AL/NL MVP odds update: Buxton, Lindor heating up in MLB's 1st month

Ed Zurga / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Just under three weeks into this MLB season, we're already seeing some strong contenders in the MVP market for both leagues. While some early favorites have stumbled out of the gate, it's not too late to right the ship with 145-plus games to go.

Here are the odds to win MVP in each league at Barstool Sportsbook, along with some early stars and slow starters to keep an eye on:

AL ODDS NL ODDS
Shohei Ohtani +265 Juan Soto +400
Vladimir Guerrero Jr +325 Ronald Acuna Jr. +750
Mike Trout +850 Bryce Harper +1200
Luis Robert +1100 Francisco Lindor +1200
Byron Buxton +1200 Trea Turner +1400
Jose Ramirez +1500 Nolan Arenado +1500
Rafael Devers +2000 Freddie Freeman +1500
Wander Franco +2000 Mookie Betts +2000
Aaron Judge +2200 Matt Olson +2000
Yordan Alvarez +3000 Manny Machado +2500
Bo Bichette +4000 Austin Riley +2500
Jose Abreu +4000 Fernando Tatis Jr. +2800
Kyle Tucker +4000 Pete Alonso +3000
Tim Anderson +5000 Ozzie Albies +3500
Xander Bogaerts +5000 Christian Yelich +3500
Carlos Correa +5000 Tyler O'Neill +4000
Brandon Lowe +5000 Nick Castellanos +4500
Alex Bregman +5500 Max Muncy +5000
Corey Seager +5500 Cody Bellinger +6000
Jose Altuve +6000 Paul Goldschmidt +6000
Marcus Semien +6000 Willy Adames +6000
Salvador Perez +6000 Marcell Ozuna +6500
Trevor Story +6000 Rhys Hoskins +7500
George Springer +6500 Starling Marte +7500
Giancarlo Stanton +6500 J.T. Realmuto +7500
Eloy Jimenez +7500 Kris Bryant +8000
Mitch Haniger +7500 Joey Votto +8000
Anthony Rendon +8000 Brandon Crawford +8000
Randy Arozarena +8500 Ian Happ +8000
Javier Baez +10000 Kyle Schwarber +9000
J.D. Martinez +10000 Charlie Blackmon +10000
Austin Meadows +10000 Joc Pederson +10000
Michael Brantley +15000 Brandon Belt +10000
Josh Donaldson +15000 Jazz Chisholm +10000
Joey Gallo +15000 Jake Cronenworth +10000
Yasmani Grandal +15000 Jonathan India +10000
Yoan Moncada +15000 Bryan Reynolds +12000
Trey Mancini +15000 Justin Turner +12000
Matt Chapman +20000 Frank Schwindel +12000
Max Kepler +20000 Josh Bell +15000
Jeimer Candelario +20000 Ketel Marte +15000
DJ LeMahieu +25000 Paul DeJong +20000
Eduardo Escobar +20000
Jeff McNeil +20000
Mike Moustakas +20000
Tommy Pham +20000
Jean Segura +20000
Willson Contreras +20000

Early stars

Byron Buxton (+1200)

Who's had a hotter start to the season than Buxton? A brief injury scare has done little to halt the Twins slugger's MVP case. His two-home run performance Sunday against the White Sox culminated in a three-run, 469-foot blast in the 10th inning - the longest walk-off home run in the Statcast era.

It was yet another "wow" moment for the ultra-talented Buxton, who boasts a 1.361 OPS and somehow leads the AL in fWAR (1.3) and home runs (six) despite playing the fewest games of anyone in the top 15 of either stat. He looked like an MVP front-runner before injuries cut his 2021 campaign short, and that's clearly a concern again. If it weren't, it's hard to imagine getting him even at this short price.

Francisco Lindor (+1200)

After a rocky first season in New York, Lindor looks like a different player in his second year with the Mets, batting .313 with four home runs and 12 RBIs in just 17 games. By comparison, he finished with 20 homers and 63 RBIs in all of 2021, when he hit .230 and played in just 125 games.

Oddsmakers have certainly taken notice, slashing Lindor's price to a tie for third place with reigning NL MVP Bryce Harper. While the four-time MVP finalist may see his power regress over the course of the season - he's currently posting a career-high home-run rate (5.3%) and career-low hard-hit rate (33.3%) - his approach at the plate should spell strong returns.

Nolan Arenado (+1500)

While the first two players on this list have grabbed most of the headlines, it's Arenado who leads the majors in fWAR (1.5) by a healthy margin and paces the NL in slugging percentage (.727) and total bases (40) through 14 games. Elite defense at the hot corner bolsters those numbers, as the perennial Gold Glove winner ranks third in the NL in FanGraphs' defense rating (2.5).

His stellar play in the field and at the plate is a key reason why the Cardinals (9-5) have started hot and lead the NL Central. Arenado has been a bit fortunate avoiding grounders through the first few weeks, but the power seems legit and could propel him to a dark-horse MVP run.

Slow starts

Mookie Betts (+2000)

While Dodgers teammates Trea Turner (+1400) and Freddie Freeman (+1500) continue to make their case as legitimate MVP candidates, Betts has done the opposite. The 2018 MVP winner is hitting just .196 entering Monday. He has a below-average OPS (.668) and a whopping four extra-base hits through 14 games.

It doesn't help that he's striking out nearly a quarter of his plate appearances, even as his walk rate (14.9%) hits a career high. He isn't hitting the ball hard when he does make contact, an issue that stems back to the hip injury that hindered him last season. Whatever the cause, this simply doesn't look like the year for Betts.

Kyle Tucker (+4000)

A trendy pick to win AL MVP this year - including by yours truly - Tucker has struggled to get anything going in 2022, evidenced by a paltry .127 batting average and a shocking .449 OPS in his first 15 games. This comes after the young Astros star boasted a .917 OPS with 30 homers just one season ago.

This feels like a classic case of bad luck in a small sample size. Tucker's expected batting average (.278) and expected slugging percentage (.585) not only far surpass his actual numbers, but also rank in the top 30 in the NL. That's saying a lot for a player whose basic metrics are among the worst in baseball. If Lady Luck starts to sing a different tune for Tucker, he'll be in the MVP mix before long.

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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AL/NL MVP odds update: Buxton, Lindor heating up in MLB's 1st month
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