Unlike the American League, the National League MVP race is still completely up for grabs. I know what you’re thinking. How can the AL MVP already be set in stone? We still have a whole second half to play Well, just look at the sportsbooks. They’re so high on Shohei Ohtani to repeat as AL MVP that no book is even offering even odds (+100 or better) on him. In fact, the best line you can find on Ohtani for AL MVP is -105 via FanDuel.

That’s not the case in the NL. Yes, Paul Goldschmidt is the consensus favorite, but some of the books are still offering at least even odds. What does that mean? That means Goldschmidt for the NL MVP is far from a lock, which isn’t currently the case with Ohtani in the AL. 

But just because Goldschmidt is the favorite, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put money on him to win NL MVP. There’s still really good value at +115 odds, which is where line currently stands via FanDuel. Goldschmidt currently leads all of baseball in OBP (.414), BABIP (.388), swing/take totals (42), and ranks first in the NL in runs (64), batting average (.330), OPS (1.004), SLG (.590), OPS (1.004) and OPS+ (186).

What does that exactly mean? Well, it means Goldschmidt is the most efficient hitter, is the best at getting on base and has the best chance of recording a hit anytime he makes contact. When you do all that, your numbers are going to be towards the top or at the top in pretty much every offensive category. That’s currently the case for Goldschmidt. Unless Goldschmidt gets hurt on just flat out sucks in the second half, he’s the most logical choice to put money on for NL MVP.

However, you shouldn’t wait. You should put money on Goldschmidt now because there’s a strong chance that line only gets worse from here on out. Goldschmidt homered in his only at-bat in Tuesday’s All-Star Game, letting the national audience know him being the best player in the first half was no fluke. Plus, the Cardinals have the easiest second-half schedule in the NL and are in a dogfight for the NL Central Title. Not to mention the protection in the lineup around Goldschmidt with Nolan Arenado, Juan Yepez and Tommy Edman only makes him better. Now you may be thinking why does having good hitters around him matter? Well, two reasons. One, teams can’t just walk him because there’s no other threat in the lineup. That’s not the case for someone like Juan Soto on the Nationals. Two, when guys are on base, and the Cardinals do a good job of that — eighth-best in baseball — you have no choice but to pitch to the guy at the plate. That only means better opportunities for Goldschmidt to do damage at the plate. 

Back to that easy second-half schedule, though. That’s gold for Goldschmidt bettors. You see what I did there? You better at least have cracked a smile. The crummier the team, the better chance Goldschmidt has of doing well at the plate. And with the Birds being in a battle for a playoff spot, Goldschmidt is likely going to play every day, even if that means occasionally DHing. That’s not the case for guys like Mookie Betts or Freddie Freeman on the Dodgers. They have such a big lead in the NL West that manager Dave Roberts can sit these guys to make sure they’re rested for the postseason. That’s not the case for Oliver Marmol and the Cardinals. 

There’s still a lot of season left, but Goldschmidt isn’t just the frontrunner for NL MVP, he offers the most value too. That’s why you need to put your money on Goldschmidt right now. 

The Play: Paul Goldschmidt for NL MVP (+115 odds via FanDuel)

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