We're only a little over a month away from the start of the playoffs, so let's start breaking down the legitimate top dogs in Major League Baseball.
All of the MLB odds found below can be found at 5Dimes, though a number of sportsbooks have continuously updated futures as well.
Los Angeles Dodgers (+400)
On Friday, June 21st, the Dodgers were 30-42 and considered the biggest underachievers in all of baseball.
Since then, L.A. has only managed to go 48-13 to put them at 78-55 overall, tying them for the second-best record in the National League. Since the All-Star Break, the Dodgers have won 30 of 38.
Everything is coming together for Don Mattingly. Yasiel Puig's presence, along with the healthy returns of Hanley Ramirez and Carl Crawford, have energized the offense, while the rotation has been filthy for months now.
Clayton Kershaw is the frontrunner for the Cy Young, Ricky Nolasco has a 2.20 ERA since arriving in Los Angeles, and Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu have been fantastic too. There's no doubt the Dodgers have the pitching clout to make a deep run in October.
Be sure to check out my picks & odds on the American & National League Pennant.
Detroit Tigers (+500)
The Tigers are in a little bit of a rut at the moment, dropping three straight games at home to Oakland, but they still remain a top-tier favorite to win it all in 2013.
Not only does Detroit lead the majors in batting average (.284), on base percentage (.348), and slugging percentage (.440), they're also tops in quality starts (89) and also rank in the top 10 in team ERA, WHIP, and BAA. This is an extremely well-balanced ballclub.
Of course, it helps when you've got the best hitter in baseball on your side. Miguel Cabrera is hitting .357 to go along with 43 homers and 130 RBI, helping the Tigers hang on despite the loss of suspended shortstop Jhonny Peralta. Victor Martinez's second half resurgence – he's batting .377 in 151 at-bats – has also been crucial.
Then there's Max Scherzer, whose numbers are just ridiculous. He's 19-1 with a 2.73 ERA and 0.91 WHIP and has struck out 196 in 178.1 IP. Anibal Sanchez (11-7, 2.61 ERA) has been outstanding as well, while Justin Verlander can still be dominant when on his game. All of these guys are great tails for your daily MLB picks.
Atlanta Braves (+725)
Boston Red Sox (+800)
St. Louis Cardinals (+925)
Texas Rangers (+950)
Owners of the best record in baseball, the Braves (80-52) are gearing up for what they hope is a highly successful postseason. Funnily enough, it's Atlanta's pitching that's carried them this season, as the staff is in the top three in each of the top four pitching categories, highlighted by a number one ranking in team ERA at 3.18.
The Red Sox still have a lot of work to do in a heated AL East race, but they've won four consecutive games to build up a small cushion to work with. Boston has scored more runs (678) than any other team in the major leagues, but will their pitching be good enough come October?
Like the Red Sox, the Cardinals are still involved in a frenzied divisional battle with Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. There's no doubting this club's talent level in terms of both hitting and pitching, and with the title experience this team boasts, getting +925 here seems like good value.
And finally, to the Rangers. Texas hasn't been shy about making moves to bolster their chances, reaching deals for Matt Garza and Alex Rios. With a one-two-three punch of Yu Darvish, Garza, and Derek Holland and a well-rounded offense, few teams are going to want to face the Rangers in the playoffs.