3 Best MLB MVP Bets to Make at the Start of Spring Training (Back These Braves)

Could Ronald Acuna, Jr. win back to back MVPs?

Sep 22, 2023; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Atlanta Braves right fielder Ronald Acuna Jr.
Sep 22, 2023; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Atlanta Braves right fielder Ronald Acuna Jr. / Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

With Spring Training games underway now is the perfect time to look at MVP odds and determine if there's any value in making a bet before the regular season begins.

Value is in the eye of the bettor and what I may see as a value, you may see as wasting money and vice-versa.

Similarly, there are different methods to bettor madness. Some prefer to take favorites as, theoretically at least, they're most likely to hit.

Others prefer longer shots, knowing they're not as likely to hit, but when they do the payoff is greater.

I'm somewhere in the middle, preferring a little of both.

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With that in mind, here are three picks to consider for MVP as the 2024 MLB season barrels towards us.

American League MVP Best Bet

Yordan Alvarez +950

The sweet-swinging Cuban was relegated to 13th in the MVP voting last season, but has the potential for a .300 average and 40+ home runs if he can avoid injury.

Joe Espada is taking over for Dusty Baker and has hinted at a couple of things that have the potential to goose Alvarez's numbers higher than they've ever been.

First, Espada intends to play the slugger in left field more often and while I'll believe that when I see it, Alvarez was much more productive at the plate when he played in the field in 2023, slashing
.310/.422/.606 as opposed to .284/.398/.571 as a DH.

Secondly, Espada is considering batting Alvarez second in the lineup, behind Jose Altuve. If so, Alvarez will get a handful more at-bats, but more than that it won't be as easy to pitch around him with the three, four and five hitters following.

Alvarez is a big man that hits majestic home runs and does it in the biggest moments for a team that is likely to contend all season and that feeds into the MVP narrative.

Alvarez has to stay healthy, which is likely why he's at this number, but I expect different leadership in Houston's dugout to yield positive results in that regard.

National League MVP Best Bets

Ronald Acuna, Jr. +500

Winning back-to-back MVPs is rare, but so is Ronald Acuna, Jr.'s talent.

Acuna, Jr. slashed .337/.416/.596 with 41 home runs, 106 RBI, scored 149 runs and stole 73 bases last season and had a ridiculous 168 OPS+.

Those numbers will be hard to duplicate and even if Acuna comes close there may be a ho-hum effect because they are now "expected."

The Braves are going to win a lot and their offense will mash, which means we'll be seeing a ton of their highlights most nights with Acuna, Jr. right in the middle of them more often than not.

I didn't want to take the reigning National League MVP, but while there doesn't seem to be much value on this number Acuna, Jr. is just 26 years old and in his prime and he very well could run it back.

Matt Olson +1200

Olson had quite possibly the quietest 54 home run season in history, while knocking in 139 runs, coming in just behind Acuna, Jr. with a 162 OPS+ and finishing fourth in the MVP balloting.

A small caveat is that Olson's 2023 numbers were well beyond his career 162-game averages, so it's possible it was a "career year" and he'll come back to earth in 2024.

On the other hand, outside of the last two seasons, Olson's career was spent in Oakland with all that entails lineup and mentality-wise.

In Atlanta, he's surrounded by protection and there'll be plenty of runners on base for RBI opportunities.

There's also this: In an era where players sit out for seemingly trivial reasons, Olson plays every day, having played in all 324 regular season games in his time in Atlanta.

Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.