No team in the majors is a heavier favorite to win a division this season than the defending World Series champion LA Dodgers, listed at -250 to earn the NL West flag for the ninth straight season.
Only three years ago, though, the Washington Nationals were an even heavier baseball betting choice at -400. Those Nats failed to even earn a wild card. So, no guarantees with LA.
Here are the NL West’s 2021 odds hours before the April 1 openers. Below that is an attempt to gauge the team with the best long-shot MLB betting odds.
NL West Pennant/ World Series Odds DraftKings William Hill BetMGM LA Dodgers +175/+350 +175/+350 TBD/+350 San Diego +380/+800 +425/+900 TBD/+900 San Francisco +6000/+8000 +6000/+10000 TBD/+8000 Arizona +8000/+10000 +6000/+10000 TBD/+10000 Colorado +8000/+10000 +8000/+15000 TBD/+10000
LA got exponentially better since last season with a pair of Cy Young winners joining a staff that already had the best ERA in the league (3.02).
Trevor Bauer comes over from Cincinnati (NL award winner 2020) and LHP David Price, who already was a Dodger, is off the opt-out list (AL award winner 2012). They’ll join three-time winner Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw.
The lineup, meanwhile, led the league in scoring last year headed by Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger. Can’t beat that.
Unless Tom Brady signs with the Padres in the coming days LA should win the loop again and make a run at surpassing their expected win total of 102.5.
Next In Line
San Diego didn’t snooze this offseason, either, adding 2018 AL Cy Young lefty Blake Snell from Tampa Bay and the Cubs’ Yu Darvish (8-3, 2.01 last season). The Padres also have shortstop Fernando Tatis and third baseman back Manny Machado for a dynamic middle of a bat-flipping order.
The dark side is that two standout starting pitchers are hurting, and one, Mike Clevinger, will be out for the season after Tommy John surgery. Plus Dinelson Lamet, who was fourth in Cy Young voting last year, likely will miss early-season play with an elbow injury.
The Padres, whose win expectancy is 94.5, probably can’t have any more setbacks to keep pace with LA, but have more than enough to get a wild card.
San Francisco, Arizona, and Colorado are going to have to play out of their skulls to be contenders in this loop based on win expectancies of 75.5 for the Giants, 74.5 for the Diamondbacks and a dismal 64.5 for the Rockies.
Working from the bottom up, Colorado suffered a big offseason loss when eight-time Gold Glove third baseman Nolan Arenado went to St. Louis in a trade. On top of that bad news is the recent shoulder problem of No. 2 starter Kyle Freeland (17-7 in 2018) and the blood clot that has sidelined key reliever Scott Oberg (6-1 in 2020). Thus, there won’t be a repeat of 2007 when at 45-1 in MLB betting it won its only pennant.
Arizona has an old-ish attack and over the past several seasons has watched the departures from a lineup that spearheaded a 93-win season in 2017. And, like the Rockies, a key member of the rotation is out — surprising RHP Zac Gallen (3-2, 2.75). He learned last week he had a fractured right forearm and will be inactive indefinitely. Then there’s veteran LHP Madison Bumgarner who will pitch the opener Thursday. He’s coming off a 1-4, 6.48 season and hasn’t fared well this spring, either, giving up eight earned runs in 11.1 innings. Stay away.
That leaves the Giants as the top long-shot choice at some nice prices.
They weren’t that far off last season before blowing a wild-card berth via tiebreaker the final weekend when they were swept three games by San Diego’s JV.
Catcher Buster Posey, who opted out last season, is back to help anchor a lineup that was fifth in the majors in hitting last year.
On the mound, Giants fans have hope with No. 1 starter Kevin Gausman and No. 3 Logan Webb (17 spring innings, 1 ER). They’re also probably hoping No. 2 Johnny Cueto and his perpetually 5.00+ ERA just goes away.