March 04, 2019
Bryce Harper is in Philadelphia, and it's great. Fans are buying tickets to see the Phillies — and Harper's new No. 3 jersey — faster than anyone could have ever imagined, and the buzz around the 2019 Phillies is loud and it's everywhere.
However, Harper is coming off of a down season, and has been incredibly inconsistent throughout his seven year career. Citizen's Bank Park is one of the more hitter-friendly parks in baseball, and it seems that the hype plus the ballpark is enough for bookmakers to project Harper will be the best player in the National League next year.
Here's a look at just two sports-betting sites who are selling high on Harper:
NL MVP odds just posted at @SuperBookUSA:— Joe Ostrowski (@JoeO670) February 27, 2019
Freeman, Suarez, Yelich 18/1
RIZZO, Hoskins 20/1
BAEZ, Acuna, Bellinger, Rendon 25/1
Story, Turner, Votto 30/1
SCHWARBER 80/1 pic.twitter.com/Rx6V6ynRNd
Interestingly, Harper hasn't really been in the MVP conversation at all since he won it back in 2015.
|2015||Won||.330, 42 HR, 99 RBI||10.0|
|2016||No votes||.243, 24 HR, 86 RBI||1.5|
|2017||12th place||.319, 29 HR, 87 RBI||4.7|
|2018||No votes||.249, 34 HR, 100 RBI||1.3|
Harper was an All Star during all four of the aforementioned seasons, and actually led the league in walks last season — but as you can see, that's not quite the track record of an MVP front-runner.
There is likely more hype than baseball reasoning behind the above MVP odds, with oddsmakers looking to get the most of the Harper hype while it's hot.
The change of scenery, optimism and ballpark factors could very well be just what Harper needs to return to his 2015 form. He is just 26-years-old after all. But at this point, it's hard not to think 4-1 odds with Nolan Arenado coming off his 2018 season being anything but a sucker's bet.
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