MLB Awards: Will Mookie Betts or Ronald Acuna Jr. Win the 2023 NL MVP?

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Michael Savio
USA Legal Betting


  • Ronald Acuna Jr is currently favored over Mookie Betts
  • Acuna is the first player to hit 30 home runs and steal 60 bases in one season
  • Betts posted a .455 batting average, 11 home runs, and 30 RBIs last month

With just one month to go, the 2023 NL MVP race is down to just two players. Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. has been the betting favorite for the majority of the season. Still, a late push by Dodgers' outfielder Mookie Betts has made the MVP award anything but certain.

Below, we will explore how we got to this point in the race and make the case for both to win. If you want to make some money betting on the NL MVP race, we have you covered!

How the NL MVP Race Became so Close

The NL MVP race seemed over in July, with Acuna playing at a historic pace. Few players can match the young star's production, as he ranks fourth in batting average, ninth in home runs, eighteenth in RBIs, fourth in OPS, and first in stolen bases. Acuna also benefited from playing for a Braves team that has looked like the best in baseball.

That all changed in August, as former MVP Mookie Betts went on a tear. Betts posted a .455 batting average, 11 home runs, and 30 RBIs last month, and he now ranks in the top ten of each category. As a result of his play, the Dodgers won a lot of games and now have a chance to overtake Atlanta for the NL's top seed.

The Case for Ronald Acuna Jr

Odds to Win 2023 NL MVP 

At just 25 years old, Acuna has established himself as a superstar. The right fielder has been the league's most dangerous hitter since opening day, and he has now become the youngest player to have 150 home runs and 150 stolen bases. That alone will sway MVP voters, but Acuna also set a single-season record by becoming the first player to have at least 30 home runs and 60 stolen bases in a season.

While the odds are still close, Acuna's historical stats will give him a significant advantage. MVP voters have shown they will reward those feats in the past, and chances are they will do so again this year. Acuna's consistency will also give him an edge over Betts, who wasn't great to begin the season.

As of now, Acuna should have the MVP locked up, but we still have a month to play. Though the team has their division title locked up, he will need to continue to produce at the same high level. If he can finish the month with an average over .330 and good home run and stolen base totals, this close MVP race will be over.

The Case for Mookie Betts

Odds to Win 2023 NL MVP 

Betts underwhelmed in April, but he has been improving each month since. August was his best, boosting his case to win the 2023 NL MVP. We shared his impressive stats above, and the fact that they were linked to a monster month for LA show just how valuable he is. It could be enough to overcome Acuna's historic season if the Dodgers' superstar can put up a similar month in September. 

If Betts is going to overtake Acuna, he will need to post another great month. His August surge means the outfielder could now finish in the top five of the league in batting average, home runs, RBIs, and OPS. That is the kind of production that would rival Acuna's, and it would make it very hard for MVP voters to ignore. 

The biggest knock on Betts MVP's resume is that he wasn't great to begin the season. He boosted his numbers to MVP levels in August, but the slow start means his margin for error is minimal. We know Betts has the talent to close the season strong, but even a small slump could be enough to cost him the award.

Michael is an avid sports fan and a veteran bettor from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He learned the trade from his grandfather in Las Vegas as a kid. As an adult, Michael started picking games for a small sports betting site and has built it into a career. His experience allows him to provide tips and information to help other bettors improve their game. Michael cheers for all Wisconsin pro teams, the Arizona State Sun Devils (his alma mater), and the Ottawa Senators. He specializes in baseball betting but has extensive experience in football, basketball, and hockey. When he isn’t pouring over stats, he’s spending time with his two young children or hiking and enjoying the outdoors.