With the first half of the 2021 MLB season in the books and currently sitting at the All-Star break, it is a good time to look at the MVP race in the National League. Before the season began, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts and Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto were the favorites to win NL MVP with +700 odds.
However, neither player has had an MVP-caliber season while Mets ace Jacob deGrom and San Diego Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. have both put together great first halves. Here, we’ll take a look at our favorite and sleeper to win the NL MVP award. All odds are courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
Favorite to win - Jacob deGrom (-110)
With the way deGrom is pitching this season for the Mets, it is hard to not give the MVP award to the best pitcher on the planet. The two-time NL Cy Young award winner is looking to become the second pitcher in the National League to win MVP in the last seven years. Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw won both MVP and Cy Young in 2014. In that season, Kershaw had a 21-3 record, 1.77 ERA, and produced 239 strikeouts in 198.1 IP.
Fast forward to deGrom, he’s on pace to have a lower ERA and more strikeouts than Kershaw. The 32-year-old is 7-2 with an ERA of 1.05 through 15 starts. He also has an NL-leading 146 strikeouts in 92 IP. Along with leading the National League in strikeouts, deGrom is leading the majors in K/9 (14.3) and WHIP (0.543). The next two starting pitchers that are close to deGrom in K/9 are Shane Bieber (12.9) and Freddy Peralta (12.4).
Dark horse/sleeper pick - Nick Castellanos (+3500)
As of right now, the dark horse/sleeper pick for the 2021 NL MVP award is none other than Cincinnati Reds outfielder Nick Castellanos. He and Reds teammate Jesse Winker are both having career seasons. Castellanos is slugging .331/.384/.585 with 18 HRs and 59 RBI. The veteran outfielder leads the NL in batting average (.331) and doubles (29).
The Reds are currently sitting 4.0 games behind the Brewers for first place in the NL Central and are 3.5 games behind the San Diego Padres for the second spot in the NL Wild Card. If the Reds end up making a push for the playoffs, it will likely be because of Castellanos and Winker.
NL MVP odds
Jacob deGrom, Mets: -110
Fernando Tatis, Jr., Padres: +120
Trea Turner, Nationals: +2500
Nick Castellanos, Reds: +3500
Nolan Arenado, Cardinals: +4500
Bryce Harper, Phillies: +4500
Justin Turner, Dodgers: +4500
Juan Soto, Nationals: +5000
Mookie Bets, Dodgers: +5000
Cody Bellinger, Dodgers: +5000
Freddie Freeman, Braves: +5000
Manny Machado, Padres: +5000
Kris Bryant, Cubs: +5000
Max Muncy, Dodgers: +5000
Corey Seager, Dodgers: +5500
Jesse Winker, Reds: +5500
J.T. Realmuto, Phillies: +6000
Pete Alonso, Mets: +6000
Christian Yelich, Brewers: +7000
Buster Posey, Giants: +8000
Trevor Story, Rockies: +8000
Ozzie Albies, Braves: +8000
Javier Baez, Cubs: +8000
Paul Goldschmidt, Cardinals: +8000
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