After a disappointing exit from the 2016 postseason, the Los Angeles Dodgers are reloaded and prepped for another run at the title. Dem Bums boast one of the best rosters in all of baseball, and with a starting rotation that can rival that of the Cubs if it performs to its capability, the Dodgers should be taken very seriously in World Series speculations.
They opened as the -250 favorites at online sportsbook Bovada to take down the NL West, with the Giants coming back at +275 odds to win it. LA has now won the division four straight years so it’s not ridiculous to pencil them in as the 2017 champs as they potentially have the best team they’ve had this millennium.
Shortstop Corey Seager (.308, 26 HRs in 2016) is the centerpiece of a well-rounded infield which also includes newly acquired Logan Forsythe, veteran slugger Adrian Gonzalez and steady-as-she-goes third baseman Justin Turner. Where the Dodgers will have their biggest advantage this season, though, is on the pitching mound. Their projected starting rotation is made up of Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, Kenta Maeda, Scott Kazmir and Julio Urias – given he can make the jump to the majors. If he doesn’t stick, that fifth spot will most likely be occupied by righty Brandon McCarthy, who’s no slouch either.
That’s an absolute murderers row of arms but it doesn’t stop there as the Dodgers possess one of the best closers in the game in Kenley Jansen and a solid bullpen. Kenley, fresh off signing a new deal, earned 47 saves in 2016 along with a sparkling 1.83 ERA in 68.2 innings pitched and the Dutchman is primed for another Mariano Rivera-like season pitching behind setup men Sergio Romo and Pedro Baez.
All that said, do any teams have a chance to usurp the long-reigning NL West champs? Of course they do. LA has had problems with injuries and consistency the past two seasons and a team like the Giants, who always have a slew of homegrown talent, will always be knocking on the door but with the regression they’ve experienced the past season and a half, San Fran could be pushed aside by the up-and-coming Colorado Rockies.
Bovada has the mile-high home run hitters at +900 on their oddsboard but I feel they are a better team than their odds imply. They have one of the most dynamic batting lineups in the majors with the addition of Ian Desmond and if their pitching improves – even just marginally – this team has the chance to contend.
Beyond those three we have the +1600 Diamondbacks and the San Diego Padres, who are the longest of long shots with +5000 odds to win the NL West. Neither team did enough in the offseason to improve garbage rosters and the Pads have a chance to be truly terrible with almost no recognizable faces in their projected lineup and it makes me feel just awful for Wil Myers, as he’d be a potential MVP candidate on basically any other team.
|Los Angeles Dodgers||-250|
|San Francisco Giants||+275|
|San Diego Padres||+5000|
Odds as of March 1 at Bovada
At the halfway point of the MLB season, the National League West race is all orange and black.
The San Francisco Giants (57-33 at the All-Star break) are heavy -700 favorites to win the division at Bovada. The Los Angeles Dodgers (51-40) are listed at +400.
The Colorado Rockies (40-48), San Diego Padres (38-51) and Arizona Diamondbacks (38-52) aren’t even available to wager on at the shop. If any team other than the Giants or Dodgers made a run, it would be a major surprise.
San Fran hasn’t won the West since 2012, but they’re in great shape to do it again this year. The last time the Giants had the best record in baseball at the break was in 1993, a direct result of dominant pitching. A third of baseball’s franchises have yet to throw a complete game, but Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto have combined to accomplish the feat seven times.
Do you think the Dodgers can eclipse the Giants?
|San Francisco Giants||-700|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||+400|
Odds as of July 12 at Bovada
After a few rough patches during their first month of play, the San Francisco Giants have become…well, the San Francisco Giants. The team is one of the better clubs in the National League at the plate as they rank inside the top 10 in the MLB in both runs and on-base percentage. To add to their consistent bats, their offseason spending spree on pitching has paid dividends with Jeff Samardzija and Johnny Cueto joining Madison Bumgarner to form one of the best rotations in baseball.
All things said, the Giants have become a massive -175 favorite to win the NL West this season per Bovada.
The Los Angeles Dodgers dropped behind the Giants with anyone in their rotation not named Clayton Kershaw looking pretty mediocre. There is still tons of potential within the rotation – Kenta Maeda looked like a Cy Young candidate after the first month and Ross Stripling has flashed potential.
The rest of the division is at least 7.5 games back of the Giants and under .500 as of June 1.
|San Francisco Giants||-175|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||+170|
|San Diego Padres||+10000|
Odds as of June 1 at Bovada
The National League West looks like it will be a dog fight between the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers, which should be a shock to approximately nobody. The Dodgers and Giants have finished one-two in the NL West three of the past four seasons.
The Dodgers are a bit of an odd team statistically through the early portion of the season, as they rank ninth in runs scored by 19th in batting average and 29th in home runs. The pitching staff is held together by Clayton Kershaw and Kenta Maeda, who could be the best pitching duo by season’s end.
The Giants are one of the best hitting teams in baseball and rank inside the top five in basically every statistical category at the plate. San Fran’s pitching staff needs to settle down though, as their five regular starters have a combined 5.14 ERA.
Despite plenty of early season struggles, especially with their rotation, the Arizona Diamondbacks are still close behind in the futures market. The D-Backs are swinging big bats, but offseason acquisitions Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller both have an ERA over 4.90.
|Los Angeles Dodgers||+120|
|San Francisco Giants||+140|
|San Diego Padres||+5000|
Odds as of May 3 at Bovada
Since winning the 2010 World Series, the San Francisco Giants have gone on to win the Fall Classic in each of the even-numbered seasons following that triumph. This being 2016 makes the campaign all the more intriguing for Giants bettors and the Boys From the Bay are already the early faves at the sportsbook to win the National League West.
Online shop Bovada is currently offering the Giants at +125 to win a division that is essentially a three-horse race with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks not far behind.
The G-Men reloaded the pitching staff by adding Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija who are probable to own the No. 2 and No. 3 spots in the starting rotation respectively. The infield is as good as it gets across the MLB landscape and with Buster Posey behind the dish, that loaded staff, that is already anchored by the great Madison Bumgarner, is in good hands.
Even though Clayton Kershaw is still on the scene, the Dodgers’ starting rotation is missing that formidable 1-2 punch now that Zack Greinke is gone. The likes of Scott Kazmir and Brett Anderson doesn’t evoke the same fear, but it’s a solid, if unspectacular staff nonetheless. Expect a big season from youngster Corey Seager, who is projected to start at SS for the Dodgers, as he could be a big producer for the club in 2016 and could be a factor if they are to win the division and cash at +150.
The big team to watch in the West is the Arizona Diamondbacks, currently at +300 at Bovada. The rotation got a facelift as the club added Zack Greinke and shipped the highly-touted Dansby Swanson to the Atlanta Braves for Shelby Miller. The batting order boasts two of the better hitters in the Senior Circuit in Paul Goldschmidt and A.J. Pollock but, beyond David Peralta, lacks in the way of support for those two big bats.
The value in the division basically falls off a cliff after those three clubs. The San Diego Padres come in at +1200 but after failing to live up to the hype of the their free-spending hijinks of a year ago, probably don’t instill a ton of confidence in futures markets.
Then, finally, there’s the Colorado Rockies. If you are not a citizen of the great state of Colorado and/or a great fan of the Rockies, you basically have zero reason to back this team. Beyond Nolan Arenado, this is a franchise that doesn’t have much going for it in 2016.
|San Francisco Giants||+125|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||+150|
|San Diego Padres||+1200|
Odds as of March 28 at Bovada
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