Odds to win NL MVP: Juan Soto sits alone as the favourite
The Padres had great expectations when they traded for Juan Soto, and now Soto is the NL MVP favourite entering the 2023 season. Photo by Matt Slocum/AP.

The first pitch of MLB's regular season is less than two weeks away, so it's a great time to scan the NL MVP odds.

The latest: The San Diego Padres didn't get everything they'd hoped for out of Juan Soto in 2022, but now they might have an MVP on their hands. Soto is the frontrunner right now to win NL MVP, with three other Padres on the board at 40-to-1 odds or better.

Let's take a look at the current NL MVP odds:

NL MVP odds

Check out the latest odds to win NL MVP. Click linked odds to add selection to your betslip.

PlayerOdds
Juan Soto+550
Mookie Betts+650
Ronald Acuna Jr.+850
Paul Goldschmidt+1,000
Freddie Freeman+1,100
Manny Machado+1,100
Austin Riley+1,200
Trea Turner+1,200
Nolan Arenado+1,400
Fernando Tatis Jr.+1,400
Pete Alonso+1,400
Matt Olson+2,200
Francisco Lindor+2,600
Xander Bogaerts+4,000
Kyle Schwarber+4,500
Ozzie Albies+5,000
Jazz Chisholm+5,000
Bryce Harper+5,000
Michael Harris II+5,000

MLB odds as of 1:20 p.m. ET on 03/19/23.

Best NL MVP odds

The favourite: Juan Soto (+550)

Awards markets are never as wide-open as in the offseason, so it makes sense to see some players bunched up at the top of this list.

Rising above them all is Soto, who's been nothing but excellent since breaking into the majors as a teenager in 2018. Still, last season was a bit of a step back by Soto's lofty standards.

Soto finished ninth in MVP voting in 2019, then fifth in 2020, and then second in 2021. Then he posted a career-low .853 OPS this past season — still excellent, but not MVP-calibre — and was left off the MVP ballot entirely.

The 24-year-old is known for having arguably the keenest eye in the majors, which has helped him lead the league in walks in consecutive seasons. But putting the ball in play is important too, and his 95th percentile expected slugging percentage (.501), per Baseball Savant, far exceeded reality (.452).

Perhaps some improved batted-ball luck is coming for Soto. That would certainly help his case, although a crowded Padres lineup (featuring four of the NL's top 14 MVP candidates) could work against him.

Other NL MVP choices

Best value: Paul Goldschmidt (+1,000)

It's been 10 years since anybody won back-to-back MVPs (Tigers' Miguel Cabrera), but Goldschmidt could have a run at it.

The ultra-durable first baseman has played 150-plus games in each of his past seven full seasons (as well as 58 of 60 games in 2020), and he's been consistently great.

Sure, his 180 OPS+ in 2022 was the high-water mark of his career, but Goldy has surpassed the 140 OPS+ threshold in five of his past six seasons. In that span, he's finished in the top-six of MVP voting four times — including last year's win.

Baseball Savant's park factors grade Busch Stadium as one of the most unfriendly offensive environments, but that clearly didn't bother Goldschmidt. In fact, his OPS at home (1.092) was markedly better than on the road (.877) last season.

Player to watch: Bryce Harper (+5,000)

A 50-to-1 shot on a two-time MVP sounds pretty interesting, but it's not without sizeable risk.

Harper was left off last year's ballot after only playing 99 games, and he'll miss some time this coming season while recovering from elbow surgery. That recovery time is unknown, but Philadelphia Inquirer's Alex Coffey reported that Harper should begin swinging a bat by around the end of March.

Last year, Harper proved he could play even while dealing with the elbow injury, as he spent 90 games as a designated hitter.

Hovering around the 100-game mark won't be good enough for MVP consideration, though, especially if most or all of those games are spent at DH. It'll be worthwhile to track Harper's offseason progress and see what his projected recovery timeline looks like.

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