"He who gambles lives in a shambles" — famous bettor
People who gamble figure it's time for Los Angeles Angels slugger Mike Trout to win AL MVP after he finished as runner-up in the voting the past two seasons to Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers. This time, they say, Cabrera will be the bridesmaid.
Wagerers also figure that Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates will win the NL MVP again, with Joey Votto of the Reds finishing second and Paul Goldschmidt, McCutchen's runner-up in 2013, finishing third.
Bovada.lv released its MVP odds for both leagues Wednesday, along with some fun proposition bets. For the AL, Trout is listed at 5 to 1, with Cabrera 6 to 1 and Jacoby Ellsbury and Albert Pujols (interesting!) at 12 to 1. On the NL side, McCutchen is 6 to 1, with Votto a second choice at 7 to 1 and Goldschmidt 9 to 1.
In the AL Cy Young race, Yu Darvish comes in at 8 to 1 with David Price first alternate at 9 to 1. Clay Buchholz (?!) and Max Scherzer are 10 to 1. Clayton Kershaw is a 13-to-2 favorite to win another NL Cy Young, with the next choices being Stephen Strasburg and Adam Wainwright at 8 to 1.
Chris Davis is expected to be the home run king again, and was given 8 to 1 odds.
All of those odds are OK, but what about the long shots? Who are the double-digit odds guys who just might beat out the favorites for the awards?
• Pujols is not bad at 12 to 1, but Prince Fielder will hit a lot of home runs in Texas and he's 20 to 1. If they win the AL West and he's their biggest power guy, it could be a big payoff.
• He's not even listed, but what about Darvish? He so frequently comes close to no-hitters. What if he throws one, or two? What if he strikes out 300 and puts up the best numbers in a difficult park to pitch in, the Rangers win the AL West and guys like Fielder and Adrian Beltre have similar and otherwise average seasons? You probably could get 25 to 1 odds, or higher, on Darvish, if you asked.
• Jayson Werth at 25 to 1. Werth would have entered the MVP discussion a season ago but the Nationals started horrendously and didn't make the playoffs after a late push. But Werth was functioning at the best levels of his career in 2013. If he stays away from freak injuries, and he's certainly due to, Werth could hit 35 homers and lead the league in on-base percentage for a first-place club. That's an MVP contender.
• Ryan Braun at 14 to 1 would be a great choice — except for the bloc of voters who just won't go for him no matter what because he lied about doing PEDs. Even if Braun puts up the best numbers of his career and tests negative, he won't win the award again soon. If people won't vote for Jeff Bagwell for the Hall of Fame because someone heard second-hand that Bagwell hung out with some guys who probably did PEDs maybe in the '80s, they also won't vote for Braun. Too bad. He might very well deserve it this season. Speaking of which, Matt Kemp at 16 to 1 might be what some call "free money." If he's healthy, of course.
AL Cy Young
• At 12 to 1, Chris Sale and Justin Verlander are oh, so tempting. Sale is as talented as any pitcher this side of Kreshaw or Jose Fernandez, and Verlander finished 2013 looking like his old self. Going higher, James Shields at 20 to 1, in that ballpark (where he didn't even pitch that well in 2013) and the Royals on the verge of contention, looks like a good bet.
• At 33 to 1, R.A. Dickey would be a huge payoff. The ballpark, the league and the state of the Blue Jays probably work against him. But $100 bet — for a recent Cy Young winner — would be a huge dividend.
NL Cy Young
• Fernandez at 10 to 1 and Madison Bumgarner at 15 to 1 jump out. Gerrit Cole and Michael Wacha at 25 to 1 jump even higher.
For all of the odds, go to Bovada's site. But remember: (S)he who gambles lives in a shambles.
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