The Mets hold value as a National League Pennant futures bet with MLB's regular season coming to a close. Check out our thoughts on the NL playoff race here.
With a little less than 20 games to go in MLB’s regular season, every night unfolds like a playoff contest for teams still alive to suit up in October. No lead is safe at this point, except for maybe the Chicago Cubs who hold a 17-game advantage over the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central. Fangraphs gives the 92-game winners a 100 percent chance to make the playoffs. Outside of the Cubs, only the Nationals appear to be a “lock” to make the postseason out of the NL. They hold a 10-game lead over the Mets in the East.
The 2007 New York Mets offer a cautionary tale for bettors. The Kings of Queens sported a seven-game lead over the Phillies in the NL East with 17 to play but missed the postseason entirely after going 5-12 to close out the year. To pour salt on the wound, only three games were against a team with a winning record: Philadelphia. The playoff picture is always murky in mid-September, which makes for abundant value in MLB futures offerings.
Do not write off last year’s World Series runner-ups, however. New York is 16-6 in its last 22 contests, winning six straight series, and offer the most bang for the buck in futures betting. It holds a half-game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals for the final wild-card spot.
The Mets are making the push minus a bevy of stars. Four position starters, first baseman Lucas Duda, third baseman David Wright, second baseman Neil Walker, and left fielder Michael Conforto are all out, as well as starting pitchers Matt Harvey (done for the year), Steven Matz and Jacob deGrom. The latter two do not have a return date set, but this team can only get stronger when the latter rejoin the rotation.
New York was one of two teams we liked to represent the NL in the World Series at the All-Star break because of some mid-season trends it triggered, and it’s even more valuable today to buy-in. But shop around. On one hand, 5Dime lists the Mets +1650 to win the pennant, while Bookmaker is offering +1125 odds. Nonetheless, each price offers value. It's wise to own multiple accounts this time of year.
The Cardinals are only +100 shorter in price than the Mets at both top-rated sports books, despite a much tougher schedule to close out the season. Going 5-7 in their last 12 games, Fangraphs gives them just a 42.4 percent chance to make the playoffs. The Mets are tagged with a 70.7 percent chance. St. Louis has played in the last five postseason straight. It closes out the year with a 10-game road trip against the Giants, Rockies, and Cubs.
San Francisco currently holds the top wild-card spot by 1.5 games, trailing the Dodgers by four for the NL West crown. Online sportsbooks are dealing the Giants about +600 odds on average to win the pennant, which seems awfully short for a team with the fewest wins in MLB (20) since the break. Pass.
The Pirates and Marlins own a 0.5 and 0.9 chance to make the playoffs according to Fangraphs, It’s reflected in their current odds at +6000 and +8000 to win the pennant. Neither team is showing signs of life, and not worth the gamble as your MLB pick. Like San Francisco, the Marlins own a losing record since the break (24-32) and are averaging 3.0 runs per game over their last 20 contests. The wheels have come completely off for Pittsburgh, meanwhile, going 2-12 in their last 14 games. The once admirable pitching staff is yielding 6.1 runs a night during the down streak. Not the best time of year for your pitching to get the hiccups. Make the Mets your value pick for the NL pennant.