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Breaking down who is getting the love among NL MVP candidates in late February

The National League looks to be wide open for MVP talk. We pick apart what early bettors have taken thus far and what to look for.

Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper hits a single against the Washington Nationals during the first inning at Nationals Park. Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

It’s never too early to start making futures bets for MLB and people are already making their cases for the 2020 MVP in the National League. While the American League has a variety of names near the top of the list, the National League is cut and dry with who people like. Let’s take a look at how the breakdown looks with Spring Training out in full force and who people are betting on at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Three names lead in both handle and bets

Bryce Harper (+2200), Ronald Acuna Jr (+1000) and Pete Alonso (+3400) are the top three in both categories, in that order. While Harper is always in the MVP chatter, I was surprised to see him leading in both categories thus far. He had a great season in his Phillies debut, slashing .260/.372/.510 with 35 home runs, 114 RBI and a 4.6 WAR. Acuna was the name I was least surprised about as he has the best odds of the three. Acuna Jr in his sophomore season slashed .280/.365/.518 with 41 home runs, 101 RBI, 37 steals and a 5.6 WAR through 156 games. Acuna is someone looking to have a 40/40 season and by far has the ability to do so. Finally, the reigning Rookie of the Year Alonso belted a league-leading 53 home runs along with a .260/.358/.583 slash line and a 4.8 WAR.

Of these names, Acuna Jr would be my pick. He does it all for me and the prospect of chasing a 40/40 season certainly will create plenty of buzz around him. Harper has some really good odds and I totally understand the allure of wanting to take a flier on him but I think Acuna is the way to go here.

Odds on favorites feeling Dodger Blue

Over on the American League side, the favorites are getting plenty of love as Mike Trout and Aaron Judge are leading in both handle and bets taken. In the National League, Mookie Betts (+550) and Cody Bellinger (+700) are the favorites to win but aren’t getting as much love as you think. Bellinger and Betts are eighth and ninth, respectively. When it comes to number of bets, Bellinger sits at seventh while Betts rounds out the top 10.

Personally, I believe the National League is wide open for the taking at MVP. I’m honestly surprised Betts is the odds on favorite as I think his power will take a hit playing in the NL with the number of pitcher friendly ballparks he’ll play in, specifically Dodger Stadium. I think DKSB has a number of values to consider including.....

Young players getting plenty of attention

We’re seeing a lot of upcoming players in this list. Juan Soto (+1000), Fernando Tatis, Jr, (+2000), Alonso, and Acuna are all getting looked at. This is another big reason why I think the NL is wide open. Soto is someone I think people are sleeping on despite him being seventh in handle and sixth in bets. Through 150 games, he slashed .282/.401/.548 with 34 home runs, 110 RBI and a 4.8 WAR. Despite never playing in Triple-A, Soto has made the transition to the big leagues with ease and we’ve likely haven’t even seen the ceiling for his potential.

Tatis Jr is easily written off because he was sidelined for the season in early August. However, don’t let the injury sidetrack from the fact that he was RAKING before he went down. Through just 84 games, Tatis Jr slashed .317/.379/.590 with 22 home runs, 53 RBI, 16 stolen bases and 3.6 WAR for the Padres. Through a full season, Tatis was on pace for 42 home runs last season. That type of production, paired with his speed could really put up in the mix for MVP chatter. At the current odds you’re getting, I think you’d be crazy to not at least sprinkle something on who could be one of the more dynamic players in the National League.

NL MVP betting splits, Feb 28

Rank By Handle By Bets
Rank By Handle By Bets
1 Bryce Harper Bryce Harper
2 Ronald Acuna Jr Ronald Acuna Jr
3 Pete Alonso Pete Alonso
4 Christian Yelich Nolan Arenado
5 Jeff McNeil Christian Yelich
6 Trea Turner Juan Soto
7 Juan Soto Cody Bellinger
8 Cody Bellinger Fernando Tatís Jr.
9 Mookie Betts Javier Báez
10 Freddie Freeman Mookie Betts

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