The race to be crowned the 2018 winner of the National League West division looks like it’s going to come down to the wire, but according to sportsbooks, the Los Angeles Dodgers the clear front-runners to claim the banner.
At BetOnline, the Dodgers are the -200 favorites to win the NL West, with the Arizona Diamondbacks (+300), Colorado Rockies (+900), San Francisco Giants (+1000) and San Diego Padres (+25000) available in plus-money.
Those odds have shifted significantly in the last month, as Los Angeles was +150 in early June, with Arizona (+200) and Colorado (+275) right behind them. According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, Baltimore Orioles superstar Manny Machado is on his way to the Dodgers after the all-star break, so the addition of the standout infielder has quite clearly established L.A. as the undisputed faves to claim its sixth straight division title.
Can anyone catch the Dodgers?
As of July 18, Los Angeles held a half-game lead over the D-backs, while Colorado (two games back) and San Francisco (four games back) weren’t far behind them for the division lead. San Francisco has been lights-out at home with a 31-19 SU record at AT&T Park but hasn’t fared nearly as well on the road (19-29), so unless the Giants can start producing outside of their own ballpark, they’ll likely fall out of NL West contention sooner rather than later.
That leaves Arizona and Colorado to challenge the high-profile Dodgers. The Rockies, who started the campaign with a +650 price to win the division, haven’t taken a step back from last year’s 87-win team, yet they’ll need a strong second half to keep pace in the ever-competitive West. Arizona seems like the likeliest squad to go toe-to-toe with the Dodgers and exact some revenge after getting swept by Los Angeles in the 2017 NLDS.
Whatever happens from here on out, it’s going to be interesting. Which team do you think is going to emerge triumphant in the NL West this season? Have your say in the comments.
|Los Angeles Dodgers||-200|
|San Francisco Giants||+1000|
|San Diego Padres||+25000|
Odds as of July 18 at BetOnline
The NL West has been the definition of a toss-up in 2018, and according to oddsmakers, the race to win the division title at the end of the year is as wide open as it’s been in quite some time.
At Bovada, the Los Angeles Dodgers are +150 favorites, followed by the Arizona Diamondbacks (+200), Colorado Rockies (+275), San Francisco Giants (+600) and San Diego Padres (+10000). Prior to the start of the season, the Dodgers were heavy -175 chalk, as Arizona (+400), San Francisco (+600), Colorado (+650) and San Diego (+2500) were well back on the odds list.
After a horrible April, Dodgers have gotten back in the mix
To put it lightly, the Dodgers flat-out stunk in April. L.A. finished the month with a .444 winning percentage, which should rightly concern Dodgers fans and bettors alike considering 15 consecutive World Series winners have finished above .500 in April. Only one squad with a sub-.500 record in the month went on to win the World Series – the 2002 Angels.
The Dodgers currently occupy the fourth spot in the NL West at 29-30 SU but are only two games behind the Diamondbacks for the top spot in the division. L.A. has six wins in its last nine contests despite star pitcher Clayton Kershaw headed back to the disabled list with a quarter of regular position players joining him there. The next month is going to be pivotal in determining whether Los Angeles can complete the climb out of the division basement, but if you think they can do it, the time to bet them is now at the current price.
Which team can emerge from the logjam in the standings?
As of this writing, the Diamondbacks held the NL West lead at 31-28 SU, but Colorado (30-29), San Francisco (30-30), Los Angeles (29-30) and San Diego (28-34) weren’t far behind.
The D-backs held the best record in the National League at one point and then proceeded to lose 15 of their next 17 games. The injury bug has hit the Giants locker room in a big way, making them one of the most injury-plagued teams in the majors. The Rockies’ $106-million investment in the bullpen has blown up in their face, as Colorado’s relievers have been its biggest problem. The Padres have been a non-factor from a competitive standpoint and have their hands full to challenge for the division.
Needless to say, the NL West has been largely disappointing in 2018, but there’s plenty of value for baseball bettors as a result. Who do you think is going to win the division? Have your say in the comments.
|Los Angeles Dodgers||+150|
|San Francisco Giants||+600|
|San Diego Padres||+10000|
Odds as of June 5 at Bovada
The road to the National League West crown has gone through the City of Angels, as the Los Angeles Dodgers have claimed the division title in each of the last five seasons. Of course, last season the Dodgers won a league-high 104 games, claimed the division title by 11 games and made it to the World Series.
That is even more impressive when you consider the NL West was also home to the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies, the two teams that claimed the NL wild-card spots in the playoffs.
Here’s a look at the division odds and your need-to-know information entering the 2018 season for the top-heavy NL West:
Los Angeles Dodgers -175
The Dodgers front office wisely did nothing to rock the boat after their stellar season last year. The starting rotation and lineup will remain the same and for good reason. The team has arguably the best pitching staff top to bottom in all of baseball and has the luxury of Clayton Kershaw – the best pitcher of this generation – taking the bump every five days. Even if Rich Hill can’t replicate his amazing 2017, the pitching staff still has a wealth of talent in Alex Wood (27 years old), Kenta Maeda (29) and Hyun-Jin Ryu (30).
Offensively, the Dodgers were better than average for the most part in 2017. They were in the top half of the league in runs, home runs and slugging percentage. The team struggled to hit for average by and large but that was never really an issue thanks to their power. And considering two of their three best hitters (Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger) are both younger than 24, the Dodgers should only get better at the plate.
The Dodgers will likely win the division again. Even if they regress in 2018, they are still likely a few games better than both the Diamondbacks and Rockies.
Arizona Diamondbacks +400
It took only one season for the D-backs to go from obscurity to a playoff-caliber team – something that should continue this year. Arizona is built in a mold similar to the Dodgers, as the team has a rock-solid rotation and batting order – even with J.D. Martinez in Beantown.
Zack Greinke has had a bad tendency to yo-yo between Cy Young-worthy and downright bad over the past several seasons but he remains one of the best pitchers in baseball when he is on. Behind him, though, the D-backs are set for the long haul with Patrick Corbin, Robbie Ray and Taijuan Walker on the right side of 30.
If any team is truly prepared to usurp the Dodgers, it is the Diamondbacks.
The team will obviously miss Martinez’ bat if he chooses to leave in free agency but Arizona has plenty of bats. Paul Goldschmidt is a perennial MVP candidate, A.J. Pollock is one of the best all-around outfielders in the game (when he’s not hurt) and Jake Lamb was a revelation at the plate.
If any team is truly prepared to usurp the Dodgers, it is the Diamondbacks. They own one of the best young rotations in baseball, a lineup filled with big-time sluggers and a bullpen that should actually be improved this season.
San Francisco Giants +600
Few teams retooled quite like the Giants did during the winter months. After winning just 64 games last season – their fewest since 1994 – the team added Andrew McCutchen, Evan Longoria and Austin Jackson. McCutchen gives the Giants a legitimate leadoff man, Longoria brings power and Jackson brings a stable on-base player in the back of the order.
The Giants are better than 64 wins – there is too much talent for them not to be. However, are they even the third-best team in the division?
The Giants starting rotation could be great but injuries could also decimate the group. Madison Bumgarner will miss the first two months of the season with a hand injury, Johnny Cueto has persistent issue with blisters that plagued him in 2017 and Jeff Samardzija will miss the first three-to-four weeks with a rectoral injury.
The big issue comes in the bullpen, as the Giants were OK at best after their starters left the mound. That led to their injury-riddled starting rotation pitching deeper into games than it likely should have, which greatly hurt their overall performance.
The Giants are better than 64 wins – there is too much talent for them not to be. However, are they even the third-best team in the division? I don’t think so. This is one of those teams where the talent is not greater than the sum of its parts.
Colorado Rockies +650
The Rockies have something that I don’t know if I have ever seen in my life – a good rotation. Pitchers have avoided Coors Field like the plague thanks to the thin air of Colorado but the team has developed several young, potentially great arms in-house. Of the eight pitchers to start for the Rockies in 2017, four were 25 or younger and none were older than 28.
Sure, the bats get a lift from playing in Colorado but it became abundantly clear last season that Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado are two of the best hitters in baseball. When you add in the perennially underrated consistency of DJ LeMahieu, the only major hole in the lineup is the tendency of several players to be undisciplined at the plate.
The most intriguing spot comes at first base. Last season, Mark Reynolds continued to be nothing more than a stopgap solution who swings at damn near everything and he has not officially re-signed with the team. Prospect Ryan McMahon is ready for MLB reps but getting another stopgap – maybe Reynolds again – to ease the youngster in would be wise.
San Diego Padres +2500
Guess what? The San Diego Padres are rebuilding. Yeah, it’s shocking. A team that has seemingly been consolidating young talent for years and years has yet to convert many of them to anything more than average major leaguers. Manuel Margot looks like a gem and Hunter Renfroe still has potential despite his middling first season but this offense still might be the worst in the league.
The pitching staff is largely a mishmash of taped-together veterans and younger players who the Padres hope reach their potential. Jhoulys Chacin – who was the team’s best starter last season – is gone, which leaves the No. 1 role to Clayton Richard. I don’t really think there is much else to say.
On the bright side? The Padres farm system is loaded and they are the only show in town now that the Chargers are gone.
|Los Angeles Dodgers||-175|
|San Francisco Giants||+600|
|San Diego Padres||+2500|
Odds as of March 28 at Bovada