NL MVP Award Odds Tracker & Top Contenders To Watch
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The National League Most Valuable Player Award has been given annually to the best player on the senior circuit since 1931. Outfielders have won five of the last eight NL MVPs, with a pitcher, first baseman and third baseman rounding out the recent honorees.
Atlanta Braves 1B Freddie Freeman was a near-unanimous 2020 NL MVP after leading the league in hits and runs. His teammate, Ronald Acuña Jr., has surfaced as the MLB betting favorite two months into the 2021 season.
NL MVP Odds
|Ronald Acuña Jr., Braves||+300|
|Fernando Tatis Jr., Padres||+450|
|Nolan Arenado, Rockies||+1200|
|Jacob deGrom, Mets||+1200|
|Mookie Betts, Dodgers||+1500|
|Bryce Harper, Phillies||+1500|
|Juan Soto, Nationals||+1500|
|Kris Bryant, Cubs||+1600|
|Freddie Freeman, Braves||+2000|
Odds via DraftKings and are accurate as of publication.
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Top NL MVP Contenders
Ronald Acuña Jr., Braves (+300, DraftKings)
Acuña's continued progression has gotten a turbo-boost this season. Just 23, he leads the National League with 15 home runs after 45 games. He’s on pace to hit 54 HR and drive in 115 runs. He’s also drawn 25 walks and scored 37 runs. Even though his teammate Freeman has fallen down the MLB odds board in the MVP race, the combination of the two atop the Braves’ lineup should give Acuña a boost down the stretch.
His 2021 pace is close to what the Braves right-fielder did in his last complete season: He led the league in runs scored and stolen bases, while hitting 41 homers with 101 RBIs in 2019. That’s an impressive and unique combination, and he did it at age 21. If you wanted solid odds on Acuña at the top sportsbooks, you’re too late. He opened the 2021 season on fire and hasn’t stopped burning. His odds have settled a bit in the past month, moving from +275 to +300. Still a good bet.
Fernando Tatis Jr., Padres (+450, DraftKings)
How good is this guy? After missing a total of 20 days due to injuries as of May 28, Tatis was the only player in the majors with more than 10 HR and 10 steals. In just 34 games, he’s swatted 13 home runs and driven in 30 runs. His average in May surged to .377 after he flailed away in April, hitting .246. If Tatis stays healthy for the rest of the season, he’s a threat to deliver 100 runs and 100 RBI, hit over .300, and post an OPS above 1.000.
Tatis took fourth in MVP voting in the short 2020 season. His 50 runs, 11 doubles, 17 HRs, 45 RBI and 11 steals all ranked higher than LA Dodger and eventual NL MVP runner-up Mookie Betts. Tatis was rewarded in the offseason with a massive new contract and a host of new teammates. They have helped Tatis see pitches and score runs. Understandably, his MLB futures odds to win the MVP award shortened significantly in May from +800 to +450. The race between Tatis and Acuña for this award could go down to the final weekend of the season. In an MVP toss-up contest, Tatis’ fielding issues could be a liability. Wagering on both is a terrific play and could return a nice payout considering their twin dominance in the race.
CHECK OUT: AL MVP Award Odds & Top Contenders
Jacob deGrom, Mets (+1200, DraftKings)
Bob Gibson was the last pitcher to win the NL MVP award, back in 1968. But deGrom has risen to legit contender status with his remarkable performances, even though he missed a pair of starts in May due to injury. In April, while his record was only 2-2, he owned a minuscule 0.59 ERA with 59 strikeouts in only 35 innings, and a WHIP of just 0.57. In May, his ERA "ballooned" to 1.80, but he still fanned 15 batters in just 10 innings of work, as of May 28.
He is the strong favorite in the NL Cy Young Award chase and has entered lofty territory here. Some voters won’t consider a pitcher for MVP, but deGrom will be hard to ignore if he keeps it up.
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Mookie Betts, Dodgers (+1500, DraftKings)
Betts led the Dodgers to their first World Series in 32 years in 2020 after leaving the Boston Red Sox. He finished second in MVP voting with an all-around game that didn’t lead the league in any category. He won AL MVP honors in 2018 after he and the Red Sox won a franchise-record 108 games in the regular season.
The Dodgers have performed to expectations in 2021. They’re battling the Padres and Giants for first place in the NL West, and for bragging rights for best record in MLB. Betts, however, has underperformed, and is hitting just .247 with only 5 HR and 17 RBI after 45 games. Given his past performance and the depth of the Dodgers’ lineup, he’s always a solid value play, especially at +1500 with many sports betting sites.
Juan Soto, Nationals (+1500, DraftKings)
Soto, 22, has already won a World Series, and emerged as one of the game’s best young stars. His numbers this season have been disappointing (4 HR, 16 RBI and .286 after 126 at-bats in 36 games) in the wake of his performance in 2020. Unfortunately for Soto, the Nationals are in last place in the tight NL East.
Soto finished second in Rookie of the Year voting in 2018, was ninth in MVP voting in 2019, and last season took fifth in voting, winning the Silver Slugger Award at outfield, while leading the league in average, on-base percentage, slugging and OPS. It’s unlikely we'll see anything close to that this year from Soto, and he’s one to avoid here, even at this price.
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NL MVP FAQs
Who Won the NL MVP in 2020?
Braves 1B Freddie Freeman earned 28 of 30 first-place votes to win his first NL MVP. Mookie Betts of the Dodgers was second, then Padres teammates Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr. finished third and fourth.
Who Has Won The Most MVP Awards?
Barry Bonds won a whopping seven NL MVPs, including four in a row from 2001-2004. Nobody else has won more than three. Stan Musial, Roy Campanella, Mike Schmidt and Albert Pujols won three apiece.
Who Is The NL MVP Favorite?
Braves star Ronald Acuna Jr. is the new favorite thanks to a dynamite opening two months in 2021.
Who Votes For The NL MVP?
Thirty members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, one representing each team, vote for their top 10 in each league.
When Is the NL MVP Award Announced?
The NL MVP is awarded roughly two weeks after the World Series ends.