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NL MVP race: How MLB season so far has impacted odds

We discuss the NL MVP race after the first three weeks of the 2023 regular season.

Ronald Acuna Jr. #13 of the Atlanta Braves scores against the Kansas City Royals during the third inning at Kauffman Stadium on April 16, 2023 in Kansas City, Missouri. Photo by Kyle Rivas/Getty Images

The 2023 MLB season is fully underway, as we are three weeks in and starting to get into a groove. Teams are getting accustomed to the new rules of the game, and the early dust of a new league year is settling. We have seen some hot starts, studs turned into duds and everything in between. With that in mind, even only three weeks in, let’s take a look at how the odds for the 2023 National League MVP Award at DraftKings Sportsbook have shifted.

Updated NL MVP odds as of April 17th

Ronald Acuna Jr. +300 Trea Turner +650 Juan Soto +800
Matt Olson +900 Fernando Tatis Jr. +1000 Mookie Betts +1000
Nolan Arenado +1000 Pete Alonso +1300 Manny Machado +1500
Austin Riley +1600 Freddie Freeman +1700 Francisco Lindor +1700

NL MVP race: Takeaways and best bets

Acuna has risen from the third-best odds to being the favorite. He is hitting .389 with seven stolen bases, five doubles, three home runs and 11 RBI. Acuna has helped the Atlanta Braves to an early 13-4 record, and his preseason hype seems to be coming to fruition. Turner remains in second place, albeit with slightly better odds than he started. Soto has fallen to third despite a brutal start at the plate. He does have 10 hits, with six of them being for extra bases, but he is hitting a dismal .164 at the time of this writing. Tatis remains top-five despite still being suspended.

The biggest boost to this point of the season has been Olson. He began the season outside of the top nine and has jumped to the fourth-best odds. Olson is hitting .299 with five doubles, five home runs, a triple and 17 RBI. His strikeout numbers are concerning, with 27 in 17 games, but if he can right that ship, he could continue moving up the ranks.

Best bet: Ronald Acuna Jr., RF, Atlanta Braves

Going chalk with his pick, but there is a reason. Acuna was a candidate for a 40/40 season, and he is currently playing well enough to get there. If he can stay healthy, there hasn’t been anything to suggest that Acuna can’t hold onto his lead. He bats leadoff for the Braves, has upside on the base paths and has plenty of power behind him to get him around the bases.

Does Acuna need a 40/40 season to win the award? Nope. Even if he were to turn in a 30/30 campaign or something close to it, there is a good chance that Acuna could find himself hoisting the award at the end of the year. He is as well-rounded of a player as they come, and the only things that seem like they could derail his momentum are an injury or an uncharacteristic slump.

Sleeper bet: Pete Alonso, 1B, New York Mets

Alright, let’s say that Acuna decides to be human this season and ends up falling in his production or plateaus at a worse clip than we have been seeing. While I think the MVP is going to be someone who shows off their power numbers and takes advantage of the bigger bases with increased stolen base numbers, if that doesn’t happen, Alonso is making a strong case to begin the year. He is hitting .292 with a .387 OBP and has eight home runs with 15 RBI. His long-ball numbers actually lead the NL at the time of this writing. Alonso is on pace for 76 home runs, but even if he ends up with 60ish and 130ish RBI? He would have just as good of a shot as anyone of winning the 2023 NL MVP Award.