Since the beginning of May, sportsbooks have left intact the same contenders and only slightly adjusted the numbers to wagering trends. This is because there are no great teams in the National League.
We have a number of teams with obvious flaws and while couple of them could upset Los Angeles, it is becoming more apparent using one of these other clubs with MLB picks has the feeling of a real long shot no matter the odds.
The L.A. Dodgers are a +195 choice at 5Dimes.com against the betting odds. If this doesn’t show you how weak the National League is, the Dodgers front office picked up pitching retreads Roberto Hernandez and Kevin Correia, who for their big league careers have a combined 140-181 lifetime record.
Los Angeles felt they needed a couple more able bodies with weaknesses in the back of the rotation and possibly long relief and addressed them. With the front of the rotation and the backend of the bullpen, the Dodgers are strong and with Matt Kemp playing up to capabilities, the offense has been somewhat more consistent.
L.A. has been terrific all year on the road at 37-25 and if they can pick it at Dodger Stadium (30-27), they have shown they are capable of being dominant with their 27-17 mark in outcomes determined by four or more runs. The MLB odds payout is crummy, but hard to bet against Dodger Blue at this juncture.
Room with a View
We keep thinking and maybe even hoping somebody will challenge Los Angeles. Washington is the most obvious choice at +350 and possibly if they were to meet in a seven-game series, the Nationals could upset the Dodgers. Washington is tied for the third-best run differential in the majors and its bullpen is among the finest in the NL, yet this team is five wins below where they should be, which is in direct correlation to 13-18 record in one-run games. Are the Nats capable, yes, will they do it, that is what baseball handicappers have to decide.
St. Louis is the next betting choice at +590 and did fine work in picking up John Lackey and Justin Masterson to bolster their pitching. Too bad neither can hit, since offense is the Cardinals most pressing need ranking 29th in runs scored. Nice to think you can win 2-1 or 3-2 consistently, but it will not happen.
With Yovani Gallardo returning to form, Milwaukee (+675 odds) can trot three solid starters to go along with Kyle Lohse and Wily Peralta in a series. The Brewers only have five home games between now and Sept. 1, but if they still maintain a division lead, they will have every chance to win the division and could be best darkhorse in the NL for sports picks futures odds.
First Floor by the Pool
Pittsburgh is back in the NL Central race and also in wild card contention by taking advantage of teams below .500 and posting a 28-14 record since early June. The next assignment will be much more arduous, as the Pirates are in the midst of playing 22 straight contests versus opponents with winning records. Pittsburgh has been lowered to +1000 odds, but will have to take on this rugged slate without Andrew McCutchen for a large chunk of it.
We’ll Leave the Light On for You
Since starting 42-21, San Francisco (+850) is 20-36 and while they are only five games behind the Dodgers in the NL West and will face them six more times, they send off no signals of a turnaround.
Atlanta (+1275) is a slightly worse version of St. Louis and is 2-11 since July 29 and going nowhere.