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2023 NL MVP odds, predictions, picks: Soto favored in loaded field

For the third straight year, Juan Soto enters the MLB season as the favorite to win NL MVP.

This time, he has something to prove.

The 24-year-old was ahead of schedule when he finished in the top five in MVP voting in 2020 (fifth) and 2021 (second), but he posted career-worst numbers with the Nationals and Padres in 2022.

Oddsmakers are expecting a major bounce-back effort in 2023, pricing him as the clear favorite (+550) to win the award at BetMGM.

He’s dealing just ahead of fellow stars Mookie Betts (+900) and Ronald Acuna Jr. (+900), the only other players shorter than 10/1.

Reigning winner Paul Goldschmidt joins two of Soto’s current and former teammates, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Trea Turner, with 10/1 odds.

Here are the preseason odds to win NL MVP and a few of our favorite targets:

2023 NL MVP preseason betting odds

(via BetMGM)

Manny Machado (12/1)

Doesn’t it feel like we’re sleeping on Machado a bit here?

Yes, he’s priced among the favorites, but he’s coming off a second-place finish in which he led the NL in WAR (7.4) and finished third in OPS (.898) behind two of the last three MVP winners.

It marked the fourth time in Machado’s career that he’s finished in the top five in MVP voting – which includes a third-place finish in 2020 – and his sixth season with at least 30 home runs, which doesn’t include the shortened 2020 campaign when he finished third in homers (16).

Machado has the power and the elite defensive chops to make another run at this award, especially with the Padres taking aim at the Dodgers for the best record in the NL.

With Soto coming off a down year and Tatis’ candidacy hindered by an early suspension and lingering PED concerns, Machado is well-positioned to be the face of one of MLB’s best teams in 2023.

Manny Machado
Getty Images

Matt Olson (25/1)

Speaking of juggernauts, the Braves figure to be in the mix for the best record in the NL after winning 101 games a year ago.

And Olson could be at the center of it all.

The former Athletics star finished eighth in AL MVP voting before getting shipped to Atlanta, where his numbers dipped across the board as he aimed to replace franchise icon Freddie Freeman.

Still, even with a brutal September slump, he still clobbered 34 homers and 103 RBIs and posted his highest hard-hit rate (51%) in three years.

The MLB’s new shift ban should also greatly benefit Olson, who has lost the third-most hits to the shift (47) over the last three seasons.

All the ingredients are there for a massive breakthrough campaign for the 28-year-old star slugger.

Matt Olson
Getty Images

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Cody Bellinger (150/1)

Which version of Bellinger will we see this season: the one who hit 47 home runs in his award-winning 2019 campaign, or the one who’s hit just 41 home runs in three seasons since?

It’s far more likely that we see the latter, but a change of scenery should be good for the former NL MVP, who inked a big one-year deal with the Cubs this season.

He’ll also likely be another huge beneficiary of MLB’s shift ban, as the pull-heavy lefty was the ninth-most shifted hitter in 2022, with roughly 90 percent of his plate appearances coming against the shift.

There are obvious concerns under the hood for Bellinger, so this is more of a speculative play than a must-bet.

Still, at these odds, I’ll gladly take a shot on the former MVP winner finding his old form in a new locale.