National League MVP Odds 2023: Betts Overtakes Acuna Jr. on Betting Board

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With Mookie Betts of the Los Angeles Dodgers playing crazy good baseball the past two and a half weeks, there’s a new man favored to win the National League’s Most Valuable Player award in 2023.

At least that’s according to the oddsboards at DraftKingsFanDuelBetMGM and PointsBet, among others with only five weeks remaining in the Major League Baseball season.

Betts, who appeared to be an afterthought only two weeks ago, leapfrogged Atlanta right fielder Ronald Acuna Jr., who had been the overwhelming choice to win the award virtually all summer. In fact, on Aug. 18, he was listed at -1900 (FanDuel).

Technically, they aren’t alone atop online betting sites. It just seems that way. The other ballplayers had better pick up their games down the stretch to close ground.

Among them are a pair of first basemen, LA’s Freddie Freeman and Atlanta’s Matt Olson, both of whom are also having outstanding seasons — but apparently not generating the same betting interest as Betts and Acuna. Freeman and Olson are listed third and fourth, respectively, on virtually all sites.

Well behind and with only a speck of hope to win the award are Chicago Cubs centerfielder Cody Bellinger and suddenly productive Phillies first baseman/DH Bryce Harper, both former league MVP winners. In the ultra-longshot mix is Miami second baseman Luis Arraez, the league’s batting leader.

Let’s take a look at our National League MVP odds.

Read more: AL MVP odds | AL Cy Young odds | NL Cy Young odds

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Odds for National League Most Valuable Player 2023

Favorites to Win National League MVP in 2023

Mookie Betts, Dodgers

It’s almost impossible to believe this deep into the season that less than two weeks ago Betts was available at +6000 (DraftKings), but his odds have shortened remarkably during a current 14-game stretch in which he’s had 11 outings with two-plus hits.

In that span, the right fielder/second baseman is hitting .554 with an on-base percentage of .597. Overall, he’s batting .315 with 35 homers, tied for fourth in the NL, and 93 RBIs, which places him third. That’s more homers and RBIs than he had in his AL Most Valuable Player season with Boston in 2018 (32/80).

2023 NL MVP Odds
Los Angeles Dodgers’ Mookie Betts hits a two-run homer against the Boston Red Sox on Sunday. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Perhaps best of all his Wins Against Replacement number is 7.4, far ahead of his nearest league rival. By comparison, runaway AL MVP favorite Shohei Ohtani of the LA Angels has a WAR of 5.9.

Betts is hitting in the clutch, too, with a .384 batting average with runners in scoring position for a Dodgers team well on their way to clinching the West Division by a wide margin.

So, what’s not to like? Perhaps it’s that he’s not as consistent as Acuna. Entering May, Betts was batting only .235. In an 11-game stretch to close out July, he hit only .205.

Although he could easily win the award the way he’s going, bettors these days might be reluctant to put money on an odds-on choice when they could have had the chance to cash in big had they pulled their wagering trigger a couple of weeks sooner.

Ronald Acuna Jr., Braves

With 28 homers and a league-best 59 stolen bases, Acuna is well on his way to becoming the founding member of the 30-homer/60-steal club, which has helped keep him atop the betting boards most of the year.

He’s made great strides from a devastating torn ACL in his right knee in mid-July of 2021 that cost him a chance to play for the Braves on their charge to the world title.

During his recovery period, which leaked into the 2022 season, he doubted he could return as the player he once was formerly. It turns he’s a lot like the player he once was, particularly the one in the 2019 season who launched 41 homers, drove in 101 runs, and stole 37 bases to finish fifth in MVP voting.

This year, in addition to his current .330 batting average, which is third best in the league, his on-base percentage of .413 is second best. Also, his WAR is 6.3, behind only Betts. All are career highs. And, of course, his steals total is 19 better than anyone else in the NL.

Now that online bettors can get Acuna at north of even money, he’s someone to consider again — especially those folks with deep pockets.

Freddie Freeman, Dodgers

Freeman, with 23 homers and 86 RBIs, owns the league’s second best batting average at .341, which was his mark in 2020 when he won league MVP honors while with Atlanta.

So far, so good.

But of late, Freeman’s power numbers have suffered. He hasn’t hit a homer in his past 19 games and has only 13 RBIs in August. By comparison, in July, he had seven long balls and knocked in 20 runs.

His MVP odds got as short as +400 on Aug. 13, but have lengthened since. For the sake of Freeman bettors, they had better hope Betts quits being Superman and returns to just being real good to share the limelight for LA’s success.

At these current odds, maybe just keep an eye on Freeman for now and make sure your figurative online wallet is tucked away until he starts ripping homers again.

Matt Olson, Braves

How can the league leader in home runs and RBIs have odds this long?

The problem is, ever since Olson temporarily overtook the Angels’ Ohtani for the MLB home run lead with 43 on Aug. 13, he’s gone 12 games without one, which explains in a big way why his odds have lengthened from +1800 two weeks ago. But it doesn’t explain how his number reached +12500.

He still has 16 more RBIs than anyone else with 112, which will open the eyes of voters for the award. But just like with LA’s Freeman, he’s being overshadowed by a teammate.

Unlike Freeman, he doesn’t have a glitzy batting average to lean on. He’s hitting only .272. No major leaguer who didn’t moonlight as a pitcher has won the award with an average that low since Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench in 1972 at .270. And in Bench’s case, his defense played a key role.

If Olson can start launching homers again, his odds no doubt will shorten. Thus, the gamble for Olson backers is whether to jump on a relatively empty bandwagon now or wait until it’s standing-room only.

Longer Shots to Win 2023 NL MVP

Cody Bellinger, Cubs

Bellinger, the 2019 league MVP who played for the Dodgers’ championship team, has been one of the Cubs’ vital cogs in their move up the standings, but the first baseman’s numbers are nowhere near what he had four years ago when he won the award (47 homers, 115 RBIs).

That’s in large part because over the course of this season he missed 41 games mostly because of a knee injury that put him on the injured list in the spring.

Bellinger, heralded by some analysts as the best offseason free-agent signing of the year, currently is fourth on the MLB batting chart with a .321 average, but his mark was .332 two weeks ago.

Although he has 20 homers and 75 RBIs, he hasn’t hit a home run his past eight games, and unless he somehow reaches the 30-homer, 100-RBI mark, his exploits probably won’t garner a “wow” from voters with the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

Can he turn it around down the stretch? The answer is yes if Sunday’s performance is an indication, when he drove in five runs in Chicago’s win over Pittsburgh. That was his best output in more than two years.

Bryce Harper, Phillies

Harper is the defending league MVP winner who spearheaded the Phillies’ run to the pennant in 2022.

He had an incredibly slow start — for him — to open this year after offseason elbow surgery cost him all of April. For the first three-plus months, he hit only five homers.

But since Aug. 5, he’s hitting .377 with an on-base percentage of .463. Better yet, he’s belted seven homers to go with 14 RBIs, as the Phillies enhanced their status atop the wild-card standings.

Although his chances to win the MVP are probably the same as Philadelphia’s at catching Atlanta in the East Division, maybe it would be worth a token bet for Philadelphia fans to make the home stretch of the season even more exciting.

Luis Arraez, Marlins

It’s time to put a toe tag on the MVP hopes of Miami’s second baseman.

Although he still leads the majors with a .351 batting average, he’s been hitting only .217 since Aug. 2 and hasn’t had a two-hit outing in two weeks.

This is the same guy who had three five-hit games in a 15-game stretch in June that had him front-and-center on highlight reels. At one point in late June, he was hitting .402.

2023 NL MVP Odds – FAQs

Who had the most stolen bases in a year they won the award?

Maury Wills had 104 for the Dodgers in 1962.

Who was the last player to win the award without having any steals?
Philadelphia’s Ryan Howard in 2006.
About the Author
Bob Christ

Bob Christ

Writer
Bob Christ, based in New Mexico, is a sports betting writer at Gaming Today. He has been a gaming writer (primarily for the NFL) for more than four decades, with his work appearing in publications and websites across North America. Christ is a big fan of the Arkansas Razorbacks, Philadelphia Eagles and Phillies, and the NHL's Winnipeg Jets.

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