- See updated Division-winner odds for all 15 National League clubs
- The Braves (+225) and Cardinals (+225) are strong bets in the crowded NL East and NL Central
- The underdog Diamondbacks are an intriguing wager in the NL West at +900
The NL East and NL Central promise to be two of the most competitive battlefields in all of baseball with a combined eight teams having a legitimate shot at first place in their respective divisions, while oddsmakers have practically already handed the Dodgers (-750) their eighth-straight NL West title.
Let’s check the odds in all three National League divisions and offer some bets to place as expertly as a sacrifice bunt down the third-base line.
ODDS TO WIN NL EAST
|New York Mets||+275|
LAY IT ALL ON ATLANTA (+225)
The National League East features two of baseball’s brightest young stars in 22-year-old Ronald Acuña Jr. and 21-year-old Juan Soto. Looking to become just the fifth player in MLB history to hit 40 homers and steal 40 bases in a season, Acuña is a top contender for NL MVP as he looks to lead the Braves (+225) to their third-consecutive division title.
Atlanta lost 37 home runs when third baseman Josh Donaldson left town, but added closer Will Smith and veteran lefty Cole Hamels to its impressive nucleus. Meanwhile, Washington (+225) also suffered a loss at the hot corner when World Series hero Anthony Rendon packed his bags for Anaheim.
“He’s talking about 50-50. That’s the first thing he said when he got here.”
Ronald Acuña Jr.’s goals are DIFFERENT. ? pic.twitter.com/vknYorNB76
— FOX Sports South (@FOXSportsSouth) February 12, 2020
The defending champs don’t have a lot of talent around Soto, but any club with Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg can’t be counted out. Former National Bryce Harper will look to build on a strong first season in the City of Brotherly Love under new manager Joe Girardi, though the Phillies (+350) probably don’t have enough pitching depth to win the division.
The Mets’ 86.5-win over was one of our favorite bets in mid-February, but as COVID-19 proves, a lot can change in a month. With news that Noah Syndergaard will miss the year after undergoing Tommy John surgery, New York (+275) will be hard-pressed to finish ahead of the Braves.
ODDS TO WIN NL CENTRAL
|St. Louis Cardinals||+225|
CASH IN WITH THE CARDS (+225)
The Cubs’ clubhouse will have a different vibe this summer after the team replaced analytical Joe Maddon with part-time catcher David Ross. Standing pat with their roster otherwise, Chicago (+225) certainly has the talent (Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Báez, Jon Lester) to compete, but there’s not much to get excited for here.
Christian Yelich’s 2018 NL MVP season already proved he’s capable of carrying his Brewers (+350) to a division title. That said, the departures of catcher Yasmani Grandal and third baseman Mike Moustakas don’t leave much room for error.
In this Q&A with Dakota Hudson, he admits he and Jack Flaherty “butted heads,” in the minor leagues but laugh about it now. Said it was fueled by competitiveness. https://t.co/QF0KB1qgbG
— Mark Saxon (@markasaxon) March 9, 2020
Normally, a rotation featuring Sonny Gray (2.87 ERA, 1.084 WHIP), All-Star Luis Castillo (3.48 ERA, 226 K’s) and Trevor Bauer (4.48 ERA, 253 Ks) would make a team the prohibitive favorite in their division, but it’s tough to trust a Cincinnati Reds (+275) club with six-straight losing seasons.
Instead, the Cardinals (+225) seem like a relatively safe bet in the crowded NL Central. St. Louis has two young aces in Cy Young contender Jack Flaherty and 25-year-old Dakota Hudson, a defense that allowed the second-fewest runs in the NL last season, and a top prospect in outfielder Dylan Carlson.
ODDS TO WIN NL WEST
|Los Angeles Dodgers||-750|
|San Diego Padres||+1200|
|San Francisco Giants||+5000|
DIAL UP THE DIAMONDBACKS (+900)
The Dodgers are absolutely loaded with two of the top four NL MVP contenders (Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger), a Cy Young candidate in Walker Buehler and Rookie of the Year favorite Gavin Lux, so it’s no surprise to see them as heavy -750 favorites in the division.
However, at a juicy +900, the Diamondbacks are more than worth a wager in the NL West. After adding postseason legend Madison Bumgarner to a rotation that includes Luke Weaver, Zac Gallen and lefty Robbie Ray, Arizona has one of the stronger pitching staffs in all of baseball.
— Jeremy Cluff (@Jeremy_Cluff) March 19, 2020
Their outfield should also be much improved with the additions of Kole Calhoun and Starling Marté (no relation to D-Backs second baseman Ketel Marte, who finished fourth in NL MVP voting last season after hitting .329 with 32 home runs).
While Arizona is probably a better bet for a Wild Card spot, this is the kind of young, improving squad that could make you rich if everything breaks right.