2021 NL MVP Futures Bets: Best Picks & Sleepers for the upcoming season. As opposed to the American League MVP choices I outlined here, the National League lacks a clear-cut MVP favorite, resulting in four players with shorter than +1000 odds to take home the MVP hardware. I find the sleeper betting less enticing than their AL counterparts, leading to a pair of the top-four betting options getting the nod as my top NL MVP picks.
2021 NL MVP Futures Bets
2021 National League MVP Odds
- Juan Soto, OF, Washington Nationals (+750)
- Mookie Betts, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers (+800)
- Cody Bellinger, 1B/OF, Los Angeles Dodgers (+800)
- Fernando Tatis Jr., SS, San Diego Padres (+850)
- Ronald Acuna Jr., OF, Atlanta Braves (+1000)
- Christian Yelich, OF, Milwaukee Brewers (+1200)
- Nolan Arenado, 3B, St. Louis Cardinals (+1200)
- Freddie Freeman, 1B, Atlanta Braves (+1200)
- Francisco Lindor, SS, New York Mets (+1200)
- Bryce Harper, OF, Philadephia Phillies (+1500)
- Corey Seager, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers (+1500)
It’s a loaded group of betting favorites for NL MVP with numerous former award winners. Mookie Betts (AL MVP 2018), Cody Bellinger (NL MVP 2019), Christian Yelich (NL MVP 2018), Freddie Freeman (NL MVP 2020), and Bryce Harper (NL MVP 2015) have all won MVP awards.
The depth of high-quality players in the NL creates value across the board, including my forthcoming favorite picks.
2021 NL MVP Bet Picks
Juan Soto, OF, Washington Nationals (+750)
Speaking of offensive stalwarts, Juan Soto is the best hitter in baseball.
He boasted a 201 wRC+ last year that was 14 points clear of the second-highest mark, 187, posted by 2020 NL MVP Freddie Freeman. Soto’s jaw-dropping offensive stats are backed by drool-inducing Statcast numbers, ranking third in barrels per plate appearance percentage (11.7) and tied for this in flyball/line-drive exit velocity (99.5 mph). The precocious outfielder’s gaudy batted-ball data resulted in the highest xwOBA (.451).
He’s the betting favorite for the NL MVP, but the odds aren’t too short to wager on.
Fernando Tatis Jr., SS, San Diego Padres (+850)
Fernando Tatis Jr. followed up an electrifying rookie campaign with an elite sophomore season. He tied for 20th among qualified hitters with a 149 wRC+, finished sixth in stolen bases (11), and tied for second in Outs Above Average. The 22-year-old shortstop’s excellence in all aspects of the game resulted in him finishing fourth in FanGraphs’ measure of Wins Above Replacement (WAR) at 2.9 WAR.
Tatis Jhas untapped offensive upside, as evidenced by his batted-ball data. He led the way in barrels per plate appearance percentage (12.5%), finished second in flyball/line-drive exit velocity (100.2 mph), and ranked seventh in xwOBA (.404), a mark 16 points higher than his .386 wOBA. Tatis Jr. has the fourth-shortest odds to win the NL MVP award, but, as is the case with Soto, the odds aren’t too short to wager on.
Manny Machado, 3B, San Diego Padres (+2000)
As great as Tatis Jr. is, teammate Manny Machado finished ahead of him in NL MVP voting last year, ranking third, behind Freeman and Betts. Further, Tatis tallied a higher WAR at FanGraphs, but Machado bested him in WAR at Baseball Reference.
The 28-year-old third baseman is an above-average defender per Outs Above Average and his bat’s elite. Machado’s 149 wRC+ was just a tick below Tatis Jr.’s 150 wRC+, and he’s one season removed from amassing a 141 wRC+ while playing all 162 games in 2018.
He’s an iron man, missing no more than six games in a season dating back to 2014. Machado’s wagering odds are out of whack with his talent level, making him easily the top value MVP selection in the NL.