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Favorites, sleepers, and longshots for the 2021 NL MVP award

Former AL MVP Mookie Betts is tied with Juan Soto for the best odds to win the NL MVP award this season.

Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts (50) hits a home run during the eighth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays during game six of the 2020 World Series at Globe Life Field. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

With pitchers and catcher set to report next week for Spring Training, it is a great time to look at who has the best chance of winning the 2021 NL MVP award. Freddie Freeman won the award last season after slashing .341/.462/.640 with 13 home runs and 53 RBI. Freeman is trying to win the award for the second-straight year, which has only been accomplished twice in the past 21 years in the National League — by Albert Pujols and Barry Bonds.

We will look at a favorite, sleeper, and long shot for the 2021 NL MVP award. All odds are courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.

Favorite

Mookie Betts

NL MVP odds: +750

The Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder is tied with Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto for the best odds to win the MVP this season. In his first season with the Dodgers, Betts slashed .292/.366/.562 with 16 home runs and 39 RBI. The veteran outfielder finished second in the MVP race for the only second time in his career.

Betts has one MVP award on his resume with the Boston Red Sox in 2018. During that season, he slugged a career-high .346/.438/.640 with 32 home runs and 80 RBI. Betts was also a terror on the base pads with 30 stolen bases. Since he’s in the same lineup with Cody Bellinger, Betts might see his MVP votes split. But if he can crush 30 home runs this season and sport a high batting average, then the 27-year-old will be in the race.

Sleeper

Pete Alonso

NL MVP odds: +3300

Alonso had a tremendous rookie season in 2019, where he slashed .260/.358/.583 with 53 home runs and 120 RBI. Despite having 183 strikeouts, the power hitter won the NL Rookie of the Year award, was named to the All-Star game, and finished seventh in the NL MVP award voting.

However, the young first baseman took a step back last season at the plate. The Polar Bear struggled to the tune of .231/.326/.490 with 16 home runs and 35 RBI. While the 16 home runs weren’t bad, seeing Alonso’s batting average take a dip was not expected. However, he should be better this season as the New York Mets brought in both Francisco Lindor and James McCann.

Both players will be supreme upgrades in the lineup and might hopefully give Alonso better protection in the lineup. If New York wants to get back into the postseason, a lot of it will fall on the third-year first baseman.

Longshot

Rhys Hoskins

NL MVP odds: +4000

Just like Alonso, Hoskins struggled at the plate last season for the Philadelphia Phillies. Without him contributing to the lineup, it made life tougher for Bryce Harper, Didi Gregorius, and JT Realmuto.

Hoskins slugged .245/.384/.503 with 10 home runs and 26 RBI. While his batting average improved from 2019 (.226), the Phillies need the 27-year-old first baseman to bring it back up to the .250-.260 range. As a rookie in 2017, Hoskins slashed .259/.396/.618 with 18 home runs and 48 RBI. Now granted, it was small sample size of 50 games, but it was better than what we saw from him last season.

The Phillies are going to need Hoskins locked in at the plate, especially in the middle of the order where Harper and Realmuto will likely be. If opposing pitchers know that they can’t take a break when Hoskins is at the plate, it will make a significant difference.

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