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MLB odds: Elly De La Cruz on pace for historic season, and his MVP odds are dropping

MLB odds: Elly De La Cruz on pace for historic season, and his MVP odds are dropping

Elly De La Cruz was 80-to-1 to win National League MVP when the opening odds came out. He's also the type of player for whom those odds could experience a massive shift a month into the season — up or down.

De La Cruz, the incredibly talented Cincinnati Reds shortstop, had a thrilling rookie season. He started with captivating highlights just about every night after he came up to the majors. Then he started striking out in bunches, hit exactly .200 from the start of August on and was a mystery coming into this season.

We're only a month into the season, but anyone who took De La Cruz at those preseason odds or drafted him early in fantasy baseball is feeling pretty good.

De La Cruz is on a ridiculous tear, and those 80-to-1 MVP odds are long gone. He's down to 13-to-1 at BetMGM.

De La Cruz has been arguably the best player of the first month of the season.

He has 27 runs scored, eight homers, 19 RBI and a league-leading 18 stolen bases, and he's hitting a solid .279. That is impressive, but even more impressive when you put it in the context of a season-long pace:

Wow. One season after Ronald Acuña Jr. turned everyone's heads with a historic season, De La Cruz might match it.

Mookie Betts is also off to a great start with the Los Angeles Dodgers and he's a rightful favorite for NL MVP at +175. Shohei Ohtani (+800) and Acuña (+1000) are ahead of De La Cruz, and Fernando Tatis Jr. is tied with him.

If De La Cruz keeps up anywhere near this pace through six months, it'll be hard to deny him MVP.

The Cincinnati Reds’ Elly De La Cruz celebrates after hitting a home run against the Padres. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

The MLB season is long, and De La Cruz hasn't been through a full season in the majors before. We saw him fade hard late last season. While he has improved his contact issues (from a 33.7% strikeout rate last season to 30.3% so far this season), he could still be prone to a slump because he strikes out more than 30% of the time.

But what he's doing is impressive.

In the NL MVP market, De La Cruz is the biggest liability for BetMGM. Enough bettors took a shot on him being a breakout player and took him at long odds. De La Cruz moved from 80-to-1 on the opening odds to 30-to-1 by Opening Day, and that has continued moving down.

If De La Cruz continues to steal a base or two most days and sprinkle in home runs, he'll start to close in on Betts in the odds race. His highlights are mesmerizing. Like Acuña last season, he and his statistics could be one of the biggest stories in the sport over a full season.

For those bettors who took a shot early on De La Cruz's potential, it could be a fun ride.

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