2015 National League Pennant Odds

Harper
Harper
Bryce Harper and the Nationals are favorites to win the 2015 NL Pennant.

Washington Nationals 13/4 – The addition of Max Scherzer rocketed the Nationals to the top contenders in the National League and rightfully so. He will eat innings which will help the bullpen. The offense is solid, but not spectacular in my opinion but I do like skipper Matt Williams a lot because he knows how to generate some runs.

Los Angeles Dodgers 19/4 – Brandon McCarthy makes the starting rotation deeper but did the bullpen and offense get any better? I think the Dodgers challenge but any dropoff could result in Don Mattingly going bye-bye.

Chicago Cubs 6/1 – Joe Maddon instantly adds wins to this team and adding some more talent to the already talented youth doesn’t hurt either. Can they live up to higher expectations? Time will tell.

San Diego Padres 13/2 – The addition of James Shields will give the pitching staff a much needed boost and the offense will be better as well. The problem is the division where the Giants and Dodgers aren’t going to go away anytime soon.

St. Louis Cardinals 13/2 – Although some extra pitching would have been nice in the offseason, the Cardinals did add Jason Heyward to the outfield and the line-up. I see no reason why the Cards aren’t right where they usually are in the end.

Bumgarner
Madison Bumgarner will need a repeat performance if the Giants are to repeat as the champs.

San Francisco Giants 17/2 – The defending champs aren’t fond of odd-numbered years and their pitching staff, outside of Madison Bumgarner is a little questionable. Plus, who replaces Pablo Sandoval?

New York Mets 14/1 – Michael Cuddyer comes over from Colorado so while we can expect his numbers to drop a bit he is still a solid upgrade. There are capable players on this team so if the pitching can come through the Mets could be a challenge in the East.

Pittsburgh Pirates 14/1 – The Battling Buccos have to replace Russell Martin behind the dish and that won’t be easy. He was a great leader and was well-liked by the fans. A.J. Burnett returns to the rotation but will they get enough out of the starters this year?

Miami Marlins 16/1 – This team will have a very exciting outfield which should put butts in seats. The questions will be mostly about pitching and whether the Marlins will have enough of it to stay with the Nationals.

Cincinnati Reds 28/1 – After competing in recent years the Reds will take a significant step back. They lack any real depth and should they stay healthy could be a factor but they dumped too many guys to consider them.

Atlanta Braves 33/1 – The Braves unloaded a lot of players recently and seem to be throwing in the towel for this season and maybe next year as well.

Milwaukee Brewers 33/1 – The Brewmasters started so hot last season but then the roof collapsed and they were caught by St. Louis and Pittsburgh. I don’t see any type of start this year resembling what they did in 2014.

Arizona Diamondbacks 50/1 – This team is destined for the basement in the National League West unless they can best the Rockies which is debatable. The Padres got better and there’s no way they are in the same league as the Dodgers and Giants.

Colorado Rockies 75/1 – The Rockies have very little pitching and the offense is going to rely too heavily on just a couple of guys for them to be taken seriously in 2015.

Philadelphia Phillies 75/1 – It’s a fantastic baseball city that probably deserves better but I don’t see much hope in sight. This is going to be another long year especially in a division with three top, improved teams.

Who I like… As much as I hate going with the favorite, I think Washington gets over the hump behind a monster pitching staff and wins the pennant.

MLB Win Projections for 2015

Royals
Royals
Can the Royals duplicate their success of last year?

Can you believe teams have already reported for spring training in Florida and Arizona? Seems like the season just ended doesn’t it? Here are you season total win total projections from our friends at Bovada.

Arizona Diamondbacks – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      71½ (-115)

Under                                   71½ (-115)

Despite the changes, I like the UNDER.

Atlanta Braves – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      73½ (-115)

Under                                   73½ (-115)

The Braves always seem to find a way to succeed. Take the OVER.

Baltimore Orioles – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      82½ (-115)

Under                                   82½ (-115)

I think they take a step back but go with the OVER.

Boston Red Sox – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      86½ (-115)

Under                                   86½ (-115)

The BoSox have upgraded in all the right places. Take the OVER.

Chicago Cubs – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      82½ (-115)

Under                                   82½ (-115)

Will the Cubs be better? Yes, but I’m not ready for over .500 so take the UNDER.

Chicago White Sox – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      81½ (-115)

Under                                   81½ (-115)

I’m just not convinced this team is ready for recovery yet. Take the UNDER.

Cincinnati Reds – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      77½ (-115)

Under                                   77½ (-115)

Take the UNDER as the Reds are still reshuffling the deck.

Cleveland Indians – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      83½ (-115)

Under                                   83½ (-115)

Take the OVER. I like the direction of the Indians.

Colorado Rockies – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      71½ (-115)

Under                                   71½ (-115)

I don’t see much to be positive about here. Take the UNDER.

Detroit Tigers – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      84½ (-115)

Under                                   84½ (-115)

It’s really hard to see them doing as well as recent years with injuries and pitching losses. Take the UNDER.

Houston Astros – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      74½ (-115)

Under                                   74½ (-115)

Arrow up on the Astros. I like the OVER.

Kansas City Royals – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      79½ (-115)

Under                                   79½ (-115)

Can they repeat last year’s success? I say no. Take the OVER.

Los Angeles Angels – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      89½ (-115)

Under                                   89½ (-115)

Take the OVER. Big year coming from the Halos.

LA Dodgers
Can the Dodgers get over the hump and get to the World Series?

Los Angeles Dodgers – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      92½ (-115)

Under                                   92½ (-115)

It’s a big number but I’ll take the OVER.

Miami Marlins – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      81½ (-115)

Under                                   81½ (-115)

I really like the OVER here as new additions boost the Marlins.

Milwaukee Brewers – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      78½ (-115)

Under                                   78½ (-115)

Take the UNDER in a super-competitive NL Central.

Minnesota Twins – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      70½ (-115)

Under                                   70½ (-115)

Managerial change brings instability. Take the UNDER.

New York Mets – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      81½ (-115)

Under                                   81½ (-115)

What reason have they given me to be excited? Take the UNDER.

New York Yankees – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      81½ (-115)

Under                                   81½ (-115)

If A-Rod can contribute without being a problem, I like the OVER.

Oakland Athletics – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      80½ (-115)

Under                                   80½ (-115)

They stumbled to the finish last year and it continues in 2015. Take the UNDER.

Philadelphia Phillies – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      68½ (-115)

Under                                   68½ (-115)

Can they really be this bad? Yes, take the UNDER.

Pittsburgh Pirates – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      83½ (-115)

Under                                   83½ (-115)

Playoffs for two straight years in Pittsburgh and things look as good this season. Take the OVER.

San Diego Padres – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      85½ (-115)

Under                                   85½ (-115)

Fantastic additions but I’m still going UNDER.

San Francisco Giants – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      84½ (-115)

Under                                   84½ (-115)

The defending champs have some offense to replace but I still like the OVER.

Seattle Mariners – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      86½ (-115)

Under                                   86½ (-115)

Could the Mariners be the cream of the crop in the AL? Maybe and I’m taking the OVER.

St. Louis Cardinals – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      88½ (-115)

Under                                   88½ (-115)

This number is really close for me. I’ll take the UNDER but barely.

Tampa Bay Rays – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      78½ (-115)

Under                                   78½ (-115)

I just don’t see this team improving much. Take the UNDER.

Texas Rangers – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      77½ (-115)

Under                                   77½ (-115)

With Profar likely out for the season I’ll take the UNDER.

Toronto Blue Jays – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      82½ (-115)

Under                                   82½ (-115)

Lots of excitement in Canada about this team and rightfully so. I’ll take the OVER.

Washington Nationals – Total Regular Season Wins in 2015

Over                                      92½ (-115)

Under                                   92½ (-115)

I see no reason why this shouldn’t be a World Series team. Take the OVER.

New Futures for 2014 World Series and Is Atlanta Worth 20 to 1

The Major League Baseball regular season has just opened its 162-game schedule and what better time than now to update the futures on Bovada, sportsbook.com, topbet and betonline for the World Series and to take an look at one of the National League’s perennial top teams that is currently a long shot to win the title.

The Atlanta Braves have not been one of the World Series favorites on futures boards this season, as have the Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals and Washington Nationals. The injuries the club has had with their starting pitchers will likely make it difficult for them to reach the Fall Classic.

Prior to the start of the season, most books had the Braves in the mid-teens, while in the latest round of futures for the World Series they are now 20 to 1.

The win totals for Atlanta have fallen from a previous 87.5 to just 86 at Opening Day.

Injuries to Brandon Beachy and Kris Medlen have created lower expectations of success this season. While to two are strong pitchers, it is not like they were losing a Clayton Kershaw or Stephen Strasburg, the kind of players who can dominant in every game they play.

Once they find a set rotation for the season, it should include the likes of Mike Minor, Julio Teheran, Alex Wood, Aaron Harang and Ervin Santana.

Craig Kimbrel, who is thought by most to be the most dominant closer in the league, still lurks in the pen, turning most close games into just an eight-inning night.

So, is it worth taking the Braves at 20 to 1 to win the World Series? Some bettors must think so as sportsbooks such as topbet and betonline have been had bettors take a chance on Atlanta.

With everyone so worried about the Braves starting rotation, little has been discussed about how strong the offense in Atlanta is. That is not even taking into consideration that Dan Uggla and B.J. Upton should bounce back from poor seasons.

Jason Heyward was strong in the second half of last season and should carry his success of the second half to a breakout season this year. Of course, he will have plenty of supporting cast with Justin Upton, Freddie Freeman, Evan Gattis and Andrelton Simmons.

The season however, is very long and even with a strong offense, the starting rotation could fall apart in Atlanta if any other injuries creep up on the staff.

The odds for the top five for the 2014 World Series are as follows:

Los Angeles Dodgers 6-1

Detroit Tigers 7-1

Washington Nationals 7-1

St. Louis Cardinals 7-1 (6-1 last time odds were released)

Boston Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays 12-1

Bringing Baseball Back into Focus

Puig

 

Puig
Puig, shown here in Spring Training, has been excellent since joining the team 19 games ago.

If any professional sports league is like a roller coaster it has to be Major League Baseball. America’s Pastime (arguable I know) starts with such excitement and promise for every team in the league in late March or early April and then goes through ups and downs that only the folks at Disney World or Six Flags could relate.

Baseball immediately shares time with college basketball’s Final Four and then gets some attention. Eventually the playoffs in both the NHL and NBA begin and baseball gets pushed to the back burner but before too long, the seasons end and baseball becomes the only game in town until NFL training camps open in late July.

If you’ve been sleep-walking your way through the baseball season because of your attention paid to hockey, hoops or horse racing, then I’m here to catch you up on what’s going on in the Majors.

Blue Jays
The hot Blue Jays have made the AL East the tightest and best division in baseball.

Best Division – Without question the American League East is the most competitive top to bottom especially with Toronto on an eleven game winning streak heading into play last night. All five teams in the division are separated by five games with Boston on top of the Orioles by two games, the Yankees by 2.5, and the Jays and Rays by five.

I honestly don’t think you’ll see a lot of movement in this division through the summer and into September because each team has flaws that aren’t going to be cured by a trade or two at the deadline. New York could get a boost from Derek Jeter’s return but when that is is anyone’s guess. Despite losing three of four in Detroit, Boston may still be the team to beat in the East.

Worst Division – Coming in ahead of the AL Central is the National League East where only Atlanta is above the .500 mark as they lead second-place Washington by six games and Philadelphia by 7.5. The Braves don’t really do anything amazing but they pitch extremely well and seem to get big hits when they need them most.

The Nationals have to be the most disappointing team in baseball right now as they sit at 37-38 heading into last night’s action. I certainly don’t know everything going on there, but I would not be a bit surprised to see a significant change either in the clubhouse or on the field because there is too much talent for this team to be where it is.

Breakout Player so Far – Since joining the Dodgers 19 games ago, Yasiel Puig has set the Majors on fire. The 6’3″ 245lbs outfielder looks as athletic as any player I’ve seen come up in a long time and the results are validating that. Puig is hitting .425 with six home runs and 12 RBIs. His on-base percentage is also solid at .462.

Unexpected Cy Young Candidates – When you think the Detroit Tigers and pitching, you think of Justin Verlander but not this year. RHP Max Scherzer is 11-0 and has a WHIP of .91 for the Central-leading Tigers. While his 3.05 ERA is a little high, it’s actually below his career average of 3.76. Clay Buchholz of the Red Sox is a strong contender in the AL as well.

Over in the National League, 23-year old Patrick Corbin of the Arizona Diamondbacks is 9-0 with an ERA of 2.19 and a WHIP of 1.00. While Lance Lynn, Jordan Zimmerman and Adam Wainwright are all at the 10-win plateau, should Corbin continue his unbeaten season he;ll be hard to beat at awards’ time.

 

Baseball’s Division Races Shaping Up for Potential Drama

Yu Darvish
Yu Darvish
Darvish is 6-1 for the first place Rangers.

It’s often pushed to the back burner this time of year but Major League Baseball has five division races right now that are worth paying a ton of attention. With the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League each deep into their playoffs, it’s often easy to forget that baseball is still going on.

With the excitement of opening day long over, baseball has started to find its’ groove in the 2013 season and we as fans are the beneficiaries of some really good stories and some tremendous races. Yes, it’s only May but if history tells us anything then these races look to be ready to go the distance.

Out in the American League West, the Texas Rangers have opened up a seven game lead over both Oakland and Seattle. Sitting eleven games back is one of the pre-season favorites in the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. This is the only race in Major League Baseball that sees a lead bigger than two games.

AL West Prediction: Go with the Rangers and don’t give it another thought.

In the AL East, you have to hand it to the New York Yankees who continue to overcome injury with good pitching and outstanding relief pitching behind the incredible Mariano Rivera who is 16 for 16 in save opportunities this year. Not bad for a guy over 40. Baltimore and Boston are both two games back while the Tampa Rays sit four and a half deep.

AL East Prediction: The way the Yanks are playing right now gives them more time to bring Derek Jeter back. This will ultimately come down to who is healthiest down the stretch. I’m actually going with the Orioles to claim the division.

The American League Central is shaping up to be a tremendous race and one that really was not expected. Heavily favored Detroit has three teams within three and half games and the White Sox are just five games out. The longer the Tigers allow the Indians, Royals and Twins to hang around the more doubt will creep in.

AL East Prediction: If the Tigers fail to make the playoffs it will be a tremendous failure. They have too much talent to not win this division but I just don’t see them running away because of their weak bullpen.

Matt Harvey
Harvey has been one of the few bright spots for the Mets.

Over in the National League East, Atlanta has cooled off significantly since their hot start but still leads the Nationals by a game. To the surprise of many, the Phillies are hanging in there and sit just three and half games out of first. The New York Mets are six games out and are getting a great year on the hill from Matt Harvey, but the rest of the team is struggling.

NL East Prediction: I like the Braves, but I also like the pitching of Washington and I see them over-taking the Braves at some point. Do not count out the Phils just yet though.

The amazing St. Louis Cardinals lead the NL Central by two games over Cincinnati and three games over the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Cardinals always seem to be left for dead in the seasons following Albert Puljos’ departure, but here they are again behind great pitching and timely hitting. The Cubs and Brewers are sadly already planning for next year as they both sit nine games out of first.

NL Central Prediction: The Cardinals have such a nice mix of pitching and hitting that I have a hard time seeing them relinquish the lead, but Cincy will push them.

And finally in the NL West, the defending World Champion Giants lead Arizona by a half game and the Colorado Rockies by two. San Diego is four and half back and the Los Angeles Dodgers are five and a half deep. The surprise here has to be Colorado who most experts never saw coming. A tip of the cap to San Diego as well, but the Rockies have just not shown any signs of going away.

NL West Prediction: The Dodgers have Zack Grienke back now and he looked good in his return, but I still like the Giants to take the division.

Braves off to Blistering 11-1 Start

We knew the Atlanta Braves would field another consistent winner this year, but we didn’t know they were this good.

After completing an impressive road sweep of the Washington Nationals over the weekend, the Atlanta Braves improved to 11-1 on the season, having swept three consecutive series to begin their 2013 campaign. And they haven’t eked out their wins either, as they’ve outscored opponents 62-23 and outhomered them 20-6.

The Braves got a nice mix of stellar pitching and solid hitting during Sunday’s 9-0 win over the Nats, padding their early season stats. Justin Upton homered for the seventh time already this year and Paul Maholm pitched another gem, allowing just four hits and no earned runs in his third win of the season.

After dropping the series to Atlanta, the Nationals are now 7-5 on the year. The Nats are still considered the overall favorite to win the NL East and one of the favorites to win the NL, but with Atlanta playing well, we will likely see those odds change – if only slightly – soon.

Of course it’s still early in the season, but Washington has continued to struggle against its AL East foe, losing seven straight games dating back to last year. If the Nats want to win the East again, they’ll going to need to find more success against teams in their own division.

Meanwhile, the Braves are looking like a complete team that could contend in the NL themselves. They are getting great production, both at the plate and on the mound. We’ll just have to see if they can maintain the level of play they’ve established so far, though we expect it should dip at least a bit (no team stays this hot forever).

Atlanta will look to win its 10th straight game today, as it takes on the Kansas Royals at home. Kris Medlen will take the hill for the Braves in his third start against Jeremy Guthrie, and though Medlen was saddled with the lone Braves loss earlier this month, his 1.50 ERA tells the Royals that they better bring their A game to the ballpark today.

You could say the Braves are due for a loss, but as long as they keep winning, it’s impossible to bet against them. Stick with the MLB’s hottest team and take Atlanta to cover -1.5 today at home.

MLB Futures Update

The new-look Toronto Blue Jays remain the bookies' favorite to win the 2013 World Series.

In 47 days’ time, the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers will take to the baseball diamond at Minute Maid Park, raising the curtain on the 2013 Major League Baseball Season.

With pitchers and catchers arriving in Arizona and Florida this week for Spring Training, there’s still plenty of deals to be done before that first pitch is thrown – not to mention a cavalcade of storylines that still need to fully unravel – but Casino Review is going to take this time to look at the updated MLB futures, and how they could still be impacted six weeks or so before the season proper gets underway.

Currently No. 1 on the MLB futures list is Toronto. Since November’s mega-trade with the Miami Marlins, the Blue Jays have held firm at the top of bookmakers list.

The retooled Blue Jays will welcome the likes of Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson, Melky Cabrera, and 2012 Cy Young award-winner, R.A. Dickey to the fold when the team takes to the Rogers Centre field for its first game on Apr. 2.

Whilst the collection of talent – the likes of which the Blue Jays have never seen before, even during its World Series winning season of 1992 and 1993 – has wowed bookmakers to the tune of 7/1 odds to win the World Series, bettors need only take a look at this season’s Los Angeles Lakers, or last year’s Miami Marlins for that matter, to see how this could blow up in their face.

Toronto is 7/2 to win the AL pennant at this time.

No. 2 on the MLB futures list is Washington. The Nationals are considered 8/1 to win the World Series next season, and 15/4 to win the NL pennant.

After enjoying the franchise’s best season since moving to D.C., Washington had the luxury this winter of sticking with what brought it to the dance. Aside from the usual tinkering and sorting that goes along with the offseason, the team did add closer Rafael Soriano to the bullpen, at the cost of a two-year, $28 million contract. That instantly makes the Nationals a better side.

At 8/1 to win the World Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers sit level with Washington on the World Series futures list, but the Southern California side narrowly trails the Nationals in terms of the NL pennant. The Dodgers are considered 4/1 to win the National League.

Like the Blue Jays, the Dodgers were involved in a blockbuster trade last year, only in this case it happened during the season. The arrival of Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford might not have come in time for the Dodgers to catch San Francisco in the NL West, but odds makers like the side’s chances from the off this season.

The MLB futures’ top five is rounded out by Detroit and the Los Angeles Angels, both of whom are considered 9/1 to win the World Series, and 9/2 to win the AL pennant.

After winning the AL pennant in 2012, the Tigers haven’t made a huge splash in the market this offseason, but with it expected that Victor Martinez should return from injury (ACL) this season in the DH spot, odds makers like the Motor City side to contend again. It doesn’t harm that AL MVP and Triple Crown-winner Miguel Cabrera will be back at third base.

The Angels did make a splash this winter, signing free agent Josh Hamilton from under the noses of the Texas Rangers. Hamilton – who has suffered alcohol dependency issues – is a risk but one the Angels and bookmakers like, especially when the long ball hitter is next to Albert Pujols.

We’ve included a breakdown of all odds pertaining to the World Series, American League and National League below, but here are a few more noteworthy observations.

World Series champion San Francisco finds itself in joint sixth spot on the World Series futures (14/1) alongside Atlanta, Cincinnati, the New York Yankees and Texas. The Giants are tied with Atlanta in fourth place on the NL futures (7/1) behind Washington, the Dodgers, and Cincinnati (6/1).

The Yankees and Rangers (both 13/2) are tied for fourth spot in the AL with plenty of questions surrounding the organizations, not least in New York’s case the uncertainty surrounding the health and possible PED usage of Alex Rodriguez.

At the other end of the futures list, Houston is the least favored team in terms of the World Series (200/1) and, in its first season in the league, the AL pennant (75/1).

After shipping the majority of its high-priced talent north to Toronto, Miami finds itself at the bottom of the NL list, alongside the Chicago Cubs and Colorado Rockies at 50/1. Each of those sides, as well as Minnesota and the New York Mets, is considered 100/1 to win the World Series.

 

Odds to Win 2013 World Series

Toronto Blue Jays 7/1

Los Angeles Dodgers 8/1

Washington Nationals 8/1

Detroit Tigers 9/1

Los Angeles Angels 9/1

Atlanta Braves 14/1

Cincinnati Reds 14/1

New York Yankees 14/1

San Francisco Giants 14/1

Texas Rangers 14/1

Philadelphia Phillies 18/1

St. Louis Cardinals 20/1

Tampa Bay Rays 25/1

Boston Red Sox 30/1

Oakland Athletics 33/1

Baltimore Orioles 40/1

Chicago White Sox 40/1

Milwaukee Brewers 40/1

Arizona Diamondbacks 50/1

Kansas City Royals 50/1

Pittsburgh Pirates 50/1

Cleveland Indians 75/1

San Diego Padres 75/1

Seattle Mariners 75/1

Chicago Cubs 100/1

Colorado Rockies 100/1

Miami Marlins 100/1

Minnesota Twins 100/1

New York Mets 100/1

Houston Astros 200/1

 

Odds to Win 2013 AL Pennant

Toronto Blue Jays 7/2

Detroit Tigers 9/2

Los Angeles Angels 9/2

New York Yankees 13/2

Texas Rangers 13/2

Tampa Bay Rays 12/1

Boston Red Sox 14/1

Oakland Athletics 16/1

Baltimore Orioles 20/1

Chicago White Sox 20/1

Kansas City Royals 25/1

Cleveland Indians 40/1

Seattle Mariners 40/1

Minnesota Twins 50/1

Houston Astros 75/1

 

Odds to Win 2013 NL Pennant

Washington Nationals 15/4

Los Angeles Dodgers 4/1

Cincinnati Reds 6/1

Atlanta Braves 7/1

San Francisco Giants 7/1

Philadelphia Phillies 17/2

St. Louis Cardinals 9/1

Milwaukee Brewers 18/1

Arizona Diamondbacks 25/1

Pittsburgh Pirates 25/1

New York Mets 40/1

San Diego Padres 40/1

Chicago Cubs 50/1

Colorado Rockies 50/1

Miami Marlins 50/1

All odds supplied by Bovada.

Yanks, Nats and Reds Lead MLB Postseason Odds

 

The postseason is finally here and after much tinkering in the light of Wednesday’s epic final day of the season, bookmakers have released their League pennant and World Series odds.

Surprising to some, less so to other, New York, Cincinnati and Washington lead the pack, with a three-way tie in World Series odds. Of course, all of this will change quickly after tonight’s Wild Card games.

Here’s a breakdown of each of the 10 postseason teams looking to lift the Commissioner’s Trophy before the month is out.

 

AMERICAN LEAGUE

AL East champs New York are favorites to win the pennant and joint favorites (with Cincinnati and Washington) to win the World Series.

New York Yankees

Record: 95-67 (51-30 home, 44-37 away)

The Yankees can make good use of the best home record in baseball as they have homefield advantage through the ALCS. The National League’s All-Star Game victory means the Yanks will play the road schedule should they make the World Series. New York has a winning record this season against all postseason teams, excluding Cincinnati (1-2) but hasn’t played San Francisco and St. Louis. The Yankees are favorites to take the American League pennant and joint favorite (with Cincinnati and Washington) to win it all.

AL Pennant: 9/4

World Series: 5/1

 

Detroit Tigers

Record: 88-74 (50-31 home, 38-43 away)

The Tigers practically snuck in the back door to get to the postseason but as they say, it doesn’t matter how you got there. The Tigers have shot up oddsmakers polls thanks in part to Miggy Cabrera’s historic Triple Crown achievement. Detroit is well set to start off Saturday’s ALDS with Oakland, with Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer ready to go in the home leg of the series.

AL Pennant: 11/4

World Series: 6/1

 

Texas Rangers

Record: 93-69 (50-31 home, 43-38 away)

A 4-9 record over the last two weeks of the season damaged Texas in the eyes of the oddsmakers as well as hurling the Rangers into a one-game Wild Card playoff with Baltimore. The team that led the American League for so much of the season faltered at the wrong time. A win over the Orioles on Friday will put everything back on track, sort of. The Yankees await and Texas didn’t exactly make a good showing off themselves in last month’s four-game set between the two.

AL Pennant: 13/4

World Series: 7/1

 

Oakland Athletics

Record: 94-68 (50-31 home, 44-37 away)

It seems that oddsmakers are yet to believe the magic that’s transformed Oakland from a bottom of the table team to AL West champs. A young pitching staff and a roster of no-name vets and youngsters may not look appealing on paper, but the A’s have played the best baseball in the league since July. Betting against that ending now could be a mistake.

AL Pennant: 7/2

World Series: 15/2

 

Baltimore Orioles

Record: 93-69 (47-34 home, 46-35 away)

Despite an astounding season that has seen the Orioles make the postseason for the first time since 1997, oddsmakers don’t like Baltimore’s chances, either in this Friday’s Wild Card game or going forward. Up against Yu Darvish, who has played his best ball over the past month or so, the Orioles are underdogs in Texas and from here on out.

AL Pennant: 7/1

World Series: 15/1

 

NATIONAL LEAGUE

The Cincinnati Reds are marginal favorites to win the National League pennant ahead of Washington and San Francisco.

Cincinnati Reds

Record: 97-65 (50-31 home, 47-34 away)

Despite the Nationals finishing with a better record, and one that included a 5-2 edge in the head-to-head, oddsmakers like Cincinnati’s chances of taking the NL pennant more than Washington. Perhaps it’s the Stephen Strasburg effect. Perhaps it’s the solid pitching of Jose Cuerto. Perhaps it’s that San Francisco may be considered an easier series than Atlanta (if they may it out of the Wild Card). Whatever it is, separating the Reds and Nats has been a difficult task all season and isn’t about to get any easier now.

NL Pennant: 2/1

World Series: 5/1

 

Washington Nationals

Record: 98-64 (50-31 home, 48-33 away)

With both the best record and road record in baseball, you’d expect Washington to be favorites heading into the postseason, but it hasn’t been straightforward for the Nationals this season, despite such an impressive record. Atlanta has loomed all season, and holds a 7-8 win in the head-to-head stakes, whilst both the Yankees and Orioles have bettered the Nats outright this season. If hanging in there has been the theme of the year, expect more of the same this October.

NL Pennant: 9/4

World Series: 5/1

 

San Francisco Giants

Record: 94-68 (48-33 home, 46-35 away)

Somewhat forgotten in the drama of the last few days of the season, San Francisco enters the postseason quietly but with more than a few aces up its sleeve. After Melky Cabrera’s high-profile suspension, the team pulled together and ousted the Dodgers on the way to an impressive NL West win. But the Giants face a tricky path. They’ve lost head-to-heads against both Washington and Cincinnati this season whilst tying with St. Louis and beating Atlanta by just one game. If they make it out of the NLDS, whoever they face will be a tough outing. Still, how many people are rooting for the first Bay Area World Series since 1989? Without the earthquake of course.

NL Pennant: 3/1

World Series: 15/2

 

Atlanta Braves

Record: 94-68 (48-33 home, 46-35 away)

Sometimes teams find themselves in the wrong division. Atlanta played well enough this season to win a division, but Washington’s surprise season put a stop to that. The Chipper Jones farewell tour now takes in a Wild Card game with St. Louis before potentially making its way back to Washington. Despite playing tough, Atlanta doesn’t have a good record against teams in the postseason, except St. Louis (5-1) and Washington (8-7). That’s handy then. The Braves certainly have the experience to go far, and if they make it out of the Wild Card round you can expect those odds to be slashed.

NL Pennant: 13/2

World Series: 12/1

 

St. Louis Cardinals

Record: 88-74 (50-31 home, 38-43 away)

Underdogs last year, underdogs again this year. St. Louis played well enough to make the postseason, they just had to wait for the trailing pack to, well, trail off. Up against Kris Medlen and the Braves in the Wild Card game on Friday, things don’t look good for the Cards, but this is a team used to upset wins. The Birds have played Cincinnati, Washington and San Francisco tight this year, so if they do manage to upset Atlanta, there may be no limit to what is achievable this year, just like last year.

NL Pennant: 7/1

World Series: 15/1

Football Betting Action and Wild Card Baseball Prep

 

It’s Thursday night. What are you doing? Are you watching football? Are you prepping for the beginning of the MLB postseason tomorrow? Or are you twiddling your thumbs waiting for the NHL to pull its finger out?

Okay, nobody’s doing the latter. However, if you are missing out on some hockey action, head over to Bovada for some playful props. Ask yourself: will the Oilers go to Seattle? Is Pat LaFontaine crazy enough to buy the Islanders? And what’s the good of being favorites to win a league that probably won’t play (again) this year? The Penguins would love to know the answer to that last one.

Anyway, back to business.

Football’s back tonight with NFL and NCAA matchups. We’ll look at both below. Then, after yesterday’s stunning season finales, we’ll take a look at the Wild Card matchups on tap for Friday.

 

NFL: Arizona Cardinals @ St. Louis Rams

Thursday, 8:20 PM ET

Kevin Kolb and the Arizona Cardinals look to make it 5-0 on the season with a visit to the St. Louis Rams. The St. Louis Cardinals meanwhile are down in Atlanta for postseason play.

Preseason, this particular edition of Thursday Night Football looked dead in the water. An AFC West matchup not involving San Francisco? Why bother? Hands together then for Arizona (4-0) making this one a little more interesting.

The Cardinals, who were frankly underrated prior to this season, will look to nudge to 5-0 with a win over St. Louis (2-2). History suggests that’s exactly what will happen, with the Cards having taken the last eight road games in this fixture.

St. Louis – far from off to a bad start – could play spoilers, although oddsmakers think otherwise. Arizona opened as 2 ½-point favorites, a number that has fallen to 1 ½. Nearly 64 percent of bettors have followed suit. The over/under is 39 ½.

Take: ARIZONA — The birds will win another close one (three games this season have been decided by four or fewer) and enjoy being amongst the ‘elite’ for another week.

 

NCAAF: #13 USC @ Utah

Thursday, 9 PM ET

Remember when you wrote USC off? It was three weeks ago after that loss to Stanford. Well, #13 USC is looking to make another run at those polls and a National Championship.

After beating Cal two weeks ago, the Trojans (3-1, 1-1 Pac-12) have had an extra week to prepare for its first trip to Utah (2-2, 0-1 Pac-12) in 95 years.

If we learnt nothing more than Washington’s Thursday night win over Stanford last week, it’s always to expect the unexpected. Except in this game.

Take: USC — The Trojans will make short work of Utah and begin to ascend the ranks again, beating the 14 ½ spread in the process. Whether it’s too late for a National Championship remains to be seen.

Also playing: Arkansas State @ Florida International (7:30 ET) | East Carolina @ UCF (8 PM ET)

 

MLB Wild Card (NL): St. Louis Cardinals @ Atlanta Braves

Friday, 5 PM ET

Kris Medlen will go for the Atlanta Braves as they host St. Louis in the inaugural NL Wild Card playoff game.

Whilst you’ve got the football on, remember to start making your picks for the MLB postseason. Oddsmakers are still working on the ins and outs of odds as I write this, but expect the Yankees to enter as favorites. Of the nine other teams involved in the postseason, only Cincinnati has a winning record against the Bombers this season, although San Francisco and St. Louis have yet to face the 27-time world champions.

Before that though, Atlanta (94-68, 48-33 home) hosts the Cardinals (88-74, 38-43 road) at Turner Field on Saturday. This one looks like a cakewalk for the Braves, particularly when you factor in Atlanta’s 5-1 advantage over the Red Birds this season and St. Louis’ less than stellar road record.

But then again, upsets were made for games like this. Still, Atlanta is favorite with 80 percent of bettors taking that action.

Take: ATLANTA — Because the Braves simply don’t lose when Kris Medlen (10-1, 1.57 ERA) is on the mound.

 

MLB Wild Card (AL): Baltimore Orioles @ Texas Rangers

Friday, 8:30 PM ET

Over in the American League, Baltimore (93-69, 46-35 road) travels to Texas (93-69, 50-31 home) for the one-game Wild Card playoff.

The O’s perhaps would have preferred hosting this one – something Wednesday night’s loss to Tampa Bay made impossible – but in fairness the Maryland club hasn’t had the best of seasons against the Rangers. Texas is 5-2 against Baltimore, including a 2-1 record in Arlington.

But emotions could play a huge part in this one. How are the Rangers going to feel after allowing the AL west crown to slip away? How is the team – favorites to take the World Series just a week ago – going to cope with the knowledge that it’s do or die? Will Yu Darvish (16-9, 3.90 ERA) cope with the pressure? Who will pitch for the O’s?

There’s just about as many questions to answer here as there was going into the last day of the season. One thing we do know is that the New York Yankees lay in wait.

Take: EITHER — This one’s as good as flipping a coin. Yes, you can imagine all of Texas’ hard work unraveling and the Orioles continuing their surprising season, but you can also imagine Texas using this as motivation in the same way St. Louis did last year, leaving the Orioles to wonder ‘what if?’ until spring rolls around. Need a pick? Okay. Go with…Texas. Postseason experience pays off in the end.

Final Day of MLB Regular Season?

The surprising Baltimore Orioles (above) and Oakland Athletics will both look to take division titles away from their heavily-favored opponents, New York and Texas.

 

In this rollercoaster ride of a season, is it any surprise that we arrive at the final day of the season with as many questions as answers?

After 161 games, we’ve seen Baltimore, Oakland, Pittsburgh and Washington surprise everybody. We’ve seen Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Arizona – all making the postseason last year – underachieve while Boston straight up bottomed out. We’ve seen Detroit falter, yet somehow manage to curb the White Sox and make the postseason.

With unsuspecting storylines aplenty, we really shouldn’t be surprised that only after Wednesday’s slate of games will many of our remaining questions be answered. And it could take even longer than that.

 

National League All But Sorted

San Francisco’s win over the Dodgers on Tuesday night eliminated the Los Angeles (85-76) side from postseason contention, handing St. Louis (87-74) – who fell to Cincinnati earlier in the evening – the second and final Wild Card berth.

Following Wednesday’s wrap-up with the Reds, the Cardinals will travel to Atlanta (93-68) for a Wild Card showdown with the Braves. It’s a matchup that’s been on the cards [no pun intended] for the better part of a month now, but it took until game 161 to confirm it.

Bettors looking for an edge should consider this: Atlanta is 5-1 against St. Louis this season, with a 2-1 record at Turner Field.

The only other question left in the National League is who will finish with the number one seed. Washington (97-64) and Cincinnati (97-64) remained tied for best record in the NL and the Majors with wins on Tuesday night. Washington holds the tiebreaker by way of a 5-2 head-to-head record.

A Washington win or a Cincinnati loss will give the Nationals homefield advantage throughout the postseason, as well as setting up a Divisional Series against the winner of the Wild Card game.

A Cincinnati win coupled with a Washington loss gives Cincinnati the homefield advantage, while sending Washington to San Francisco for the opening Divisional Series.

 

AL West Crown To Be Decided Wednesday Afternoon

Having essentially shocked the world, Oakland (93-68) took a 3-1 win over Texas (93-68) on Tuesday night to put the two sides neck and neck with one game to play.

Having been a season-high 13 games behind on June 30, Oakland has rallied and astonishingly caught up with the Rangers, who have led the division since game 3 of the season.

Wednesday’s game (3:35 PM ET) will decide the division winner, with the loser heading to the Wild Card game on Friday.

Of course, trying to separate these two is tough enough, but determining who ends up going where later this week is all but impossible. Here’s what we can deduce at this time.

If Oakland loses on Wednesday, the team will be hitting the road for the Wild Card round. The A’s will take on the AL East division runner up (either the Orioles or Yankees).

If Texas loses, their destination will depend on how the AL East plays out. Texas currently holds the tiebreaker over Baltimore, but an Orioles win on Wednesday erases that advantage. New York holds the tiebreaker over Texas regardless. So, Texas could be headed to Baltimore or The Bronx, or could host the Orioles at Rangers Ballpark.

 

AL East Could Go Beyond 162

Despite expectations, having started hot, Baltimore (93-68) has never fallen away and now the Orioles are heading to the postseason for the first time since 1997. Keeping with the theme of hanging in there, the Maryland side could still win the AL East outright.

For the New York Yankees (94-67) it’s simple: win on Wednesday and take the division title. But things haven’t exactly gone according to plan for the Bronx Bombers this season, and with a seething Boston side visiting Yankee Stadium one last time this season, you wouldn’t be laughed at for putting your money on the Red Sox being spoilers on Wednesday night.

It’s fairly simple for Baltimore too. While the O’s no longer have their fate in their own hands, a win in Tampa Bay is a necessity on Wednesday. Why?

A win coupled with a Yankees loss forces game 163. The AL East decider would be played at Camden Yards – the two sides have split 18 games evenly, but Baltimore has a better record against the AL East, which is the second tiebreaker.

Even if the Yankees win and take the title on Wednesday, a win for Baltimore over the Rays guarantees homefield advantage in the Wild Card round. As it stands, Baltimore owns the tiebreaker against Oakland but not Texas, both of whom currently hold an identical record to the Orioles. With the two deciding the AL West title on Wednesday, Baltimore would do well to ensure that whoever loses has to make the long trip east.

 

But what does all this mean to the betting odds?

Well, with the way the season’s played out so far, would you bet against Oakland shocking Texas and taking the title? Would you bet against game 163 being won by Baltimore, leaving the Yankees to face Texas – the two teams with shortest odds of winning the World Series – in a one-game playoff? That would certainly cost a lot of people a lot of money.

Whichever way you look at it, with one day left of the regular season it would be tough for Major League Baseball to be any more exciting.