NL Futures: Dodgers Land Machado, Now Favored for Pennant

The Dodgers won the Manny Machado Sweepstakes and are poised to make a serious run at returning to the World Series. Let’s check out what the Sportsbook Review oddsmakers have to say about Big Blue as well as all the National League Division races and awards.

NL East

Philadelphia Phillies +150

Atlanta Braves +160

Washington Nationals +200

New York Mets +50,000

Miami Marlins            +100,000

A quick check over to our favorite website for all things sports betting related and one that showcases the best online sportsbooks, Sportsbook Review, reveals that the oddsmakers believe the division is up for grabs. Philadelphia holds a half-game lead at the break over the Braves, with the Nationals 5½ games out but always a threat as the preseason favorite to win the NL East. The Phillies’ offense better pick it up in a hurry if they are to finish the marathon that is the MLB season in front. Their best hitter owns a .275 average and the team average stands at a woeful .236 (26th). Their nearest rivals, the Braves, are led by sweet-swingin’ Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis with a lineup that is in the top 10 in all the major offensive categories. That sounds like a team that would have the best shot at claiming the East when the dust settles.

NL Central

Chicago Cubs  -300

Milwaukee Brewers +200

St. Louis Cardinals +1600

Pittsburgh Pirates +6000

Cincinnati Reds +60,000

The Cubs appear to be rounding into form having won nine of 12 headed into the break and now hold a 2½-game advantage over their nearest rivals, the Milwaukee Brewers. The Cardinals and Pirates are still in contention although a prolonged losing streak by either one will signal an early vacation for both. The Reds are already playing out the string so the Cubbies are in good shape to win the NL Central for the third consecutive year and the MLB oddsmakers tend to agree.

NL West

Los Angeles Dodgers   -200

Arizona Diamondbacks +300

Colorado Rockies +900

San Francisco Giants   +1000

San Diego Padres +25000

Before the break, the Dodgers and Diamondbacks were co-favorites at +300 to win the West with Los Angeles just a half game in front of Arizona. But suddenly, Big Blue is a chalky -200 while Arizona remains at +300. Well, we know the reason and it has everything to do with LA landing former Orioles All-Star Manny Machado. If you were to take a gander at Baltimore’s stats page you would see the 26-year-old slugger at the top of every major category which includes batting average (.315), home runs, (24), RBI (65), OBP (.387), and hits (115). But now he moves from the outhouse to the penthouse as he is now an LA Dodger and this one acquisition clearly tips the balance of power in the West – and maybe the National League – in favor of the Dodgers.

NL MVP

Freddie Freeman (ATL) +145

Nolan Arenado (COL) +155

Max Scherzer (WAS)   +450

Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) +800

Kris Bryant (CHC)        +1100

Bryce Harper (WAS)   +1200

Anthony Rizzo (CHC)   +2500

Matt Kemp (LAD)        +2500

Anthony Rendon (WAS) +3000

Joey Votto (CIN)          +4000

Nick Markakis (ATL)    +5000

Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman is the slight favorite over Colorado’s Nolan Arenado and if you take a peek at their stats the difference between the two is even less than the prevailing odds reflect. Interestingly enough, the teams on which they play are strikingly similar with Atlanta’s win percentage at .553 vs. Colorado’s .531 and both clubs within a whisker of their respective division’s lead. Normally if the race is a jump-ball between two outstanding candidates, the tie would go to the player on the team that accomplished the most. In this case, both the Braves and Rockies could be headed to the postseason.

As for the other contenders, if they don’t end the season with a .300 batting average or higher we can’t consider them. It’s not a law but it should be. What about the longshot Nick Markakis at +5000? He trails only Scooter Gennett in terms of batting average with a .323 and has 61 RBI under his belt with 10 home runs. Looks like pretty good MLB betting value, no?

NL Cy Young Award

Max Scherzer (WAS)   -600

Jacob deGrom (NYM) +300

Jon Lester (CHC)         +700

Aaron Nola (PHI)         +800

Sean Newcomb (ATL)  +4000

Carlos Martinez (STL) +5000

This award is Mad Max’s to lose. He’s not only a prohibitive -600 to win the NL Cy Young, according to the best online sportsbooks, but he’s so good he’s even getting consideration as an MVP candidate (see above). Although Scherzer is having an outstanding season for the Nats, what the hell is wrong with the Mets’ Jacob deGrom besides his last name starting with a lower case letter? Yes, his record is 5-4 but he plays for the Mets, the worst team in the National League. He also leads the majors in ERA (1.68) and is the only pitcher with a 6.0 WAR. But he probably won’t win because the New York’s lineup isn’t just weak, it’s helpless. Looks like Mad Max for the win.

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