Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts has seen his odds to win the 2020 NL MVP award improve steadily over the last week. Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire.
- Two outfielders – Mookie Betts of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Juan Soto of the Washington Nationals – are +750 cofavorites to win the 2021 NL MVP Award
- Betts was named the AL MVP in 2018
- Reigning NL MVP Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves is opening at a betting line of +1200
When seeking to decipher who will be the 2021 NL MVP, there are noticeable trends that jump off the page.
For starters, the last 11 winners of the award were all first-time recipients. There hasn’t been a repeat MVP in the National League since Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals won back-to-back in 2008-09.
On the other hand, the last first-time winner to repeat the honor was a member of the Atlanta Braves, Dale Murphy in 1982-83. Could that bode well for Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, the reigning MVP?
The oddsmakers don’t see it that way. In the opening line for the 2021 NL MVP, it’s two outfielders who are listing as co-favorites . That would be Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts and Washington Nationals leftfielder Juan Soto. Both open at +750 in the 2021 NL MVP odds.
2021 NL MVP Odds
|Mookie Betts (Dodgers)||+750|
|Juan Soto (Nationals)||+750|
|Cody Bellinger (Dodgers)||+800|
|Fernando Tatis Jr (Padres)||+850|
|Ronald Acuna (Braves)||+1000|
|Nolan Arenado (Cardinals)||+1200|
|Freddie Freeman (Braves)||+1200|
|Francisco Lindor (Mets)||+1200|
|Christian Yelich (Brewers)||+1200|
|Bryce Harper (Phillies)||+1500|
|Corey Seager (Dodgers)||+1500|
|Manny Machado (Padres)||+2200|
|Trevor Story (Rockies)||+2500|
|Ozzie Albies (Braves)||+3000|
|Kris Bryant (Cubs)||+3000|
|Ketel Marte (Diamondbacks)||+3000|
|JT Realmuto (Phillies)||+3000|
|Anthony Rizzo (Cubs)||+3000|
|Pete Alonso (Mets)||+3300|
|Javier Baez (Cubs)||+3300|
|Paul Goldschmidt (Cardinals)||+3300|
|Michael Conforto (Mets)||+4000|
|Ian Happ (Cubs)||+4000|
|Rhys Hoskins (Phillies)||+4000|
|Max Muncy (Dodgers)||+4000|
|Charlie Blackmon (Rockies)||+5000|
|Alec Bohm (Phillies)||+5000|
|Paul DeJong (Cardinals)||+5000|
|Trent Grisham (Padres)||+5000|
|Jeff McNeil (Mets)||+5000|
|Eugenio Suarez (Reds)||+5000|
|Trea Turner (Nationals)||+5000|
|Ke’Bran Hayes (Pirates)||+7500|
|Gavin Lux (Dodgers)||+7500|
|Tommy Pham (Cardinals)||+7500|
|Mike Yastrzemski (Giants)||+7500|
|Josh Bell (Nationals)||+10000|
|Nicholas Castellanos (Reds)||+10000|
|Willson Contreras (Cubs)||+10000|
|Mike Moustakas (Reds)||+10000|
Odds as of Feb. 12th at DraftKings.
Neither Soto nor Betts has ever won the NL MVP Award.
The Best Betts?
Betts is considered by many to be the best all-around player in baseball today. There’s sound reasoning backing the basis for that assessment.
In 2018, when he won the AL MVP with the Boston Red Sox, Betts became the first player in MLB history to win the MVP, Silver Slugger, Gold Glove, batting title, and World Series in the same season.
Last season, Betts posted the best WAR (3.6) in the NL. He was sixth in offensive WAR (2.6) and seventh in defensive WAR (0.8). Betts and Manny Machado of the San Diego Padres were the only players to crack the top 10 in both categories.
Only one player has earned MVP honors in both the NL and AL. That was Frank Robinson.
Is He The Juan?
Checking the offensive leaderboards for the 2020 NL season, Soto’s name shows up atop more categories than any other player.
He was the leader in batting average (.351), on-base percentage (.490), slugging (.695), OPS (1.185), and offensive winning percentage (.880).
The respect the league has for Soto is evident by the fact that he was issued a league-leading 12 intentional walks.
Only Freeman (3.2) showed a better offensive WAR than Soto (3.1).
The chalk doesn’t always write the story in the MVP race. Last season, Freeman’s opening odds were +2500.
Nolan Arenado (+1200) led the NL in defensive WAR (1.7) last season. If his presence in the heart of their lineup propels the St. Louis Cardinals to a division title, he could be worth a play.
Atlanta’s Ronald Acuna (+1000) contributes significantly in just about every category. The last time teammates won back-to-back NL MVPs was Philly’s Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins (2006-07).
Best Bet: Mookie Betts (+750)
An industry veteran, Bob literally taught the course on the history of sports at Elder College. He has worked as a Sports Columnist for Postmedia, appeared as a guest on several radio stations, was the Vice President of the Society For International Hockey Research in Ontario, and written 25 books.