Last Updated: 2019-03-05
The February 28 signing of Bryce Harper did a lot to shake up the odds for the World Series and the National League pennant. Both big-ticket free agents signed in the NL, but Manny Machado signed with the San Diego Padres and they are a long shot to do anything of consequence. Harper, however, signed with the Philadelphia Phillies and they vaulted up the odds board as a team that was a pretty serious contender and is now the favorite at some sportsbooks to head to the Fall Classic.
The NL pennant race is going to be a good one. The Los Angeles Dodgers have a firm grasp on the NL West crown, but there are nine good teams and the Miami Marlins in the other divisions in the Senior Circuit. It is worth mentioning that all four NL East contenders get 19 cracks at the Marlins. That seems like a benefit compared to the NL Central teams, who will spend 76 of the 162 games this season beating each other up.
Without a crystal ball to see into the future, it isn’t easy to handicap this race. Health will likely be the determining factor and all of the top contenders have some health risks. Also, keep in mind that tying up financial resources for seven months is a tough decision to make when it comes to something such as this, where legitimately seven or eight teams can go to the World Series. This isn’t like tying up funds on an over or an under season win total bet.
That being said, bettors should not be deterred if they perceive value in the NL or even the AL pennant odds.
These are current as of time of writing on March 5, 2019 at BetOnline Sportsbook.
|Los Angeles Dodgers
|St. Louis Cardinals
|New York Mets
|San Diego Padres
|San Francisco Giants
Here are some considerations for the NL pennant:
Washington Nationals (+800) – The Bryce Harper fallout has probably overcorrected the NL East betting market. The Phillies went to +125 to win the NL East, while the Nationals are second in the betting pecking order at +300. Previously, the two teams were on pretty equal footing in that respect. Washington still has the big three of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Patrick Corbin to contend with in a short series, if the Nationals were to get through the NLDS. The concern for any East Coast team would be the travel to Los Angeles, in all likelihood, for the NLCS.
Milwaukee Brewers (+1000) – This is too high of a price for the Brewers. The NL Central is essentially a three-team coin flip, yet the Brewers are +1000 while the Cardinals are +750 and the Cubs are +700. I’ll take some value there. But, speaking of NL Central value…
The Pittsburgh Pirates would be a long shot option at +5000. A spot in the Wild Card Game is not out of the realm of possibility. The Pirates potentially have a top-five bullpen in baseball and bullpens are quite important when it comes to the postseason, as managers have a quicker hook with their starters. There could be some equity in the Pirates, if everybody stays healthy on offense and holding a 50/1 ticket nets significant hedging value if the Pirates simply make it to that one-game playoff.
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