While the numbers have not changed a great deal on the National League Futures betting odds, the play of several of the top contenders has and altered our perceptions looking ahead. San Francisco has face-planted, the Los Angeles Dodgers are playing up to skill level and Milwaukee keeping rolling along. Besides this trio, we also have a new long shot to consider for MLB picks.
Last month we questioned the validity of the Dodgers still being a preseason favorite, but sportsbooks have taught us the value of being patient and let the season unfold.
Since June 6, the Dodgers are 17-7(+9.60 units) and have caught San Francisco for the top spot in the NL West. The Dodgers offense and pitching has been sensational and they are the new leaders in run differential in the NL, with a dominant 19-9 record in games decided by four or more runs.
L.A. has five veteran starting pitchers who know how to win and the offense has stabilized. This is what baseball handicappers expected and are now receiving for a team that is +300 at 5Dimes sportsbook.
Room with a View
Washington has moved up to the second choice against the MLB odds to be NL champions at +410. There is much to like about the Nationals especially with Mr. Gatorade, Bryce Harper back in the fold.
It is hard to argue about the pitching, ranked in the Top 3 in most important categories, be it starting or relief pitchers. And injuries have held the offense back with them scoring just 4.04 runs a contest, yet an intangible seems to be missing.
Since May 20, only once have the Nationals just lost one game and immediately turned around and won the next day and that way back on June 1 and 2. You don’t see the mental toughness with this unit. With a complete squad and second half of the season remaining, Washington can certainly develop it, you just wonder if they will.
San Francisco has been in free-fall in dropping 15 of 19. Yes, they still are a +420 choice, but the offense has only scored more than four runs twice since June 17. The Giants were second in ERA in the NL and they have swiftly tumbled to sixth.
Teams go thru bad stretches, but how do you feel comfortable backing this club with a futures sports pick the way they are playing?
First Floor by the Pool
St. Louis (+500) and Atlanta (+825) are still in the mix and without question have the pitching to be a factor if they make the postseason. Nonetheless, they are two of the worst offensive teams in baseball and unless they make a trade to acquire another bat, it would seem foolish to back either of these teams with a wager.
Milwaukee on the other hand offers value at +700. The positives are five solid starting pitchers and while it is true if you broke them down as aces, No. 2 starters, No. 3 starters and so on, they would likely deserve to be no better than fifth in the senior circuit. Having Ryan Braun, Jonathon Lucroy, Carlos Gomez and Aramis Ramirez in the heart of the lineup is terrific, along with Jean Segura and Khris Davis, there is a reason this is the second-highest scoring offense in the NL and the best since the middle of May.
Definitely worth consideration.
We’ll Leave the Light On for You
When Matt Latos returned to the rotation for Cincinnati, this gave them five above average to very good starting pitchers. The thought at the time was if the offense would gel, the Reds could make a run and has that turned out to be prophetic.
Cincinnati is 7-1-1 in series since the end of May and is 20-11, good enough for them to nearly catch St. Louis for second place in the NL Central. The Reds have given themselves a great chance to win, holding the opposition to three or fewer runs in more than half those games.
Cincy is receiving a lot of production from Devin Mesoraco, Todd Frazier and Billy Hamilton and if Joey Votto and Jay Bruce return to form, the Reds at +2000 are an interesting bet.