After looking at the AL yesterday, I want to focus on the three non-wildcard teams vying for NL pennant. The odds have been moving a bit but I think there is still value out there.
MLB odds makers have come out with the Dodgers as the most likely champion at +175 with the Cardinals at +285, and Mets at +350. These are all pitch heavy teams but I think I have narrowed down the value on the best team to take for one of your MLB picks. All odds here can found at BetOnline.
Los Angeles Dodgers +175
With two of the top three pitchers in the NL as your frontline starters you have to like the Dodgers chances to win the pennant. The question has been who will be the third guy and the Dodgers have settled on Brett Anderson who has been decent with a 3.69 ERA and 1.33 WHIP. They have the best starting rotation going into the playoffs I think without much question. But you have to score to win and outside of Adrian Gonzalez there isn't really anyone in the lineup that other teams should be wary of. Still, they have guys that have been here before and an overall solid pedigree o playoff experience. Is it really out of the realm of possibilities that deGrom and/or Syndergaard come into L.A. and pitch a gem and get back to New York reclaiming home field advantage (which may or may not be a plus)? Still, they lead the major leagues in errors per game which tells us you will have to earn every run against them. At less than 2-1 odds you better be very confident that the Dodgers are going to support their stellar dynamic duo.
St. Louis Cardinals +285
Waiting for the winner of the Cubs/Pirates is the team with the best record in baseball. The machine just finds a way to win no matter the circumstance or injury, yet we still don't give them the nod as the favorite to win the pennant? With Molina looking to gut it out these Cardinals might get a real inspirational and leadership boost. At the plate they remind of the Royals, nothing that screams at you, "Oh my gosh not this guy" but a consistent flow of good hitters that work the count and are really clutch. I mean Matt Carpenter leads the team in homeruns at 28...again that is Matt Carpenter who hit a total of 25 his previous three seasons. Pitching wise losing Carlos Martinez hurt but they still have some solid guys that have been in this position in Wacha, Lackey, and Lynn... and don't forget Jaime Garcia. With a bullpen ERA of 2.82, second best in the league, they should be fine late into games. The chemistry and intangibles are all there.
New York Mets +350
They might not be amazing, but here they are and I don't think they will go quietly against the Dodgers. The do have some guys at the plate that can swing the lumber in Granderson, Duda, and Murphy. With David Wright back and the emergence of Yoenis Cespedes they should come in confident against the Dodgers no matter who is on the mound. The issue has been though at home where they are scoring the lowest amount of runs per game out of any playoff team and hit a league worst .233 batting average. With a pretty decent counterpunch to the Dodgers starters with already mentioned deGrom, Syndergaard, and Matt Harvey. They have enough in the bullpen with batters hitting just (oddly enough) .233 against them this season (first in the NL). At the end of the day there is pretty good value here, but if Kershaw and Greinke pitch like they have all season they won't move on, period.
For my NL pennant MLB pick I am going to back the Cardinals at +285. Some injuries have effected them but you can get almost 3-1 odds on the best record in the major leagues. They have enough talent and a ton of chemistry to get back to the World Series.
MLB Pick for NL Pennant: Cardinals +285