NL West Odds: Bet Against The Dodgers At Your Own Peril, But Back The Padres If You Do

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Mookie Betts is one of several key cogs for the heavily favored Dodgers in 2022. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

Last year’s division race in Major League Baseball’s NL West is proof that anything can happen over the course of a season.

For the first time in history, a team that won more than 104 games didn’t finish in first place in the standings, with the heavily favored defending world champion Los Angeles Dodgers going 106-56 and ending up one game behind the San Francisco Giants (107-55) for division honors.

Oddsmakers are bullish on the Dodgers to win the 2022 World World Series, to say nothing of the NL West this season.

DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM all had the Dodgers pegged between +225 and +235 to win the NL West. Here are the futures odds for all five NL West teams from DraftKings as of Monday afternoon:

TeamDraftKings Odds To Win NL West
Dodgers-235
Padres+295
Giants+600
Rockies +12000
Diamondbacks+12000

Had the Giants also won the pennant last year and not fizzled out in the division round vs. L.A.,  the Westgate SuperBook surely would have cringed after briefly offering preseason odds of 150-1 for the pennant and 300-1 for the Series.

This year the monster odds are attached to Colorado and Arizona. And for good reason. Here’s a look at how the NL West race should play out in 2022.

Dodgers Are A Prohibitive Favorite

Los Angeles (+230 pennant/+475 World Series at DraftKings) will be hard to beat with three past MVPs in the lineup — Mookie Betts, Cody Bellinger and offseason acquisition Freddie Freeman, who helped propel Atlanta to the World Series title last year.

And don’t forget ex-MVP Clayton Kershaw, the lefty who still has lots left in the tank thanks to his dazzling slider.

Not among the MVPs is last year’s NL batting champ, Trae Turner. And he’ll be joined by Max Muncy, who had a career-best 36 homers last year. And if Bellinger can bounce back from an injury-ravaged 2021, L.A. will have a dynamite offense.

The Dodgers did, however, lose longtime closer Kenley Jansen to Atlanta, but veteran Craig Kimbrel should fill in nicely after being acquired this spring. He had a 0.49 ERA in 39 appearances with the Cubs last year with a WHIP of 0.71.

With a win expectancy of 99.5, best in the majors according to DraftKings, L.A. doesn’t figure to experience a much of a fall-off.

Padres Are The Next In Line

San Diego had an enormous collapse late last year that cost it a wild-card berth. The Padres lost 18 of their final 22 games thanks in large part to a decimated pitching staff and wound up 79-83, 38 games behind the Giants’ pace.

This year, returning to pitching health are the opening day starter, Yu Darvish, in addition to 2018 AL Cy Young winner Blake Snell and more or less ex-Cleveland standout Mike Clevinger, who has recovered from Tommy John surgery but reportedly is nursing a minor knee injury that could result in him missing some time early on.

And speaking of pitching, the Padres also have Joe Murgrove and just added one of Oakland’s top starters, Sean Manaea, in the past few days. That’s a deep staff.

Offensively, Fernando Tatis’ absence for roughly the first half of the season (wrist surgery) pops some of the excitement balloons, but he should provide plenty of power after the All-Star break. Last year, he missed 32 games and still led the NL with 42 homers.

And then there’s third baseman Manny Machado, who produces year after year. He led the team with 106 RBIs last year.

Giants Look To Make Magic Again

San Francisco can’t possibly match last year’s achievement, can it?

With a win expectancy of 84.5, that would eventually put them 15 games behind L.A. But that still could be close to wild-card material, especially with a plethora of games against Colorado and Arizona.

The roster has had quite a shake-up this offseason with three-time world champ catcher Buster Posey retiring and ace pitcher Kevin Gausman leaving. But the Giants somehow got star White Sox lefty Carlos Rodon (13-3, 2.35 ERA) in addition to right-hander Alex Cobb, who was 8-3 with the Angels.

After last year’s longshot odds, it’s hard to look at the Giants’ punier numbers this year, especially since they’d probably be no better than a second wild card.

Rest Of The NL West

With Colorado allowing the departure of standout shortstop Trevor Story to join the Red Sox, that’s an indication the Rockies aren’t making a big-time effort to contend with the kingpins of the division and to win their first division crown. This came a year after mega-star third baseman Nolan Arenado went to St. Louis.

The addition of ex-Cubs star Kris Bryant in no way makes up for their departures, and since little was done to boost the pitching staff, these odds seem right on.

Then there’s Arizona, which has some peculiar odds in some spots. At the Westgate, they are a bigger underdog to win the division (200-1) than they are to win the pennant (100-1). Go figure.

As an indicator of how little respect the Diamondbacks have received from sportsbooks, they figure to end up 33 games behind L.A. based on season win totals. Even the woebegone Orioles in the AL East aren’t expected to be that far behind the leader’s pace.

Although Arizona has some potential on the mound with Zac Gallen and Luke Weaver, the team’s NL-worst ERA of 5.11 last season isn’t going to get solved overnight. Or could it? In 2016, the Diamondbacks had a league-worst 5.09 ERA but improved by 24 wins the next year and got a wildcard.

Padres Are The Obvious Value Play

The Padres get the nod. Although their odds don’t put them in the longshot category, those numbers are mighty good for a team that could contend with L.A. for division honors and make noise in the playoffs with the late-season return of Tatis. 

Also read: MLB 2022 Season Win Totals | MLB Futures: Bet On Red Sox To Win AL East

About the Author
Bob Christ

Bob Christ

Bob Christ, based in New Mexico, has been a gaming writer (primarily the NFL) for almost four decades, with his work appearing in publications/websites across North America. He's a big fan of the Arkansas Razorbacks, Philadelphia's Eagles and Phillies, and inexplicably the NHL's Winnipeg Jets.

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