The Philadelphia Phillies made a splash last offseason when they added Bryce Harper to the roster, along with several other former All-Stars.
While the thinking was that a Phillies team that finished 80-82 in 2018 would be propelled to new heights in 2019, the reality was that the team regressed by one victory in the win column.
As we look ahead to the 2020 season, a lot of people are wondering if Harper can get back to his MVP level and whether other key players on the roster like Aaron Nola can help lead this team back to the playoffs.
FOX Bet has posted odds booster specials on Harper winning the MVP award and Nola winning the Cy Young, so let’s take a closer look at each prop and see if there’s any value.
Harper National League MVP Odds
Harper was among the top competitors to win the 2020 NL MVP award (he was seventh in line, according to the odds) but FOX Bet has given him a boost. Here’s the updated line:
- Original Odds To Win NL MVP: +1600
- Current Odds To Win NL MVP: +2000
To translate what the means, if you were to bet $100 on Harper to win the award and he came through, you’d win $2000. Now the question is does Harper have a good shot?
When you take a look at the race for the MVP, WAR has become a very important number in that category. For five straight seasons, the player that led the National League in WAR was eventually named the MVP, which includes Harper back in 2015.
The challenge for Harper is that his WAR numbers have declined since then. In 2015, he was at 9.9 when he clubbed 42 home runs, had 99 RBI’s and six stolen bases while batting .330. However, his subsequent WAR numbers have looked like this:
- 2016: 1.6
- 2017: 4.7
- 2018: 1.3
- 2019: 4.2
Last year was solid but it wasn’t good enough. To put what a WAR of 4.2 means in perspective, that ranked him 21st last season.
The real question here is what do you think happens with his batting average and what happens with the Phillies? If his batting average can get back over .300 – something that’s only happened once in the last four seasons – then his WAR should start to approach the numbers he’ll need.
Secondly, will the Phillies be in contention? If you believe so, he’ll have a decent shot to win it and at 20/1, the payout is juicy. However, if you don’t think either of these fall his way, you might want to stay away.
2020 NL MVP Odds
- Mookie Betts +550
- Cody Bellinger +650
- Christian Yelich +750
- Ronald Acuna Jr. +900
- Juan Soto +1100
- Fernando Tatis Jr. +1500
- Bryce Harper +2000
Aaron Nola Cy Young Odds
When it comes to Nola, FOX Bet is also handing out a generous boost as they’ll pay out +2800 if Nola comes through, which is a $600 bump over the +2200 he’s priced at.
Original Odds To Win NL Cy Young: +2200
Just like WAR was important for the MVP race, it’s similarly as important for the Cy Young Award. The eventual Cy Young winner has been first in three of the last four years, and first or second in seven straight seasons.
Coincidentally, the last time a player led the league in WAR and didn’t win the award was Nola in 2018.
The question with Nola is will he be able to duplicate his 2018 season. He went 17-6 that season and had a WAR of 10.5. He lost out because Jacob deGrom edged him in WHIP slightly and allowed more than a half-run less in terms of ERA.
While those numbers were good enough for Nola to win the award, the question is if he can do it again. Beyond that, the Phillies also have to play well. If they get to the playoffs and Nola is leading the National League in WAR, he’ll be among the front runners.
If you think he’s got a chance, you can now get him at +2800 with the odds boost, which will put some more money in your pocket if he does come through.
2020 NL Cy Young Odds
- Max Scherzer +400
- Walker Buehler +750
- Jack Flaherty +900
- Stephen Strasburg +1200
- Clayton Kershaw +1600
- Yu Darvish +1800
- Luis Castillo +2000
- Aaron Nola +2800