's elite lineup, which could help his narrative case should either the Angels or Blue Jays fall short of the postseason.

Pick: Xander Bogaerts (+4000)

NL Most Valuable Player

PLAYER ODDS
Jacob deGrom -105
Fernando Tatis Jr. +115
Trea Turner +2500
Nick Castellanos +3500
Freddie Freeman +5000
Max Muncy +5500
Kyle Schwarber +5500
Jesse Winker +6500
Bryce Harper +7000
Nolan Arenado +7000
Kris Bryant +7000
Juan Soto +8000
Mookie Betts +8000
Manny Machado +10000
Justin Turner +10000
Buster Posey +10000
Brandon Crawford +10000

DeGrom is having a season for the ages and was our favorite value bet when he was still dealing at 6-1 odds in early June. The right-hander has since ascended to the top of the oddsboard, but Fernando Tatis Jr. also has a strong case as the NL leader in home runs (28) and stolen bases (20) and the runner-up in batting fWAR (4.0) behind injured Ronald Acuna Jr.

Tatis and deGrom have both battled injuries this year, though, and are a risky bet at such short odds to sustain over the second half of the campaign. So why not take a shot on a player like Nick Castellanos, who leads the NL in average (.331) and is among the league leaders in runs (59) and RBI (59)? The Reds slugger is among the streakier stars in baseball, so if he gets hot over the season's second half, he'll be well worth a bet at these odds.

Pick: Nick Castellanos (+3500)

AL Cy Young

PLAYER ODDS
Gerrit Cole -115
Carlos Rodon +200
Lance Lynn +380
Shane Bieber +3000
Nathan Eovaldi +3500
Jose Berrios +4000
Chris Bassitt +4000
Kyle Gibson +4000
Sean Manaea +5000
Hyun-Jin Ryu +6000
Tyler Glasnow +6000
Lucas Giolito +6000
Shohei Ohtani +6000
John Means +6000
Zack Greinke +6500
Aroldis Chapman +6500
Framber Valdez +8000
Robbie Ray +8000
Dylan Cease +8000
Liam Hendriks +8000
Aaron Civale +8000
Frankie Montas +10000
Casey Mize +10000
Lance McCullers Jr. +100000
Danny Duffy +10000
Luis Garcia +10000
Rich Hill +10000

For a few weeks, Cole's place atop the Cy Young oddsboard looked tenuous, at best. The Yankees ace posted a 5.24 ERA in a six-start stretch beginning in early June, which coincided with MLB's crackdown on foreign substances. Then Cole went the distance in a 129-pitch shutout gem against the Astros, allowing three hits with 12 strikeouts - his most in a start since May 12.

Still, do we trust that performance to carry over for the rest of the campaign? If he falters, Red Sox ace Nathan Eovaldi could be worth betting as a dark horse. The 31-year-old journeyman doesn't have the ERA (3.66) or strikeout rate (22.8%) you'd expect from a Cy Young winner, but he trails only Carlos Rodon in FIP (2.60) and fWAR (3.4) at a much better price.

Pick: Nathan Eovaldi (+3500)

NL Cy Young

PLAYER ODDS
Jacob deGrom -1000
Brandon Woodruff +1500
Kevin Gausman +1500
Zack Wheeler +1800
Corbin Burnes +2000
Yu Darvish +2500
Walker Buehler +3500
Max Scherzer +3500
Freddy Peralta +5000
Trevor Rogers +5000
Trevor Bauer +5500
Joe Musgrove +7000
Clayton Kershaw +7000
Ian Anderson +8500
Josh Hader +8500
Marcus Stroman +8500
Julio Urias +8500
Sandy Alcantara +8500
Pablo Lopez +10000
Jack Flaherty +10000
Aaron Nola +10000
Charlie Morton +10000
Taijuan Walker +10000
Craig Kimbrel +10000
Anthony DeSclafani +10000
Tyler Mahle +10000

It's tough to envision betting against deGrom, who has already separated himself with one of the best starts to a season we've ever seen on the mound. Yet as we mentioned before, his injury woes could lead to a potential late-year absence, which would open the door for someone to challenge him in this market.

If anyone can do it, it's Corbin Burnes, who trails only deGrom in FIP (1.37), xFIP (2.16), xERA (1.84), SIERA (2.36), and strikeout rate (37.1%) among NL pitchers with at least 50 innings. The righty also ranks third in fWAR (4.2) despite missing a handful of starts for the Brewers, which are positioned to win the NL Central thanks in part to Burnes' mastery on the mound.

Pick: Corbin Burnes (+2000)

C Jackson Cowart is a sports betting writer at theScore. You can follow him on Twitter (@CJacksonCowart) or email him at cjackson.cowart@thescore.com.

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MVP, Cy Young long shots worth betting ahead of MLB's 2nd half
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