We are roughly a third of the way into the baseball season and the Los Angeles Dodgers are still the favorites to win the NL at +370. We are the first to agree L.A. has given no indication they can even with their division let alone the league they play in.
The offense ranks fourth in the NL, but is more effective on the road than at home, scoring 4.7 vs. 4.0. In taking the long view, on the presumption the Dodgers make the postseason, having Clayton Kershaw and Zack Grienke is great one-two combination, which makes them a threat. However, based on today’s MLB odds, this team is a bad bet to win the NL.
San Francisco has moved up into the second slot at +430 and deservedly so. The Giants are third in runs scored in the senior circuit and second in run prevention, leading to them having the finest run differential in their league. San Fran at this time is also far and away the best bet in the Majors and sage MLB baseball handicappers those making sports picks are using them frequently. The best value bet on the board.
Room with a View
Next in line is St. Louis and they have fallen to +450, as more and more questions are being raised about their offense. The Cardinals are scoring 3.7 runs a game and while their pitching has been solid in conceding just 3.6 RPG, based on the number of times St. Louis plates, the numbers say they have to hold the opposition to two runs a night, which is an awful lot to ask from your pitching staff.
Unless the offense comes to life or a trade is made to add punch, hard to back the Cards.
First Floor by the Pool
Washington and Atlanta have the same odds at +565 and the goal for each squad it would appear would be to win the NL East. This would preclude them from the wild card playoff game and enhance their chances of winning.
While it is easy to love the depth and overall pitching of the Braves, which is the best is the NL, outside of Justin Upton, Freddie Freeman and the one to two home runs Evan Gattis hits a week, Atlanta has no offensive potential and can be shutdown.
The Nationals are similar to Atlanta with a slightly better offense (4.0 vs. 3.5) and a pitching staff not quite as good (3.8 vs. 3.3). What Washington has going for them is they will get two bats back in the lineup with Ryan Zimmerman and Bryce Harper.
How effective Zimmerman can be, with word in the blog-world saying Zim could be playing three different positions a week to save his throwing shoulder but get his bat on the Nats lineup card. And as soon as Harper is done with his Gatorade treatments for his thumb (expected return is July), Washington could make a second half move.
We’ll Leave the Light On for You
There have recent questions about Milwaukee and their ability to continue to play at this level of performance. However, when you look at their weaker division and begin to understand they have a quality pitching staff and an offense that comes through when needed, the Brewers at +720 starts to have value.
What impresses me is Milwaukee is the only team other than San Francisco in the league which has a winning record in game outcomes by 1-run, 2-3 runs and 4 or more runs. This shows they have more than one way to win games. If the Brew Crew can make a trade for another bat in the lineup, the sportsbooks might be lowering their World Series odds even further.