The Philadelphia Phillies had a chance to take a commanding 3-1 series lead in the World Series on Wednesday night with ace Aaron Nola on the mound in their home ballpark. Instead, it was Cristian Javier and the Astros' bullpen that stole the show. The Astros made MLB history by being the first team to ever throw a combined no-hitter in the World Series. Don Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 World Series was the only previous no-hitter in the 118-year history of the World Series.
The series is now tied at two games each ahead of a pivotal Game 5 in Philadelphia. Despite the game being in Philadelphia, it's the Astros who have a large advantage on paper in Game 5 as Justin Verlander takes the mound opposite Noah Syndergaard. As a result, the Astros are -160 favorites to win Game 5.
Overall, Houston is a -190 favorite to win the World Series. Houston is a sizable favorite to take a 3-2 series lead back to Houston, where it'll have two chances to win one game if things go according to plan. However, it's a member of the Phillies that is currently the betting favorite to win World Series MVP. Bobby Richardson in 1960 is the only player to win World Series MVP as a member of the losing team.
Bryce Harper remains favorite
After Philadelphia's win in Game 3, Bryce Harper's odds to win World Series MVP came crashing down to just +180. He hit a massive two-run home run in the first inning to kick things off in front of the home crowd. He then gave Alec Bohm a scouting report before his at-bat that helped Bohm hit a home run.
In the 24 hours between the start of Game 3 and the start of Game 4, 40% of the bets and 76% of the money at BetMGM backed Harper to win World Series MVP. It made sense. The Phillies were up in the World Series and Harper had a marquee moment.
However, Game 4 changed the calculus a bit. Harper went 0-for-2 with a walk. The Astros stole back home-field advantage. As a result, Harper's odds shot back up to +350. He still has the best odds to win the award and he's far and away the most popular bet. He has received 27.2% of the bets and 34.9% of the betting handle. No other player has received more than 7.5% in either category.
If the Phillies win the World Series, Harper will almost certainly have another marquee moment in this series. As far as hitters for the Phillies, nobody outside of maybe Kyle Schwarber or Bohm has separated themselves. Harper's name recognition might be enough for him to win the award in runaway fashion.
However, the issue of course is the fact the Phillies are now +155 underdogs to win the World Series. Since the first World Series MVP was awarded in 1955, only once has a member of the losing team won the award.
Tucker, Bregman lead way for Astros
If you're looking to bet a member of the favored Astros to win World Series MVP, two names stick out above the rest.
Kyle Tucker kicked off the World Series with a two-home run game in Game 1. He added a double in Game 4. Overall, his 1.139 OPS is the highest of any player in the World Series. Tucker is +450 to win World Series MVP.
Alex Bregman hit a key two-run double in Game 4 to open things up for the Astros. He also hit a home run in Game 2 to give the Astros some insurance in that game. He's batting just .188, but his hits have been timely. Bregman is +550 to win the MVP.
What about some pitchers?
Justin Verlander (100-to-1), Aaron Nola (200-to-1) and Zack Wheeler (200-to-1) have all had rough starts to the World Series, and that's certainly reflected in their aforementioned odds to win MVP. However, there are three pitchers that have a chance to put forward a pretty good argument if things go their way, especially in a series that hasn't had a singular standout offensive performer yet.
Framber Valdez pitched Game 2 for the Astros, giving up just four hits and one run over 6.1 innings while striking out nine and picking up the win. He's currently lined up to start Game 6 for Houston. If things go according to plan in Game 5, he has a chance to be the starting pitcher in a clinching game. Valdez has been dominant all season, posting 25 consecutive quality starts earlier this season. If he gives the Astros another quality start in a clinching game, his 13-to-1 odds to win MVP are certainly appealing.
Cristian Javier pitched six no-hit innings in Game 4, so the narrative is already there for Javier. If this series goes seven games, I'd certainly expect Javier to play a large role, especially after what we saw from Lance McCullers in Game 3. Javier is 14-to-1 to win MVP, not a bad price for someone who's already been a part of World Series history and has a chance to play a large role in a do-or-die game.
On the Phillies' side, the price for Ranger Suarez seems off. Suarez got some key outs in Game 1 for Philadelphia, coming out of the bullpen. He pitched five shutout innings in Game 3, getting Philadelphia a key home win. If the series goes the distance, Suarez is lined up to pitch in Game 7. If he gets the win there, that's three appearances for Suarez in three games the Phillies ended up winning, including a do-or-die game. At 66-to-1, I see some value in throwing some lunch money on Suarez.
Current World Series MVP odds
Here are the odds for World Series MVP at BetMGM:
Bryce Harper (+350)
Kyle Tucker (+450)
Alex Bregman (+550)
Jose Altuve (11-to-1)
Yordan Alvarez (11-to-1)
Jeremy Pena (13-to-1)
Framber Valdez (13-to-1)
Cristian Javier (14-to-1)
Kyle Schwarber (14-to-1)
Alec Bohm (20-to-1)
Yuli Gurriel (20-to-1)
JT Realmuto (25-to-1)
Chas McCormick (40-to-1)
Rhys Hoskins (50-to-1)
Nick Castellanos (66-to-1)
Brandon Marsh (66-to-1)
Ranger Suarez (66-to-1)