Preview On Revamped MLB Odds To Win NL

Jay Pryce

Tuesday, July 12, 2016 8:33 PM UTC

Tuesday, Jul. 12, 2016 8:33 PM UTC

Check out updated odds for the NL Pennant here, complete with our best value picks.

Updated MLB odds to win the 2016 National League Pennant have the Chicago Cubs still the overwhelming favorites on the board at +190, despite going 6-15 in their last 21 games headed into the All-Star break. The Cubs set records with their hot start, winning 25 of their first 31 games by a 3.3 average margin of victory. Despite cooling off, their plus-139 run differential is still the highest in MLB. One has to wonder if the Loveable Losers peaked too early, though. Since 2004, the team leading baseball in scoring margin at the break has failed to win the World Series, and only three have made it to the final showcase (Cardinals 2004, Tigers 2006, Cardinals 2013).

The second choice in the betting market is the San Francisco Giants (+300), topping MLB with a 57-33 (.633) record. They are followed closely by the NL East-leading Washington Nationals at +350 odds. The Nats opened as the fifth choice (+675) back in February. The Los Angeles Dodgers (+600), and last year’s pennant winners, the New York Mets (+1000), round out the top five. Here are updated 2016 NL Pennant odds posted at BetOnline:


NL Pennant Odds

Chicago Cubs


San Francisco Giants


Washington Nationals


Los Angeles Dodgers


New York Mets


St. Louis Cardinals


Pittsburgh Pirates


Miami Marlins


Arizona Diamondbacks


Colorado Rockies


Philadelphia Phillies


San Diego Padres


Milwaukee Brewers


Atlanta Braves


Cincinnati Reds



Picks and Analysis

Unlike in the American League where the race for the pennant appeared wide open from the start, most would agree there were seven strong contenders from day one in the NL vying for the crown: the Cubs, Giants, Mets, Nationals, Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates. Outside of the Florida Marlins (.534), these are the only organizations with a winning record at the break. This is important since no team has made it to the World Series with a losing record at the All-Star game in well over a decade.

The big challenge for bettors is determining which team out of this group will rise to the occasion. Several hit on some key trends we like to see at this point in the season, but the two that stand out at a price are the Nationals and Mets.

Washington’s pitching is lights out. We were high on this group from the get-go, thinking the staff could catapult the club above bookmakers’ 87-win total offered at the beginning of the year almost single-handedly. The Nats are well on their way to 90-plus. They possess the feared three-headed rotation monster so valuable in the postseason with Max Scherzer, Cy Young favorite Stephen Strasburg, and youngster Joe Ross at the helm, and have the third-best bullpen ERA (3.11) in the bigs. At the plate, they possess a .294 secondary average and hit the fifth-most home runs per at-bat (24.54). Overall, the team’s plus-105 run differential is second in MLB to the Cubs. The big worry for bettors is if the team will implode late like in recent years. They missed an opportunity for a deep October run in 2012, nobly shutting down the young Strasburg, and in 2014, were bounced early from the playoffs. They have the right manager in Dusty Baker to keep the eye on the prize this season.

The Mets, meanwhile, are limping into the break—literally. David Wright is out again, this time with a herniated disc in his back; Yoenis Cespedes is battling a quad strain; Lucas Duda is still absent after suffering a stress fracture in his back, and Matt Harvey is expected to undergo season-ending shoulder surgery in coming days. Despite all this, last year’s NL champs are still six games above .500 and in the thick of the playoff race. The Mets’ staff is armed with a bunch of cannons, and the organization seems is able to pluck and place guys at will into the rotation with great success. An ailing Harvey (6-11) and Logan Verrett (2-4), in fact, are the only two starters under which the team owns a losing record this season. With this kind of depth, and the lineup bound to get healthier, the Mets can easily make another run at the Fall Classic.

Both clubs also trigger a few trends we like to see entering the All-Star break—the same one’s we shared in out AL Futures preview. Firstly, the Mets and Nationals each own a .533 winning percentage or better. Since 2004, every World Series winner has equaled this mark at the break. Secondly, each is either showing brilliance in scoring runs or preventing others from doing so. This is significant since 21 of the last 24 Fall Classic participants ranked in the top four in their respective leagues in these categories. The Nats (3.52) and Mets (3.58) are one and two in fewest runs allowed, just ahead of the Cubs and Giants, while Chicago, the Cardinals, Rockies, and Pirates are best at crossing the plate. A bet on both the Nats and Mets would return a profit if either play in the World Series and offer an even bigger slice to win the whole thing. 

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