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Mookie Betts' injury swings NL MVP futures

Tue Jun 18 11:30am ET
Field Level Media

Mookie Betts' fractured left hand did more than rob the Los Angeles Dodgers of their star shortstop for an undetermined amount of time, it had a massive impact on the National League Most Valuable Player race as well.

Betts, 31, had been among the favorites at sportsbooks ahead of the injury. In addition to a .304 batting average, he leads the Dodgers in on-base percentage (.405), hits (86), at-bats (283), triples (three) and walks (47) in 72 games. He also has 10 home runs and 40 RBIs in a National League-high 331 plate appearances.

That will all change with the seven-time All-Star and six-time Gold Glove Award winner sidelined by a fractured left hand suffered when Betts was hit by a pitch on Sunday. Oddsmakers quickly shifted his NL MVP odds as well, with Betts now +2000 to claim the award at BetMGM.

More of the Dodgers' offensive load will now fall on teammate Shohei Ohtani, whose MVP odds shortened from +400 to +200 following Betts' injury. He is the favorite ahead of Philadelphia's Bryce Harper, whose odds shifted from +400 to +350.

They are now the clear-cut favorites in the NL. The next shortest odds belong to San Diego's Fernando Tatis Jr. and Atlanta's Marcell Ozuna, who both went from +2000 to +1000 with Betts sidelined.

Betts' injury could prove a winner for many sportsbooks. BetMGM reported Tuesday that he currently has been backed by the most NL MVP bets (14.3 percent) and money (23.6 percent) to date.

However, Cincinnati's Elly De La Cruz remains the book's biggest NL MVP liability, having drawn 5.3 percent of the money since opening at +8000. The Reds' young superstar is currently being offered at +2000.

The Dodgers said Betts will not require surgery, but there is also no timetable for his return. With an extended absence, it will be difficult for the 2018 American League MVP to reinsert himself into this year's race.

He is a career .295 hitter with 262 home runs and 796 RBIs in 1,337 games over 11 seasons with the Boston Red Sox (2014-19) and Dodgers.

"He's a superstar player; he's a big part of our ballclub," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Sunday. "But our guys understand that that's part of baseball and you got to move forward. And guys are going to get opportunities and got to play well."

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