From Longshot To Contender: Betts Vying To Overtake Acuna For NL MVP Odds

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Written By Eli Hershkovich on August 31, 2023

Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. was the cut-and-dried National League favorite among MLB MVP odds for much of the 2023 campaign. In early August, he was -1000 to win the award — equivalent to a 90.9% implied probability. However, that is no longer the case for some operators. Los Angeles Dodgers utility aficionado Mookie Betts is a smidge below Acuña at . Let’s examine his path to this point and whether he’ll remain atop the NL MVP odds board at the end of the regular season.

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NL MVP Odds: Betts’ journey

When the season began, Betts found himself at +900 to take home the award. That was tied with Acuña for the second-shortest odds in the market. Nevertheless, Acuña’s landmark year triggered his aforementioned rise. In total, he’s delivered 29 home runs — the most by a player in a 60-stole base season in MLB history, surpassing two seasons by Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson.

Understandably, Betts was priced as high as +4000 on Aug. 7. Since then, he’s tallied an absurd slash line of .461/.518/.750 with five home runs and 19 RBI. Tack that onto his gold-glove defense at second base, which is the third position he’s manned in 2023.

As of Monday, Betts briefly rose above Acuña before Monday, as Acuña became the first Braves player to record five RBI and two stolen bases in a single game since RBI was first tracked in 1920. His cheapest odds are currently .

Here’s how the two juxtapose one another when in an assortment of categories. For context, fWAR reveals FanGraphs’ evaluation of Wins Above Replacement, measuring a player’s overall value to a team by appraising how many wins he’s worth — compared to a replacement-level player. Meanwhile, bWAR is how Baseball Reference views that department.

As bettors will recognize, Betts displays a finer set of advanced metrics, especially defensively. Acuña has the edge in regards to average (.335), stolen bases (61), and runs scored (119), though.

Ronald Acuña Jr.
Mookie Betts7.

MLB Betting Odds: Braves at Dodgers

How Voters Are Reasoning

I asked a handful of MLB writers, who all will submit their appraisal by the season’s end. Acuña certainly represents the headliner on the surface, yet three of them would vote for Betts if their ballots were due Tuesday. His defensive prowess was the distinction for each of them.

The Dodgers’ recent push among World Series odds has also aided Betts’ case. Just like NL MVP odds, they’re directly below the Braves in this market at . Still, keep in mind that there’s plenty of time for Betts or Acuña to take a sizeable lead in the standings.

Similar to the table above, click on any of the following odds to bet. You can also price shop MLB odds on

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