Royals Betting Odds Prove Bobby Witt Jr. is a Legitimate AL MVP Candidate

The Royals' AL Central odds are down to +400 after opening at +2500
The Royals' AL Central odds are down to +400 after opening at +2500 / Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

The red-hot Royals are one of the best stories of this young MLB season, flying up the standings and gaining the respect of the national media for their stellar play. It's the most competitive the organization has been in nearly a decade and sportsbooks are taking notice.

Going into the season, Kansas City was a popular pick to improve and opening odds showed as much. Bobby Witt Jr. and Cole Ragans were bet heavily in player prop markets, while bettors loved the Royals' win total over as well.

Updated odds across the market indicate the Royals are legitimate AL Central contenders with Witt Jr. and Ragans serious contenders to win the AL MVP and Cy Young awards. Let's take a look at the most recent odds and how Kansas City fares:

To Make the Playoffs Odds

After entering the campaign at +800 odds to make the postseason, the Royals are now +260. They're a half-game back in the AL Central as of this writing and lead the AL Wild Card race.

The club is 11-6 with MLB's best run differential (+39) thanks in large part to a pitching staff with the second-lowest ERA in the league (2.86). They have the highest winning percentage at home (80%) and appear to have a sustainable foundation barring injury.

I had high expectations coming into 2024, but now this team has me thinking a playoff run is a legitimate possibility.

AL Central Odds

While the Twins, Guardians, and Tigers still rank ahead of the Royals, the gap is much, much smaller than it was when the season began. Cleveland is slightly ahead of Kansas City in the division but lost Cy Young candidate Shane Bieber for the season, while Minnesota is off to a poor start and have injuries of their own to deal with.

Kansas City has had the pleasure of two series against the 2-14 White Sox thus far and will get a stiffer test as the schedule gets harder in the coming weeks.

Either way, the Royals have a real shot at this thing as it stands.

Bobby Witt Jr. AL MVP Odds

A week before Opening Day, Bobby Witt Jr. was +1400 win the seventh-best odds to win the AL MVP award. Not even a month later, the Royals' superstar is +700, trailing only Yankees' slugger Juan Soto (+300).

Witt Jr. is hitting .314/.368/.657 with four home runs, eight RBI, 17 runs scored, three stolen bases, 46 total bases and a 1.6 WAR (Wins Above Replacement) while ranking second among all AL shortstops in Outs Above Average (3).

He's perhaps the most complete player in the sport right now, equally dangerous swinging at the plate, racing on the bases on snagging outs in the field. It certainly looks like the 11-year extension he signed in the offseason will prove to be a bargain for Kansas City.

Cole Ragans AL Cy Young Odds

There were some concerns that Ragans couldn't recapture the magic of his 2023 campaign that made him look like a future ace, but he's been every bit as advertised and then some.

Ragans had the eighth-best odds to win the AL Cy Young at +1400 just over two weeks ago. Now, he's got the third-shortest at +750, behind only Baltimore's Corbin Burnes (+550) and Detroit's Tarik Skubal (+600).

He's 0-1 through four starts thanks to poor run support, but Ragans has a 1.93 ERA in 23.1 innings with 29 strikeouts to just seven walks. The wins are bound to come sooner than later, giving him some value even with the lower odds.

Matt Quatraro AL Manager of the Year Odds

Royals manager Matt Quatraro has the second-best odds to win AL Manager of the Year at +600. A.J. Hinch of the Tigers leads the field at +350, though Quatraro will get plenty of chances to out-maneuver his division rival throughout the summer.

Even in the first couple of weeks, the second-year manager has impressed with his handling of the bullpen and in-game situations. After Will Smith struggled early in the closer role, Quatraro was quick to give James McArthur a chance. The decision immediately paid dividends and showed the manager's willingness to make adjustments on the fly if necessary.

Everything is clicking for the Royals right now and Quatraro deserves a lot of credit for that.

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Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.