Place your bets: Albert Pujols and Nelson Cruz are favorites for World Series MVP

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Bodog has betting odds on which player will be named World Series MVP and not surprisingly Albert Pujols and Nelson Cruz lead the way:

Albert Pujols       5/1
Nelson Cruz         6/1
Adrian Beltre       7/1
Josh Hamilton       7/1
Field              10/1
Ian Kinsler        10/1
Michael Young      10/1
David Freese       11/1
Matt Holliday      11/1
Lance Berkman      14/1
Yadier Molina      15/1
C.J. Wilson        18/1
Chris Carpenter    18/1
Elvis Andrus       18/1
Jon Jay            18/1
Mike Napoli        18/1
Jason Motte        25/1
Neftali Feliz      25/1
Allen Craig        30/1

In terms of the best value bets, Lance Berkman at 14-to-1 and Mike Napoli at 18-to-1 are probably the most underrated relative to the other top hitters on each team. And both Game 1 starters at 18-to-1 seem like decent bets, because if either Chris Carpenter or C.J. Wilson win two games in the series their MVP odds would be pretty strong.

Also worth noting: There are six guys at 10-to-1 or better and Pujols is the only Cardinals player, which makes some sense given that the Rangers are favored to win the series.

Nick Markakis leads all NL outfielders in All-Star voting

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I would hope by now that I no longer have to preface All-Star talk with my usual “none of this matters” disclaimers, but please keep all of that in mind when I mention that Nick Markakis is leading all National League outfielders in All-Star voting.

Markakis, with 1,173,653 votes, has surpassed the slumping Bryce Harper in that category. Harper has 1,002,696 votes. The third place outfielder is Matt Kemp of the Dodgers with 925,697. Fourth place — Charlie Blackmon of the Dodgers — is like 300,000 votes back of Kemp.Yes, Markakis, Harper and Kemp may be the starting NL outfield. Brandon Nimmo — not on the ballot — should be grumpy, but he’ll get his chance I’m sure.

The thing about it: Markakis, for as unexpected as his appearance may be on this list, deserves to at least be in the top three. He’s second in WAR among National League outfielders behind Lorenzo Cain. He’s slowed down a good bit in June and he’s coming off of a 2017 season in which he had a 96 OPS+ and 0.7 WAR, but he’s having quite an outstanding season. I write that mostly so that there is a record of it come October and we’ve all forgotten it.

Seriously, though, good for Markakis, who has never made an All-Star Game. Good for Kemp too for that matter, who most people assumed was a walking — well, limping — corpse heading into this season. Good for Harper because anything that can keep up the guise of him having a good year when, in reality, he’s really not, will help his confidence as he heads into free agency.

Finally, good for the American League, who will likely get to face a far, far inferior National League team next month in Washington.

The rest of the voting: