Before the season even began, the Atlanta Braves outfielder, Ronald Acuña Jr., was a heavy favorite to win the National League MVP. By the All-Star break, Acuña had solidified himself as the odds-on favorite to win the award with -330 odds (per FanDuel). But as of Monday, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts has become the favorite with -140 odds. With just a little over a month of the 2023 season remaining, can Acuña take back what was deemed his early on? Or will the Dodgers take from the Braves once again?

Mookie Betts' blazing hot month of August

August is typically the hottest month of the summer season. That certainly was the case for Betts. In 107 plate appearances in August, Betts has 45 hits, 10 doubles, eight home runs, 25 RBIs, and is hitting an impressive .464. Is there any wonder he's become the favorite to win the NL MVP now?

Betts hasn't been putting up quite those numbers all season, but he's certainly been doing typical Mookie Betts things. Here are his numbers for the year: 152-for-483, .315 average, 36 doubles, 35 home runs, 93 RBIs, 10 stolen bases, .407 OBP, .611 slugging, 1.018 OPS, 7.4 WAR.

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Ronald Acuña Jr. — the catalyst for the Braves this season

The Braves have been the best team in baseball for most of the season. Their current 84-45 record is due to their loaded roster, including their leadoff man, Acuña. There's no doubt that from the top to the bottom of the Braves' lineup, there's a wealth of talent and skilled hitters. Their league-leading 244 home runs certainly emphasize that. But Acuña has been the constant for the Braves this season, the most consistent player on the team who can do it all — from hitting home runs to getting base hits, and then stealing every base afterward.

Acuña's month of August wasn't nearly as hot as Betts', but it's still not one to be overlooked by any means. In 118 plate appearances, Acuña has 33 hits, four doubles, two triples, four home runs, 13 RBIs, and is hitting .320. Oh, and he has eight stolen bases, which have been a huge part of his game this year.

Here are his numbers for the season: 171-for-518, .330 average, 30 doubles, 28 home runs, 74 RBIs, 59 stolen bases, .413 OBP, .562 slugging, .975 OPS, 6.3 WAR.

How Ronald Acuña Jr. will take back the MVP from Mookie Betts

As the regular season inches closer to its conclusion, the Braves and Dodgers have been two of the best teams in the league. Over the last few seasons, the NL side of the playoffs seems like it has come down to the Braves and Dodgers, who either face each other or must be overcome by other teams to reach the World Series. We could very well see this series in the playoffs in October, but the Braves and Dodgers still have one series left in Los Angeles before concluding their regular season series.

On Monday, the Braves will begin a three-game series with the Colorado Rockies, but after that, they will head to Los Angeles to face the Dodgers in a four-game series, giving this weekend's series major implications for the rest of the season. These two teams are never shy about putting on a show. Every time they play in a series, whether in Atlanta or Los Angeles, it feels like playoff baseball. Add to that the top four NL MVP favorites between both teams — Acuña, Betts, Matt Olson, and Freddie Freeman — and this is a recipe for a must-see series.

Back in May, the Dodgers took the first series from the Braves, 2-1 in Atlanta. While a regular season series loss isn't necessarily detrimental for the Braves at this point, this is still a significant series for Atlanta. If nothing else, it's to prove they can hang with the Dodgers again, as they did back in 2021 when they beat them in the NLCS and then went on to win the World Series.

For Acuña, however, this series could mean a lot. MVP voters will be watching this series closely to see how Acuña and Betts can possibly outplay one another. Even though there's still a month of play left after this series for both teams, watching Acuña and Betts go head-to-head might be the best way to choose between them when voting takes place who is the rightful holder of the NL MVP award.

Dodger Stadium is never an easy place to play, which will only add to the intensity of the moment. If Acuña wants to solidify himself as the rightful heir to the NL MVP, he'll need to outperform Betts on his home turf, and that's much easier said than done.