Last week, Aaron Judge was the favorite to win American League MVP. This week, Aaron Judge is the Favorite. Capital F.
Judge was -145 last week, which was a sizable lead with more than two months to go in the season. Then on Monday, Judge was -400 at BetMGM. On Tuesday, that rose to -450.
If you use implied odds calculations, the current odds indicate Judge has an 81.2 percent chance to win AL MVP. That's massive, especially with so many games to go and Shohei Ohtani still in the AL.
The latest hot streak by Judge has put him on another level in the race, at least according to oddsmakers.
Aaron Judge a huge MVP favorite
Judge winning MVP isn't great for MGM. He's their biggest liability in that market, due to his longer odds earlier in the season. But the oddsmakers seem to think it's inevitable.
Despite Ohtani's two-way brilliance, Judge has a lot going for him. First, he seems to hit a home run just about every day. Sometimes two. He has 43 home runs, ahead of the paces set by New York Yankees 60-homer hitters Roger Maris and Babe Ruth. Since July 16, Judge is 24-for-52, a .462 average, with 12 home runs in those 14 games.
This isn't just a New York player getting way more attention than he would if he played anywhere else, though the extra media attention doesn't hurt Judge. He's the MVP favorite for a reason. He's having a tremendous season for the team running away with the AL East.
If Judge hits 60 home runs for a 100-win Yankees team, it's hard to see him not winning. That extra 18.8 percent from the implied odds, in which Judge doesn't win, probably accounts for a long-term injury and Ohtani.
Who could catch Judge?
If Judge stays healthy and stays anywhere near the pace he has been on, Ohtani is the only player who can realistically catch him. The odds reflect that. Ohtani, who was +110 odds a week ago, has +375 odds. Yordan Alvarez of the Houston Astros has moved to 40-to-1. Everyone else has 66-to-1 odds or longer.
Anything can happen in two months of baseball. Alvarez could have the best two months of his life and hit more than 50 homers himself for a very good Astros team. Maybe Judge falls into a severe slump.
The one reasonable thing that could derail Judge would be voters siding with Ohtani's unquestionable value as a pitcher and hitter. There would be nothing wrong with voting for Ohtani any year in his prime. We've never seen a player like him before. He'll remain a factor in the race.
But Judge has taken a surprising lead in the MVP race the past few days. That's what happens when you hit about a homer per game over a few weeks, especially playing in New York. It would be a pretty big upset if Judge doesn't get his first MVP award after the season.