Someone is going to cash a nice ticket in the All-Star Game MVP market.
The favorite is Shohei Ohtani, and his odds are +425 at BetMGM. Aaron Judge (+550), Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (+800) and Mookie Betts (+900) are the only other players at shorter than 10-to-1 odds. That means there are some juicy odds available. In a one-game sample, practically any hitter can win MVP with one big swing of the bat.
And the great thing is it's pretty easy to figure out the profile of the MVP winner. The voting history is very strong. That will help guide our bets.
But which player will cash that ticket for bettors?
The profile of All-Star Game MVPs
We know what to look for when we're betting All-Star Game MVP, or at least who to eliminate.
It would be a shock if the MVP is from the losing team. That has happened just twice in All-Star Game history and not once since 1970. You'll need to pick the winning team. Yahoo Sportsbook's Sam Cooper likes the American League, which does seem to have the better lineup and has won eight straight and 20 of the last 24. I can ride with that. I'll limit my search to AL players. If you think the NL breaks its losing streak, concentrate on NL players.
The MVP will very likely be a player who hits a home run, unless no home run is hit by the winning team. In 2014, Mike Trout won MVP despite not hitting a home run, while AL teammate Miguel Cabrera did hit one out. That's really rare.
Since 1979, when Dave Parker won MVP without hitting a home run even though teammate Lee Mazzilli did hit one, there have been 40 All-Star Games. In that time, five pitchers have won MVP. Of the 35 hitters that won MVP, only two — from the winning team, of course — got the award without hitting a home run while a teammate did hit a home run. Michael Young did it in 2006 and Trout did it eight years ago. For the 33 other ASG MVP hitters since 1979, they either hit a home run or their (winning) team did not hit any home runs at all.
Long story short: The MVP is coming from the winning team and it'll very likely be someone who hits a home run, unless his team doesn't hit any homers at all. Could it be a pitcher or a hitter who drives in some clutch runs with a double? Sure. But the voting history is pretty easy to follow.
Who's the best bet for ASG MVP?
I'd prefer a starter for my ASG MVP bet. A bench player could come in and get a key hit, but that's harder to predict. If you can pick which bench player will have a big at-bat and win MVP, more power to you.
Here's the AL starting lineup with MVP odds:
1. Shohei Ohtani +425
2. Aaron Judge +550
3. Rafael Devers +2000
4. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. +800
5. Giancarlo Stanton +1200
6. Byron Buxton +1800
7. Tim Anderson +5000
8. Andres Gimenez +6600
9. Alejandro Kirk +5000
I'll eliminate Anderson, Gimenez and Kirk. They all have 11 homers or fewer this season and are hitting down in the lineup. The top six hitters all have at least 19 homers this season. Since it's an unpredictable market, I want a longer shot. So I'll eliminate Ohtani, Judge and Guerrero at less than 10-to-1, though any of them are obviously capable.
Devers is a great player but his first at-bat will be against lefty Clayton Kershaw. Devers' splits against righties and lefties are typical (1.031 OPS vs. righties, .850 OPS vs. lefties), so let's eliminate him too.
That leaves us with Stanton or Buxton.
It's a small sample size but Stanton has homered twice of Kershaw in 18 career at-bats. Buxton has never faced Kershaw. Neither hitter might face Kershaw anyway if Kershaw has a quick first inning and doesn't come out for the second.
I'll lean toward Buxton at a little longer odds. He has 23 home runs this season and is an elite defensive player who could make a big play in the field to help his argument. I also don't mind a Stanton bet at 12-to-1 odds.
Or just bet them both and hope one of them cashes a nice ticket over the all-star break.