Blue Jays’ Vladimir Guerrero Jr. falling off pace on AL MVP odds

Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. fields a ground ball by Tampa Bay Rays' Brandon Lowe during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Lowe was out at first. (Chris O'Meara/AP)

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. sits among the leaders in home runs, batting average, and RBI heading into the final week of the MLB season, but that has not been enough to lift him to the top of the AL MVP odds where he continues to lag as the +800 second favourite at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

It has been a breakthrough campaign for Guerrero, who enters the home stretch leading the majors with 46 home runs. The 22-year-old has also established personal bests with 120 runs scored and 105 RBI, and has played a key role in Toronto’s continued presence in the hunt to claim an AL wild card berth. The Blue Jays ended a three-game slide with a pair of wins this weekend in Minnesota to remain in striking distance of the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox in the AL wild card standings. The team also remains in the middle of the pack as a +2200 wager on the World Series odds.

Guerrero did not help his cause over the weekend, though, going 1-for-17 over the four-game series with the Twins, and hitless in the Blue Jays’ wins on Saturday and Sunday. However, he has ample opportunity to make up for lost ground during the team’s upcoming six-game schedule-closing homestand.

The Blue Jays first baseman and designated hitter has been an offensive force on home turf since the team returned to Rogers Centre in early August, hitting .309 with eight home runs and 24 runs scored. He has also performed well against this week’s visitors. Guerrero is hitting .349 with 20 RBI against Orioles pitchers this season, and takes a .339 average against New York into Tuesday night’s series-opening matchup.

Despite his continued stellar performance, Guerrero remains in an uphill battle on the odds to win the AL MVP award against Shohei Ohtani, who leads the way as the heavy -3000 favourite at sports betting sites.

The Los Angeles Angels star has captivated baseball fans with outstanding performances both on the mound and at the plate this season. Ohtani sits among the AL leaders in home runs with 45, while contributing 98 RBI and 90 bases on balls plus 99 runs scored.

Ohtani did his best to boost the Blue Jays’ playoff hopes on Sunday, throwing seven innings of one-run, 10-strikeout ball, but was let down by the Angels bullpen in a 5-1 loss to Seattle. Despite toiling for a team that has already been eliminated from postseason contention and that will close out 2021 with a losing record, the 27-year-old has managed to compile a steady 9-2 record on the mound with a 3.18 ERA and 156 strikeouts.

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