Don Mattingly’s Los Angeles Dodgers (47-47) are listed as even-money ‘chalk’ to take the division’s crown, despite being 2½ games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks (50-45).
Arizona follows at a price of plus 175, while the San Francisco Giants (43-51) and Colorado Rockies (46-50) are 6/1 and 15/2, respectively. The San Diego Padres (42-54) find themselves just 8½ games out, but are considered 22/1 long shots in the MLB odds.
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Dodgers, D-Backs – Should L.A. be favored?
Arizona went into the break going 3-1 in a home set with the Milwaukee Brewers, cashing as ‘chalk’ in the trio of wins. Diamondbacks slugger Paul Goldschmidt has cracked 21 homers, while leading the National League with 77 RBIs.
Arizona’s Patrick Corbin (2.35 ERA) has racked up 11 wins on the hill, placing just behind the NL’s top hurlers, Adam Wainwright and Jordan Zimmermann. The Diamondbacks have some depth in the bullpen, with relievers Heath Bell, J.J. Putz and Brad Ziegler sharing duties down the stretch.
Los Angeles struggled early in the year, but has put together a 17-5 mark in its last 22 games. The stretch included a three-game road sweep of Arizona, outscoring the D-backs by a combined margin of 19-7.
Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw has topped his National League rivals with a 1.98 ERA, while uniting with mate Hyun-Jin Ryu for a 15-9 mark. Kershaw and Co. come out of the break with a road trip in Washington and Toronto, while not facing any division foes until late August.
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Giants, Rockies, Padres – Can they make a move?
San Francisco saw a promising start dip in recent weeks, with a 5-15 record in the club’s last 20 contests. The span included a 1-5 road mark against the Dodgers and Rockies, held to a subpar 2.5 RPG.
Giants sluggers Hunter Pence and Buster Posey lead the club in long balls (14 HRs) and hitting (.325 BA), respectively. Bruce Bochy’s squad has a home set with Arizona right out of the second half’s gate this weekend, looking to gain some ground.
Colorado faced all four of its division rivals leading into the All-Star break, ending up with a 7-9 mark over the 16-game stretch. The Rockies begin a 10-date home stand this weekend, with visits looming from the Chicago Cubs, Miami Marlins and Milwaukee Brewers.
Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez leads the National League in homers (25 HRs), while veteran Michael Cuddyer has ranked third in hitting (.330 BA). The duo’s efforts at the plate have not offset the club’s subpar pitching, with sizable staff marks of a 4.19 ERA and 1.38 WHIP.
San Diego rounds out the rivals, plunging in the standings over its past month of action. Bud Black’s club suffered a 10-game losing streak, three weeks ago, while following the skid with a 2-4 mark at home against the Rockies and Giants.
San Diego’s Eric Stults tossed two straight wins in his latest pair of starts, while mate Jason Marquis has a 9-4 mark in 19 outings. Padres third baseman Chase Headley has logged a subpar year thus far, drilling just seven homers en route to a .229 BA.
Back the Giants and Rockies
I am splitting my MLB picks here, backing both the Giants and Rockies in future wagers. The pair of foes should have its chances down the stretch, with Arizona and Los Angeles leaving the back door open.
San Francisco has seven late matchups with the Dodgers in the season’s final three weeks, while facing fairly limited travel in September, thanks to meeting both the Mets and Yankees in the same trip east. The Giants should look to close strong for a run at a third World Series title in the last four years, looking for another surge like last year’s 15-6 span over its final 21 games.
Colorado remains under the radar from MLB odds makers, while having enough fire power for some late sparks here. The team’s home stand following the All-Star break sets up as a chance to make an early move upward, while Arizona and Los Angeles find themselves in spots that could halt momentum, so be wary if you're thinking of adding them to your sports picks.visit SportsbookReview.com!