MLB

MLB Home Run Leader Odds: Aaron Judge is Surging Ahead

Aidan McGrath
Aidan McGrath@ffaidanmcgrath
MLB Home Run Leader Odds: Aaron Judge is Surging Ahead

Things have changed since our last Home Run Leader race check-in. Our favorite sluggers have shrugged off their offseason rust and rounded into form. The league left March and April averaging 1.02 home runs per game. That number ticked up to 1.03 in May. So far in June, we're seeing 1.09 homers a night.

With the home run rate accelerating, there's been some pretty significant shakeup on the leaderboards, and as a result, we've seen some major swings in the odds for this year's top sluggers to take home the Home Run Leader crown. But which hopeful hitters have the best odds to claim the title this year? Let's check out FanDuel Sportsbook's Player Specials Betting Odds market and see which of baseball's finest have the best odds to lead the league in home runs this year.

All MLB odds come from FanDuel Sportsbook and may change after this article is published.

Home Run Leader Odds

Player
Home Runs
Odds
Aaron Judge24-175
Gunnar Henderson21+750
Marcell Ozuna18+1400
Shohei Ohtani15+1400
Kyle Tucker19+1600
Yordan Alvarez13+2700
Pete Alonso14+2700
View Full Table

Aaron Judge (-175)

It took Aaron Judge a little bit of time to get going this season, but with a scorching hot May, he has now surged to the top of the home run leaderboards and has become the frontrunner to lead the league in homers this season.

Judge's 24 dingers are the most in the majors right now, and 14 of those came in May.

He didn't slow down when the calendar flipped to June, either. He's homered four times in eight games so far this month. The AL Home Run Record holder has been unstoppable lately, ranking in the 100th percentile in both expected slugging percentage (xSLG) and barrel rate this year. He's been in a league of his own with a 162-game pace of 58 homers.

At this point, we kind of know the only thing that can hold Judge back is his health. If he stays healthy, it'll be hard for anyone else to contest his claim of another Home Run Leader title, but if he misses time, there are plenty of other sluggers out there that could gain ground on him in a hurry.

Gunnar Henderson (+750)

Gunnar Henderson is the only other Major League batter with at least 20 home runs on the season. The reigning AL Rookie of the Year is building a strong resume to contend for the AL MVP award this year with his +480 odds trailing only Judge's -110 odds at this stage.

Henderson has a .544 expected slugging (xSLG) this season, the 12th-best mark in baseball -- but quite a bit behind Judge's league-best .758 mark. In fact, the gap between Henderson and some other leaders in that mark may be reason for concern. At least four other contenders besides Judge are currently above the .600 xSLG mark, implying that Henderson could be running a bit hotter than we should expect.

That said, Henderson's year-over-year growth since entering the league has been special, making it pretty easy to ignore the xSLG numbers. He's already looking like one of the best hitters in the game, and there's a chance he's still getting better. With an already-solid 21 homers under his belt, he's putting together a season that should keep him in contention throughout the summer.

Marcell Ozuna (+1400)

The Atlanta Braves are dealing with some disappointing injuries already this year, but Marcell Ozuna has been making their lives a little easier. The veteran slugger has been locked in over the last season-and-a-half, recording 40 homers last year and notching 18 already in 2024.

Ozuna is one of the batters we hinted at earlier whose xSLG (.670) looks a bit more encouraging than Henderson's mark on the year. He's seeing the ball incredibly well, barreling balls up at the fourth-best rate in the league (18.6%). He's even walking at his highest rate since the shortened 2020 season, which could be another indicator of how well he's playing right now.

We've seen Ozuna do this over a full season as recently as last year, but we're also just two years removed from his rough 2021 and 2022 seasons, which made it look as though he was on his way out of the league. He's set up to push for the top spot on the leaderboards this year if Judge and Henderson slow down, but he'll need to keep up his own torrid pace in the meantime.

Shohei Ohtani (+1400)

In our last check-in, Shohei Ohtani was the favorite to lead the league in home runs. Now, his +1400 odds are tied for the third-shortest to lead the league.

The two-time MVP was white hot to open the year but has cooled off slightly recently. He's still rocking an elite .947 OPS on the year but has just 2 homers and a .595 OPS mark over the last two weeks. There's still plenty of time for Ohtani to make up for this blip, but given that his minor slump has occurred at the same time as Judge's torrent of homers, it's understandable why the former frontrunner's odds have slipped.

That said, Ohtani does have some catching up to do now. His 15 homers put him 9 back from Judge's league-best 24 home run mark and are the fewest of any player with similar odds to take the crown this year. Fortunately, he won't have to bat against the New York Yankees' and Pittsburgh Pirates' elite starters every night for the rest of the season. Better days are certainly ahead.

Longshot: Nolan Gorman (+20000)

If you're looking for a sleeper candidate to join the ranks of the game's elite sluggers, Nolan Gorman might be worth a dart throw at his +20000 odds. He -- and the rest of the St. Louis Cardinals for that matter -- endured a brutally slow start to the year, but he has turned the corner lately and is up to 14 homers on the season. Over the last 30 days, Gorman has the 10th-best SLG (.622) in baseball.

Despite his slow start, Gorman has maintained an elite 17.6% barrel rate this season -- among qualified hitters, it's the eighth-best mark in the game and is just a hair behind Ozuna's (18.6%) and Ohtani's (18.1%) fourth- and sixth-ranked rates.

Gorman doesn't have Henderson's enviable resume, but he has shown improvements in each season since entering the league in 2021. The 24-year-old hit 14 homers as a rookie, jumped to 27 last year, and now is already at 14 again this year through 227 plate appearances. If he continues to grow and stays hot through the summer, it's not hard to picture a world where we see him as one of the league's premiere sluggers.

Of course, he's not perfect and sits as a longshot for a reason. He will need to do something about his 33.9% strikeout rate; it's hard to compete for the lead in a volume-based stat when that many of your plate appearances end in K's. But, Gorman is on a promising trajectory and isn't too far back on the home run leaderboards right now even after a slow start.


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