We are nearly two months into the season and there is still value in revised MLB Futures. Here are our revised selections including some exact World Series matchups.
We are almost to the end of May and almost two months into the MLB season and now may be a good time to make some MLB Future wagers as we are just enough into the season to get an idea of what to expect over the rest of the year but it is still early enough to get some good value. This is an update of our MLB Future bets at the beginning of the year.
Before getting to our Future Odds selections from 5 Dimes, we shall begin by presenting our projected division winners for all six divisions. We will then make our official pick to win the National League, the American League and the World Series. Finally we will wrap things up with four exact World Series matchups all at nice odds, also offered at 5 Dimes. Obviously this will include the matchup between our two league winners, but we have other value matchups as well.
As of now, we are keeping the same three division winners in the National League that we picked before the season, although one of them will need to come from behind. On the other hand, we have revised all three of our division picks for the American League as well as our AL Pennant prediction, although as you will see we are fortunate to still be getting good odds with that pick.
Let us now begin with our predictions for all of the division winners.
National League East – Washington Nationals: We picked the Nationals to win this division and much more before the season and we are not backing off on any of those counts as you will see later. We get that Washington is off to a slow start at 19-17 and the Nationals still trail the upstart New York Mets in the division, but we do not see that continuing and the Washington charge may have begun with six wins in the last eight games as of this writing. Both Jordan Zimmermann and Stephen Strasburg are off to slow starts, but we have no doubt that each will get straightened out and join Max Scherzer, Doug Fister and Gio Gonzalez to form the best starting rotation in all of baseball.
National League Central – St. Louis Cardinals: As mentioned, we are not changing any of our preseason division picks in the National League but even we are surprised that the Cardinals have the best record in the Major Leagues right now as we thought that the Central Division was the toughest division to pick in the NL. We expect some regression from the Cardinals eventually as we do not expect St. Louis to end up leading the league in ERA as it is now with its amazing 2.69 mark. The offense has actually been a tad disappointing ranking 11th in runs scored with 4.47 per game, so look for an uptick there to compensate for the expected slight decline in the pitching.
National League West – Los Angeles Dodgers: A strong case can be made that the Dodgers have the best all around team in baseball, and we would have a hard time arguing against that. Our only knock is that the while the top two starters of three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke is as good a top two as there is in all of baseball, the starting rotation is not as deep as that of Washington. Still, this is a team that is currently fourth in the majors in ERA at 3.24 and second in runs scored with 5.24 per game, and amazingly the Dodgers have gone 22-12 with Kershaw sitting a just 1-2 right now and the disabled third starter Hyun-Jin Ryu yet to start a game!
American League East – New York Yankees: This is where things get interesting for us as we picked the Boston Red Sox to go from worst to first after finishing last in the division last season, but it is their bitter rivals the Yankees that have changed our minds with what looks like the best closer and set-up man combination in the bullpen in the league. Closer Andrew Miller (13 saves, none blown) and set-up man Dellin Betances (one save) have combined to pitch 36.2 innings without allowing a single earned run this season with 60 strikeouts and just 11 hits allowed! And let us not forget that Michael Pineda has thrust himself into the Cy Young conversation at 5-0 with a 2.72 ERA and an unheard to ratio of 54 strikeouts vs. three walks in 46.1 innings.
American League Central – Detroit Tigers: We did not expect the Kansas City Royals to repeat their magical season of last year, and they have proven us wrong so far by leading the division, albeit by just one game over the Tigers. However, we still feel that the suspect Kansas City starting rotation will be its downfall, although we now think that the Tigers will be the team overtaking them and not our preseason pick the Cleveland Indians, who are in last place nine games out. The Tigers are currently 12th in runs scored at 4.43 per game and 11th in ERA at 3.70 but we expect improvement in both areas and they are actually in great shape at just one game out with neither area getting fully going yet. Detroit is always going to hit and the season ending injury to closer Joe Nathan may have been a blessing in disguise as we have always felt Joakim Soria was better suited for the job. Also, with Justin Verlander yet to pitch this season recovering from a triceps strain, he should be stronger down the stretch.
American League West – Los Angeles Angels: We think we missed badly in this division with our selection of the Seattle Mariners to not only win the West but also win the pennant and advance to the World Series before the season. This is not to say that Seattle is out of it at 6½ games behind the upstart Astros, but we now see much more potential in the second place Angels, as we only feel they have one direction to go given a disappointing 17-17 start. The defending division champs have a nice rotation with Garrett Richards back and pitching nearly as well as he did last year until blowing out his knee. The problem has been an offense ranked 28th in the bigs in runs scored at 3.68 per game, but the Halos look too good on paper for that to continue.
Now that you have our division winners, we are ready to move on to our actual future plays on each league pennant and the World Series, as well as several suggested exact World Series matchups. Again note that all Future Odds are from 5 Dimes.
Washington Nationals to win National League (+360): We actually think this is a close call between the Nationals and the Dodgers, so close in fact that we are going with the bigger price of the two, which is Washington. The Nationals have the pitching to prevail in any short series with the best starting five in baseball, and keep in mind that the offense is fifth in the majors in runs scored at 4.72 per game with Bryce Harper boasting a huge 1.113 OPS.
New York Yankees to win American League (+675): The Yankees also have the pitching to win a short series and one of the best bullpens in baseball if not the best. The only question is will they score enough runs, which is an unusual concern for the Bronx Bombers, but the are holding their own so far ranking ninth in the majors with 4.58 runs per game despite a modest .249 batting average, thanks to ranking third in home runs with 44.
World Series Future
Washington Nationals to win World Series (+650): We think that whoever wins the National League will win the World Series this year as it would not surprise us at all if none of the three American League division winners get to even 90 wins this year. Thus this choice came down to the Nationals and Dodgers and this was an easy choice for us at the odds, not only because we already picked the Nationals to win the NL but also because they were our choice to win the World Series before the season at +600.
Exact World Series Matchups
Washington Nationals vs. New York Yankees (+3725): This is our actual predicted matchup from above and these lofty odds certainly make this worth a wager. These odds are helped by the Cardinals’ fast start and by the Tigers being such a popular team, but we see each of those clubs as just the third best team in their respective leagues at best.
Washington Nationals vs. Los Angeles Angels (+5300): In looking for a secondary matchup, we like the upside of the Angels in the American League and getting better than 50/1 odds on this seems like an overlay. We very nearly recommended a play on the Angels to win the American League above, but we felt the superior New York bullpen gave the Yankees better value. We do think that these odds are good enough though to throw the Angels into some exact matchups.
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. New York Yankees (+3050): So all we did with these four matchups was crisscross our top two choices from each league, and yet look at these marquee last two matchups that resulted! This particular matchup between the two biggest markets from each coast would have the TV networks salivating.
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Los Angeles Angels (+4350): And a Freeway Series would not be too shabby for the networks either, even if all of the ratings come from the west coast. The Dodgers are obviously the easier call, but with Richards making the Angel starting rotation deeper again, only the Halos’ batters performing up to their capabilities may be needed to possibly make this dream series a reality.