The Los Angeles Dodgers were the sportsbooks choice to be National League champions and nothing has changed as they still are, now at +260. The Dodgers are floundering around .500 and are in third place in the NL West, not exactly lofty surrounding for a team with such high expectations.
Veteran Dodger watchers and MLB baseball handicappers even back in spring training noticed this team was playing on cruise control and that attitude has not dissipated.
"I think there should be a sense of urgency every day, to be honest with you," the skipper Don Mattingly said. "I think that good teams are going to come to play every day. I’ve said it probably a thousand times that anything that’s happened behind us right now, there’s just not a damn thing we can do about it.
"To me, you always look at it like today could be the start of us winning 10 in a row. Or today could be the start of us being hot, playing .700 baseball for the next two months.” It bears watching to see if the Dodgers players have a change in mindset.
Another club which is stuck in neutral is St. Louis (+350), who has yet to see the kind of offensive numbers those making MLB picks are used to. As I have talked about a couple times here at SBR in articles and videos, I’m not 100 percent sold on the Cardinals everyday lineup, seeing players who have low batting and on-base percentages who stall potential rally’s. The Redbirds still have the highest ceiling in the NL Central; it’s just do they reach it.
Room with a View
The San Francisco Giants (+450) are back and have established themselves as true contenders for the third time in five years. While the structure of San Francisco remains the same in counting on pitching, defense, baseball intelligence and playing harder than their opponents, those placing bets on sports picks have noted the change in offensive style. The previous two seasons San Fran was 14th and last in home runs in the NL, but this contingent is second behind Colorado, which allows them to build leads instead of fighting for every win.
First Floor by the Pool
Both Washington (+500) and Atlanta (+700) figured to move up as the season wears on, but have been erratic and unreliable.
The Nationals are without Ryan Zimmerman, Bryce Harper and Adam LaRoche, three players who were supposed to be in the heart of their batting order and instead are taking up space on the DL and the offense is lethargic.
The Braves are showing tiny signs of finding themselves on offense, however, sweeping the Cubs almost doesn’t count and they are still 29th in runs scored in baseball (3.2 per game). Fortunately, their pitching has been so good, if they can reach four runs a night on average, they start beating the MLB odds continually and become more of a factor.
One team nobody figured to be in this group was Milwaukee (+900). While the long term prospects are below all the aforementioned teams on this list, because of outstanding pitching and clutch hitting, the Brew Crew is 17-7 in games decided by three or fewer runs.
We’ll Leave the Light On for You
Other than Colorado (+1500), no other NL team even comes close to looking like a threat. The Rockies can climb the ladder if they can narrow the gap in home/road scoring dichotomy of 7.7 vs. 4.2.