2023 MLB MVP Odds, Sleeper, Distance Betting, Expert Picks

by Edward Agros
fox sports mlb betting analyst

Even with a 162-game schedule, baseball never ceases to surprise, especially when it comes to the MVP award.

In 2018, hardly anyone expected Christian Yelich to hit 25 home runs during the second half of the season on his way to National League MVP.

Or that 33-year-old first baseman Jose Abreu can string together a 22-game hitting streak and capture 2020 American League MVP honors.

As volatile as baseball may be, we are still tasked with figuring out who are the best players in this upcoming MLB season, specifically for betting purposes.

We’ve already looked at MVP favorites in this spot, but are there players who might be worth a few bucks? Let’s analyze, courtesy of Fox Bet.

First National League:

Ronald Acuna Jr., atlanta braves: +1000 (Bet $10 to win a total of $110,

Some may have forgotten that Acuña had a late start to the season to recover from his ACL tear. Not being fully healthy, for example, could explain why his sprint speed went from 29.4 ft/s in 2021 (a top-25 speed) to 28.5 ft/s last season.

Acuna was also unlucky, hitting just 15 home runs, although his average runout speed of 91.2 mph was in the 86th percentile among MLB sluggers.

We know that Acuna is in a good place of health now. Eventually, he played for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic and finished the tournament with a .286 on-base percentage and three stolen bases. Combine that with arguably the best arm in the outfield to eliminate runners, and Acuña now has the best chance of his career to win MVP honors.

peter alonso, New York Mets: +1600 (Bet $10 to win $170,

The first baseman is heading toward his peak season—the 28-year-old is coming off his best offensive season in terms of weighted on-base average compared to the rest of MLB (.366, or the 92nd percentile), and, if you believe such things, If so, this is one of the few elite Mets hitters without a huge contract. Perhaps he still has something to prove during his one-year deal that avoided arbitration.

Alonso will have as much power as any slugger this season. Isolated power is like a slugging percentage, but only takes into account extra-base hits. Expected Isolated Power (xISO) looks at exit velocity and launch angle to calculate the likelihood that contact made will result in an additional hit. In 2022, Alonso was ranked fifth in the NL in xISO (.227). If that power turns into consistent home runs, he will be in MVP talk by the end of the season.

Now for the American League:

Jose Ramirez, cleveland patron: +1500 (Bet $10 to win a total of $160,

First, here’s a refresher on the new rules in baseball this season. In addition to the pitch clock, the bases are larger (15 inches square to 18 inches square), and defensive variations are prohibited (two infielders must be on either side of second base).

Two types of players should benefit from these changes: left-handed hitters and speedsters. As defenses against left-handed players more often, there will be larger gaps in the field. With larger bases, faster runners are more likely to reach first base on ground balls and successfully steal once they are aboard.

Ramirez meets both criteria. The Guardians’ third baseman drew a team-high 175 balls last season (second most in MLB). Some of those pulled balls should become base hits. Also, among third basemen, Ramírez ranked sixth in sprint speed (28.5 ft/s). Expect the already capable hitter to make huge strides this season.

josh abreu, Houston Astros: +6000 (Bet $10 to win a total of $610,

And now we’ve come full circle. The former MVP has some of the longest odds on the board, but now he’s in a new spot in Houston, where sluggers always seem to find their swing.

Aside from the story of a slightly older player getting back in shape, the new Astros first baseman still has plenty of power. One thing to keep in mind when betting on the future is to get players who have been unlucky in the first season, assuming that next season’s fortunes will turn in the other direction.

When it comes to expected weighted base average, Abreu was in the top 70 in terms of negative differential (-0.012) in 2022. In other words, physical factors such as his runout speed and launch angle suggested that he would have a .373. , xwOBA, but his actual wOBA was .361. Often that imbalance turns the other way the next season. If that holds true for Abreu, he could end up as one of the top sluggers and collect another MVP honor.

It’s worth noting that I believe Shohei Ohtani will win this year’s AL MVP award (+220 on Fox Bet, bet $10 to win $32 total). But if he doesn’t, Ramirez and Abreu are solid value plays on those numbers. I would bet the most on Ohtani and the low on Ramirez and Abreu so that each outcome is a net gain.

For the NL, there may be other dark horses on the board, but Acuña and Alonso are great places to start.

Edward Agros is a sports analytics broadcaster/writer, sports betting analyst, data scientist, and assistant professor of statistics at Pepperdine University. These passions inspired him to create cold brew. Edward previously worked in local television, most notably at the Fox affiliate in Dallas, where he covered the Rangers, Cowboys and high school football. follow him TeaWhite @edwithsports,

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