The 2023 MLB season is just around the corner with Spring Training games starting this weekend. While we’re still months away from the World Series, we already looked at the best value bets for the World Series and best bets for the AL MVP so today we’ll turn our attention to the NL MVP.
Last year, Paul Goldschmidt won the award, taking 22 of a possible 30 first-place votes. The St. Louis Cardinals’ first baseman led the league in slugging percentage and OPS while hitting .317 with 35 home runs, 115 RBI, and 106 runs scored in an impressive year. He managed to best second-place finisher Manny Machado, who had just seven first-place votes, and teammate Nolan Arenado, who had the final first-place vote.
With Goldschmidt currently having just the 6th-bets odds to capture the NL MVP, we might be looking at a new winner, so it’s time to parse through the NL MVP odds below to help us determine which bets could be profitable for you in a few months’ time.
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2023 NL MVP Odds
|Player||Team||Odds to win|
|Ronald Acuña Jr.||Braves||+950|
Odds courtesy of Draftkings Sportsbook, click here to see up-to-date odds.
Juan Soto (+500) was an NL MVP favorite last year but didn’t meet expectations in half a season with the Nationals before also falling short in San Diego. Even with his struggles, we know Soto will get on base a ton. He had a league-high 20.3% walk rate while also hitting 27 home runs, and registering a 145 wRC+ (weighted runs created plus). His other selling point is hitting in the middle of one of the best lineups in baseball, which should help with runs and RBI.
However, I can’t bet on Soto as the favorite here. Moving to Petco Park was a major downgrade for him, and he hit just .236 with six home runs in 52 games after the trade. I expect him to improve on that but the new park will sap some of that power. Soto is potentially too patient for his own good when it comes to these awards because his ability to draw free passes limits his counting stats which can hurt the resume for awards like this.
I’d much rather place an early bet on Mookie Betts (+900). The odds are long on Betts because he has been banged up pretty regularly since 2019. However, he has the same odds as a player we know will miss 20+ games due to suspension, so I’m not entirely sure that makes sense. Betts hits near the top of a great lineup and is a near-lock for 100-plus runs scored. If he pairs that with 30+ home runs and 90+ RBIs while playing elite defense on perhaps the best team in the NL, then it’s easy to see an argument that he takes home this award.
Fernando Tatīs Jr. (+900) is the player I mentioned above, and I want no part of betting on him here. Yes, he is tremendously talented; however, he will start the year on a PED suspension, which will definitely hurt him in the eyes of voters, and then also has multiple wrist injuries in the past two years that he has not had surgery to clean up, as he did with his shoulder. Given that he’s an injury risk and already missing games and also on a team that has three contenders for this award so they could steal votes from one another, I’m passing.
My favorite bet among these top contenders is Ronald Acuña Jr (+950). The Braves outfielder was solid in his first year back from ACL surgery, but certainly not his old self. Still, he stole 29 bases, which tells us that he feels good about the stability in his knee and he’s now had a full offseason to get healthy and rebuild his strength. He is fully capable of putting together a 30-30 season since he did it in 2019 and will hit in the middle of the order against last year’s NL East champions.
A fully healthy Acuña Jr. would be up there with Soto, so I’ll take the discount here.
Paul Goldschmidt (+1300) is the defending NL MVP, so he deserves to be discussed, but I don’t think you can bet on him. There hasn’t been a player to win consecutive MLB MVP awards since Miguel Cabrera in 2012-’13. Goldschmidt is now 35 years old, so I can’t bank on him repeating what he did last year
Trea Turner (+1300) is an intriguing option now that he is with the Phillies and playing in Citizens Bank Park. Last year, Turner slashed .298/.343/.466 over 708 plate appearances with 21 home runs, 27 stolen bases, 101 runs scored, and 100 RBI last season. The new stolen base rules in MLB could push him closer to 40 and he hits in a park that could boost his power as well. If Turner is able to keep the Phillies competitive until Bryce Harper returns mid-season that will help the narrative around his value and give him a chance to steal the NL MVP as a long shot
Pete Alonso (+1500) is another long shot that has one elite tool that could propel him up this board: power. Alonso is not the defender many of these players are and doesn’t have the speed or batting average to be near the top of leaderboards, but there is a world in which he pops 50 home runs for a Mets team that wins the NL East. If he can do that while also hitting .270 again, there is a shot he steals this award.
Francisco Lindor (+2500) is another New York Met we can think about putting some money on. The shortstop led his position in fWAR in 2022 and also hit batting .270 with 26 home runs, 12 stolen bases, and 107 RBI. The new stolen base rules might help him push closer to 20 in 2023, and if Lindor is able to put together a 20/20 season while playing gold glove-caliber defense while hitting in the middle of the lineup on a World Series contend, that’s the type of season that takes home NL MVP.
The odds clearly suggest he’s a long shot, so I wouldn’t be placing any big bets on him, but he’s my favorite option at +2000 or longer.