MLB Betting: National League Schedule Strength Analysis

Doug Upstone

Saturday, January 30, 2016 8:11 PM GMT

Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016 8:11 PM GMT

With the Chicago Cubs rather strong favorites to win their first World Series since 1908, the earth could come off its axis in late October. However, that's another story for those betting baseball.

For now, will concern ourselves with what is happening the first month of the season and delve into who might have the easiest or most difficult schedules in the National League.

We already have completed a look at the American League and when making MLB picks in April, a lot of strange things occur, which is why what you see at first is not always how the final standings look, especially with scheduling.

 

Favorable Schedules for Division Partners
The New York Mets were quite a surprise in 2015, not only winning the division, but making it all the way to the World Series. Washington was the biggest disappointment from a year ago, projected to win 96 games and coming in at 83-79 and missing the playoffs.

Both clubs play in the meager NL East where the other three teams combined to lose 285 games last season. While they might not be as bad as this past year, chances are they will not be dramatically improved and with the schedule-makers making April primarily division matchups for all teams, this should work to both the Mets and Nationals advantage.

After a rematch with Kansas City for two games to start the season, the NL champions have in order, home series with Philadelphia and Miami, at Cleveland, the Phillies and Atlanta, before back home for three games with Cincinnati. In that batch, only the Indians were over .500 at 81-80, making the Mets a solid play against the MLB odds.

Washington has a very similar slate, with home and home series with Phillies, Marlins and Braves and three home games with Minnesota, who was 83-79 this past season.

 

Arizona and Cincinnati Could Have Early Season Issues
Arizona at this time is still picked third in the NL West, but they sure appeared to have picked up ground on both the Dodgers and Giants with their off-season moves. The Diamondbacks start and finish to April does not look the problem, taking on Colorado on both occasions, but it is what is in between which is cause for alarm.

The D-Backs have the Cubs four times (at least at home) in their second series of the year and venture on the road to face division rivals L.A., San Francisco and San Diego for 10 total tilts. Upon returning to the desert, next is a seven-game homestand with Pittsburgh (3) and St. Louis (4). For a club wanting to start fast, this could be tall order.

Having finished 64-98, Cincinnati is in complete rebuild mode. The Reds might still move a few of their remaining assets before opening day, but at least should be competitive against similar foes like Philadelphia and Colorado, when they clash in the first month of season. Otherwise, the Reds losses start mounting almost immediately taking on the Pittsburgh and the Cubs at Great American Ballpark and venturing to see places like Wrigley Field, Busch Stadium, along with visits to the Mets and Pirates. Cincy starts in last place and stays there.

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