No Fernando Tatis Jr? No problem. The San Diego Padres cruise this season thanks to an MVP-caliber performance from third baseman Manny Machado.
Baseball bettors are banking heavily on Manny Machado. The San Diego Padres third baseman has seen his National League MVP ratings soar from +3,500 on opening day to just +225 on May 26 BetMGM.
It currently attracts 26.5% of all winnings in sports betting, by far the most of any gambler.
Odds of winning for NL MVP
|Manny Machado (Padres)||+225|
|Mookie Betts (Dodgers)||+600|
|Nolan Arenado (Cardinals)||+600|
|Bryce Harper (Phillies)||+1,000|
|Juan Soto (national team)||+1,000|
|Pete Alonso (Mets)||+1,100|
|Ronald Acuna Jr (Braves)||+1,300|
|Francisco Lindor (Mets)||+2,500|
|Paul Goldschmidt (Cardinals)||+2,500|
Odds courtesy of BetMGM as of May 26, 2022.
Machado’s rocket-like rise to the top of the odds board was nothing short of staggering. Now in his fourth season with the Friars, the five-time All-Star is hitting .361 with eight homers and 27 RBI and leads all NL players in Batting Average, Total Bases, On-Base Percentage, OPS, OPS+, and intended walks. Actually, the only thing he doesn’t do is sweep the clubhouse after home games.
Manny Machado has played at MVP level this year pic.twitter.com/mhoi6FtV8A
— Talking Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) May 21, 2022
Machado’s value was particularly evident on May 22 against the San Francisco Giants when he became the first player in MLB history to hit three doubles, a triple, three runs and a base on balls in a single game. It was his 16th multi-hit game of the season and it bumped his slash line to a paltry .374/.446/.619.
Here are three reasons why bettors should consider jumping on Machado’s bandwagon before his odds diminish:
WAR, what is it good for?
Like it or not, wins above replacement (WAR) has become the number one statistic for evaluating player value over the past decade, and no one in the senior circuit has a higher WAR — per baseball reference — than Machado this season. The former first-rounder is the best of any National Leaguer with a 3.3, which is 0.6 points higher than St. Louis Cardinals infielder Tommy Edman, who is in second place, and a full point higher than the all-time MVP- Contestants Nolan Arenado and Mookie Betts tied for third.
Machado’s ranking is notable as the NL MVP has finished in the top 5 in WAR for nine of the last 10 seasons. The only outlier is Bryce Harper, who won the 2021 award despite finishing a distant 12th in the category (ninth among position players).
And if you prefer FanGraphs WAR to Baseball-Reference, not much changes. Machado leads the NL with a 3.4 WAR, followed by Mookie Betts with a 2.7.
Machado’s defense is still rock solid
You don’t have to be a two-way force to win MVP honors, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. Six of the last 10 NL MVPs have also been Gold Glove winners at some point in their careers. That trend bodes well for Machado, who won a pair of Gold Gloves with the Baltimore Orioles and still plays phenomenal defense in the hot corner.
— The Athletic MLB (@TheAthleticMLB) April 20, 2022
He currently ranks first among all NL third bass players with a field odds of .989 and is sixth on Defensive Wins Above Replacement with a .3.
Machado has reinforced in Tatis’ absence
An MVP – literally – is a player without whom a team cannot survive. That was certainly the case for Machado as he helped the Padres recover from the huge loss of All-Star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. The 20-year-old prodigy entered 2022 with the eighth shortest odds of winning the NL MVP but has yet to set foot on the diamond after breaking his left wrist in an off-season motorcycle accident.
Most teams would fall apart without their most prolific player, but San Diego has the second best record in the National League and finds itself just 1.5 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the crowded NL West. The Padres will ultimately need Tatis to make noise in the playoffs, but in the meantime his absence has helped strengthen Machado’s MVP case significantly.
Manny is Manny
Machado has never finished higher than fourth in MVP voting, but then again, he’s never looked more fixed than he has this season. Place a bet now at its rapidly dwindling odds while there is still value.