MLB MVP Betting Guide: Dodgers’ Betts, Ohtani or Freeman?


Feb 19, 2024

Ah, spring is in the air. Full rosters have reported to camp, Spring Training games are just days away, and the MLB futures board is ripe for the picking. 

Whatever bet you’re looking for, chances are you’ll find the Los Angeles Dodgers near the top of the list. LA spent billions of dollars this offseason, building (nay, buying) its way to another World Series Championship.

At +320, the Dodgers are betting favorites to claim this year’s championship, but familiar names are at the top of each category. Yoshinobu Yamamoto is +1500 to win the NL Cy Young and an even more tempting +180 to claim NL Rookie of the Year. Hell, even perennial underachiever Dave Roberts is +950 to win Manager of the Year

But the NL MVP is where you see the most robust Dodger representation. Three of the top four betting favorites will all be donning Dodger Blue this summer, with Mookie Betts (+650), Freddie Freeman (+900), and Shohei Ohtani (+950) all in the running.

With a lineup loaded with talent, we have to ask ourselves, which player will distinguish themselves as the best in the league?

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Shohei Ohtani +950

As you may have inferred from his betting price, the cards are stacked against Shohei Ohtani in the NL MVP race. The dual sensation elevated his MVP profile in the American League thanks to his dominant pitching and elite hitting. Now that he’s relegated to a designated hitter role, his chances of becoming just the second player to claim an MVP in both leagues are diminished. 

For Ohtani to have a legitimate shot at MVP, he’ll need to have a record-breaking offensive year. The home run record is out of reach, but a Triple Crown or new career benchmarks across the board could tilt the balance in Ohtani’s favor. 

Freddie Freeman +900

Arguably, the least appealing of the three candidates, Freddie Freeman, might be the best value candidate. Since landing in Los Angeles, the former MVP winner has an eye-popping .948 OPS, eclipsing 100 RBI and runs scored in both seasons. More importantly, Freeman has the best analytics profile of the trio. 

Last season, Freeman ended the campaign in the 100th percentile in sweet spot contact, 99th percentile in expected batting average, 98th percentile in expected slugging percentage, and expected weighted on-base average. 

Moreover, we’ve got Freeman earmarked for progression. Even though he’s been sensational, the Dodgers’ slugger has come up short of his expected benchmarks. Freeman’s actual slugging percentage of .540 is below his expected mark of .552. If he progresses as anticipated, there will be no denying Freeman his second MVP. 

Mookie Betts +650

The betting market has installed Betts as the second-most likely player to claim the award, putting him behind the favorite Ronald Acuna Jr. (+500); however, we expect that price to rise when the season starts. 

Betts had a phenomenal 2023, but bettors should anticipate regression this year. His .987 OPS was the second-highest mark of his career and over a 100-point jump from his previous two seasons, .873 and .854, respectively. 

That position is also reflected in his underlying metrics. In 2023, Betts overachieved relative to his expected slugging percentage (.563), posting an actual benchmark of .579. Further, his 163 OPS+ substantially deviated from his ten-year average of 138

Inevitably, Betts’ metrics will fall back into normal ranges, bringing his MVP chances down with it.

Final Thoughts

Ohtani’s MVP profile is dampened by acting as a designated hitter, while Betts is pegged for regression. That leaves Freeman as the preferred Dodgers candidate to hoist this year’s NL MVP award.

The Dodgers first baseman has been one of the top performers over the past couple of seasons. Additionally, his ceiling is higher than most people give him credit for. 

Bettors are lining up around the block to get a piece of the Dodgers in most futures markets. Even still, there’s value to be had, particularly in the NL MVP conversation.

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Thumbnail photo via Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

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