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The 2019 National League MVP race was one of the best in recent memory. Cody Bellinger was hitting above .400 through his 45 games and finished with an impressive .305/.406/.629 slash line en route to MVP honors, but Christian Yelich actually finished with a higher OPS (1.100) and identical fWAR (7.8) in 26 fewer contests.
This year, the race could be even more contested with just 60 games to pull ahead of the pack. Unsurprisingly, Yelich (+600) and Bellinger (+800) are among the NL MVP favorites in 2020, though a short season means high upside if one of the long shots gets hot.
Here are the full odds for the award (shorter than 100-1) with our favorite values to win this year:
|Ronald Acuna Jr.||+600|
|Fernando Tatis Jr.||+1400|
I'm all for fading favorites in a bizarre year, but are we forgetting how ridiculous Bellinger was through the first 60 games last year? At that point, he was the clear leader in batting average (.376), OPS (1.195), and fWAR (4.1), and he ranked second in home runs (20), runs (50), and RBIs (53).
He slowed down in the second half of the year but still took home MVP honors, and it's not impossible for the 24-year-old to be even better this season. If you're going to bet a favorite, none offer more value than the young Dodgers star.
Remember when Bryant ran away with the 2016 MVP behind 39 homers, a 146 OPS+, and 7.9 fWAR? He might have been even better in 2017, but two letdown seasons since have left Bryant as an afterthought in the 2020 MVP discussion.
Injuries have hampered the Cubs All-Star over the past two campaigns, but he only needs to stay healthy for 60 games to make a compelling MVP case this year. The raw power is there, and his defensive prowess was key to his 2016 campaign. At 30-1, Bryant has real upside.
Few players are capable of heating up in a hurry quite like Bell, who had a .338/.398/.692 slash line with 18 homers and a league-leading 56 RBIs through his first 60 games of 2019. In the month of May - which was roughly half the length of the upcoming season - he led the majors in slugging (.797), home runs (12), and RBIs (31) while batting nearly .400 for the Pirates.
Bell has had cold stretches, too, so you can't be sure which player you're getting in 2020. But this is a winner-take-all award, so betting 55-1 on someone with the potential of MVP production is always a bet worth making.
C Jackson Cowart is a betting writer for theScore. He's an award-winning journalist with stops at The Charlotte Observer, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Times Herald-Record, and BetChicago. He's also a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, and his love of sweet tea is rivaled only by that of a juicy prop bet. Find him on Twitter @CJacksonCowart.