Jacob deGrom New York Mets
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Injuries have dealt a blow to many of the contenders for the NL MVP. So who might win it?

Tab Bamford

We’re now into August and the pennant races are heating up. As are the battles for some individual awards.

In the American League, it appears the Most Valuable Player Award is Shohei Ohtani’s to lose, though Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is going to give him some pressure.

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The National League race for the MVP is wide open, however.

When you look at the odds to win the award at DraftKings Sportsbook, many of the top candidates have dealt with injuries or other circumstances this year.

  1. Fernando Tatis Jr. — -125 — injured
  2. Trea Turner — +475 — traded to the Dodgers
  3. Max Muncy — +475
  4. Freddie Freeman — +800
  5. Bryce Harper — +1800
  6. Jacob deGrom — +3500 — injured
  7. Juan Soto — +5000
  8. Nicholas Castellanos — +5000
  9. Manny Machado — +5000
  10. Brandon Crawford — +6000

From that top ten list, you can almost as easily make a case against each candidate as you can make one for them.

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Muncy plays on a team loaded with stars (although many of them have been hurt or underperformed this year) and Turner is now his teammate.

Freeman got off to a terribly slow start.

Soto’s team sold everything at the deadline, leaving him alone to carry the load in Washington.

Castellanos missed significant time with an injury.

Machado doesn’t have the best odds on the Padres’ roster, but there is some question whether or not Tatis will be able to return this year from his current injury.

And deGrom’s injuries may cost him a shot at both the MVP and the National League Cy Young Award.

So who should you bet for the National League’s MVP Award this year? Here are our favorites.

 

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Brandon Crawford, Giants
Odds: +6000

Crawford ranks in the top 20 in the National League in OBP (.363), Slugging (.533) and OPS (.896). His 4.1 WAR to date ranks sixth in the NL behind Tatis, Muncy, Soto, Bryan Reynolds of the Pirates and Machado.

His 18 home runs are only three shy of his career high, which he set in 2015.

Perhaps most importantly, Crawford leads the San Francisco Giants in every major offensive category. He’s been the best bat in the lineup of the team with the best record in the National League this year.

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Add to that him being an exceptional defensive shortstop and Crawford may be the sleeper worth throwing a few dollars at given his current odds.

 

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Bryce Harper, Phillies
Odds: +1800

The biggest thing Harper brings to the table that Crawford doesn’t is name recognition. If the Phillies win the National League East, Harper might find himself picking up some individual hardware as well.

Harper is currently a 3.0 WAR player with a strong .979 OPS — which ranks third in the National League behind Tatis (injured) and Ronald Acuna Jr (injured).

He isn’t putting up the big offensive numbers many might expect from one of the most hyped players in recent history — 18 home runs, 42 RBI — but his season has been good enough that a division crown might be enough to enhance his consideration.

 

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Max Muncy, Dodgers
Odds: +475

For all of the reasons we stated above about Muncy maybe losing some attention because of the big names in the Dodgers’ lineup, his performance this year has been strong enough that it’s time to consider him a legit MVP favorite.

His .952 OPS ranks fifth in the National League. His 4.9 WAR to date ranks second (behind Tatis). And he’s one of four qualifying NL batters with an OBP over .400 (Soto, Harper and Jonathan India of the Reds are the others).

Cody Bellinger and Corey Seager have missed more than half of the season to date. Mookie Betts has been banged up all year as well, and his numbers reflect that. The addition of Trea Turner helps the lineup, but could also boost Muncy’s production.

He’s the front-runner in regards to odds in our top three and might be the best bet to win the NL MVP this season.

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