- Sportsbooks list Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger at a season-best -240 to win NL MVP
- Reigning MVP Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers is second at +180
- Is Bellinger, who leads the NL in WAR, home runs and total bases, the best bet at short odds?
Back in May, Cody Bellinger and Christian Yelich reduced the battle for the National MVP Award to a two-horse race. As they enter the season’s stretch run, Bellinger is threatening to pull away in the NL MVP odds.
Sportsbooks have released their updated NL MVP betting market, and the Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman/outfielder is listed as the -240 favorite, the lowest odds assigned to him all season long.
2019-20 NL MVP Odds
|Cody Bellinger (Dodgers)||+300|
|Christian Yelich (Brewers)||+550|
|Freddie Freeman (Braves)||+4500|
|Nolan Arenado (Rockies)||+5500|
|Jeff McNeil (Mets)||+5500|
|Anthony Rendon (Nationals)||+5550|
|Field (Any Other Player)||+1300|
*Odds taken on 08/23/19.
Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Yelich is the second betting choice at +180.
Bellinger Beating the Pants off Everyone
Already at 100 RBI and with a league-leading 42 homers, Bellinger is taking most of the NL’s top hitters to the woodshed. He’s also on top in total bases (299) and tied for the league lead with 70 extra-base hits.
You could say that he’s beating the pants off the competition – and himself, as it turns out.
Cody Bellinger's 100 RBI are a career high.
His pants? A career low. pic.twitter.com/p8Nb6eM1FF
— Cut4 (@Cut4) August 21, 2019
During Wednesday’s 16-3 drubbing of the Toronto Blue Jays, Bellinger reached triple digits in RBI and ran right out of his pants while trying to leg out a triple.
Bellinger on the WAR-Path
One other category where Bellinger tops the charts, one which could prove to be the difference-making number, is in wins above replacement.
He owns the best position-player WAR in the NL at 8.0. Yelich (6.0) is a distant second.
Why is that important? Firstly, it’s a vital sabermetric tool that measures the overall contribution of a player to his team by calculating how many additional wins he’s helped achieve for them during the season (compared to a replacement-level player).
Secondly, those who win the WAR category win the MVP.
In 2018, Yelich (7.6) led all position players in WAR. In 2017, it was Giancarlo Stanton (7.9) who topped that list. Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs (7.4) led in 2016 and Bryce Harper (10.0) was the leader in 2015.
You know what else they all had in common? Each player was voted the NL MVP.
Yelich Seeks to Turn Two
Winning an MVP award is hard. Winning two in a row is astonishing. Since 2005, just one NL player has managed to do so – Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals in 2008-09 – and it took a monster year for him to repeat.
During the 2009 season, Pujols led the NL in home runs (47), runs (124), total bases (374), on-base percentage (.443), slugging percentage (.658), and OPS (1.101). And yes, his 9.7 WAR led all NL position players.
Yelich is enjoying an outstanding season. He leads the league in four offensive departments – slugging percentage (.693), OPS (1.117), batting average (333,) and on-base percentage (.424).
It’s very impressive, but a tad less impressive than the year that Bellinger is producing.
Unless your numbers absolutely obliterate the competition, such as Stanton’s 59 homers, 132 RBI and .631 slugging percentage for the 77-85 Marlins in 2017, a team’s overall win/loss record is another measurable applied in MVP balloting.
Yelich and the Brewers are fighting for a Wild Card position and are currently losing that battle. Bellinger’s Dodgers own baseball’s best record.
In an informal poll of MLB.com beat reporters taken earlier this week, Bellinger received 29 of 32 votes for NL MVP. Yelich got the other three.
Somewhat surprisingly, the player who finished third – albeit a distant third – in the voting was Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. Some sportsbooks aren’t even offering odds on Acuna.
The NL MVP is Bellinger’s and -240 is not too steep a price to pay.
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