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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 months of the 2023 regular season.

Ronald Acuna Jr. of the Atlanta Braves reacts after a walk during the fifth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Truist Park on June 26, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Hard as it is to believe, we’re nearly halfway through the 2023 MLB season. The sample size isn’t so small now, meaning we can say with a bit more confidence which breakouts are for real and which slow starts may not be much of a fluke after all. The landscape has shifted quite a bit over the past few weeks — Luis Arraez is making a real run at .400, Juan Soto has caught fire, Pete Alonso’s season has been derailed by a wrist injury and Corbin Carroll has emerged as one of the game’s brightest young stars — and the awards race markets have responded accordingly.

So, just like we did at the beginning of June, let’s celebrate the start of June with a look at how the past month has impacted the AL MVP odds over at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Updated NL MVP odds as of Tuesday, June 27

Ronald Acuna Jr. -145 Corbin Carroll +500 Freddie Freeman +700
Mookie Betts +2500 Luis Arraez +2500 Juan Soto +2800
Fernando Tatis Jr. +3000 Pete Alonso +4000 Paul Goldschmidt +5000
Matt Olson +5000 Sean Murphy +5000 Manny Machado +10000

NL MVP race: Takeaways and best bets

Ronald Acuna Jr., Atlanta Braves

Yes, the prohibitive favorite is still the smart money at this point. Assuming he stays healthy, Acuna Jr. is on pace to put up the first 35/70 season in MLB history, and the fact is that he deserves to be favored even more heavily than his -145 odds suggest.

He leads the league in OPS and WAR, and that’s with Statcast pegging him as among the most unlucky hitters in the league. Carroll feels like his only other real competition, and while the D-backs rookie is going to be a superstar for years to come, he’s likely due for some regression, especially in the power department — with a ground-ball rate approaching 50%, he’s going to have a hard time keeping his SLG competitive with Acuna down the stretch. No one else is in Acuna’s stratosphere as an offensive player, either because they’ve yet to put it together this year (Tatis Jr., Machado) or because they don’t have the all-around impact that Acuna has between his power, speed and defense (Olson, Alonso, Goldschmidt, Freeman, Arraez). Everyone, that is, save for ...

Juan Soto, San Diego Padres

It’s going to take something historic to keep Acuna from claiming this award, and if there’s one guy in the field capable of going on that kind of run, it’s Soto. When he gets hot, it’s like nothing else in baseball, and Soto’s been on a heater for nearly two months now, with a 1.027 OPS since the beginning of May. If he keeps that up, he could wind up catching Acuna in the triple-slash stats, which could be enough. Of course, he needs the his Padres teammates to wake up and start making a push toward the postseason, and even then he won’t be able to match Acuna’s impact on the bases or in the outfield. But if Acuna falls off his pace, Soto’s the best bet to catch him at very friendly odds.