Mike Trout, Ronald Acuna Jr. take early lead in MVP races

Mike Trout, Ronald Acuna Jr. take early lead in MVP races

Mike Trout’s blistering start to the 2021 season has the Los Angeles Angels star a heavy favorite to win American League MVP honors.

The picture is far muddier in the National League, where a clear favorite has yet to emerge.

Trout, 29, entered Friday batting .381 with four home runs, eight RBIs and 10 runs through his first 42 at-bats this season. He is being offered as the +225 MVP favorite by DraftKings, where the next closest A.L. player is teammate Shohei Ohtani at +1000.

That hasn’t dissuaded bettors from backing Trout, who is leading with 27 percent of the MVP money at DraftKings. Ohtani is second at 22 percent but has been backed by far more of the total bets — 22 percent to Trout’s 10. No one else has been supported by more than six percent of the bets.

Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. has enjoyed an even hotter start at the plate, with a .442 average to go with seven home runs, 14 RBIs and 17 runs scored entering Friday.

Offered at +1000 to win N.L. MVP odds by DraftKings at the start of spring training, Acuna Jr.’s odds have shortened to a league-low +375. While he’s being backed by 11 percent of the money and 10 percent of the bets, that trailed the Washington Nationals’ Juan Soto, who is leading with 17 percent of the money and 15 percent of the bets at +750.

Soto is batting .378 with a pair of home runs and seven RBIs through 37 at-bats. Bettors are also throwing their support behind teammate Bryce Harper. The 28-year-old has opened the season with a pair of home runs and while he’s batting on .231, Harper has been backed by 12 percent of the money and 10 percent of the N.L. MVP bets.

Soto and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Mookie Betts opened as co-+750 favorites at DraftKings. Betts’ odds have lengthened to +850 and he’s being backed by only five percent of the money and bets despite batting .323 with a pair of homers and eight runs scored through the first two weeks of the season.

By comparison, Dodgers teammate Corey Seager (+1300) has attracted nine percent of the money and six percent of the bets. Another popular bet has been San Diego Padres third baseman Fernando Tatis Jr., who has been backed by 10 percent of the money and 13 percent of the bets despite being limited to 18 at-bats.

Tatis has been on the injured list with a dislocated left elbow but is expected to be activated to face the Dodgers on Friday.

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