Who is the favorite to win NL MVP? Ronald Acuña Jr., Mookie Betts lead the way

The battle is heating up as the final month of the 2023 season gets underway

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The Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers have dominated the National League this season.

So, it's only right that their best players are battling it out for league MVP.

For the Braves, outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. and first baseman Matt Olson have carried the load for the highest-scoring offense in baseball. The Dodgers are close behind, though, largely thanks to contributions from outfielder Mookie Betts and first baseman Freddie Freeman at the top of their batting order.

Here's a full breakdown of the 2023 NL MVP race as the final month of the season gets underway:

Who are the candidates to win NL MVP in 2023?

The NL MVP battle is essentially down to four players: Acuña and Olson from the Braves and Betts and Freeman from the Dodgers.

Early in the season, Acuña appeared to be running away with the award. His gaudy statistics -- both as a power hitter and a baserunner -- combined with the Braves' strong record made him an obvious choice. But his hold on the award was loosened in August as Betts and the Dodgers heated up, even after Acuña created the 30-60 club with a grand slam on Aug. 31 against Betts' squad.

Betts, the 2018 AL MVP, hit .455 with 11 home runs, 30 RBIs and a 1.355 OPS in 28 games over the month, leading the Dodgers to a 24-5 record. Freeman was likewise crucial to the run as he hit .374 with four home runs and 16 RBIs in August.

Now, it all comes down to one final month for these four sluggers to make their case.

Ronald Acuña vs. Mookie Betts stats in 2023

The statistical margin between Acuña and Betts, the two favorites for the award, is razor thin. Here's how they stack up this season:

Ronald Acuña Jr.

  • 133 games played
  • .337 batting average
  • .419 on-base percentage
  • .574 slugging percentage
  • .992 on-base plus slugging
  • 120 runs scored
  • 31 doubles
  • 30 home runs
  • 83 RBIs
  • 70 walks
  • 62 stolen bases
  • 6.7 wins above replacement

Mookie Betts

  • 127 games played
  • .317 batting average
  • .411 on-base percentage
  • .622 slugging percentage
  • 1.034 on-base plus slugging
  • 116 runs scored
  • 36 doubles
  • 38 home runs
  • 98 RBIs
  • 77 walks
  • 10 stolen bases
  • 7.8 wins above replacement

What are the odds for 2023 NL MVP?

The odds to win NL MVP have drastically in the last month, according to our partner, PointsBet.

Acuña started the season at +1000, compared to +1200 for Betts. By June 1, Acuña's odds dropped to +110 while Betts' ballooned to +2000. Two months later on Aug. 1, Acuña was an overwhelming favorite at -750 with Betts falling to +2200.

Now, the script has flipped and the two are practically dead even to win the award.

Here are the full odds as of Aug. 31 (via PointsBet):

  • Ronald Acuña Jr., -130
  • Mookie Betts, +100
  • Freddie Freeman, +2500
  • Matt Olson, +10000

Editor's note: All odds are provided by our partner, PointsBet. PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links.

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