MLB Futures Odds: National League Best Bets
by CarbonSports - 7/19/2014
Pick #1: St Louis Cardinals to win NL Central (+120)
Nothing like getting the tried and true St Louis Cardinals at +120 to win this division. St Louis has been a championship contender for the past handful of seasons and although they lost Yadier Molina for about two months, this team has enough depth and experience to overtake the Brewers and fend off Cincinnati and Pittsburgh for yet another NL Central crown.
This is one of the deepest division's in the majors with four teams all having a chance at the title, but it's tough to go against the Cards here. Milwaukee has come back down to earth after a 2-11 SU stretch before the All-Star break and the Reds are battling numerous injuries with Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips on the shelf. As talented as those teams are, they both lack that playoff acumen to bow their necks and win critical games come September, and that's where the Redbirds have a huge advantage.
Pittsburgh made the post-season last year and the young guys on that roster gained some valuable experience, but they don't have the pitching depth they had a season ago and with a 20-26 SU record on the road (the only one of these four with a losing road record), I don't think you'll be able to trust them down the stretch when they are away from PNC Park.
So while the loss of Molina stings deeply for Cardinals fans, they've got a lot to fall back on within their organization. This franchise seemingly brings up a new young star or two every season and the Molina injury along with Wacha's uncertain future gives guys like Tony Cruz and Carlos Martinez a chance to step up and prove themselves. It's something many young guys in the Cardinals organization have done before and with management's keen eye for talent, I don't think these young guys will let St Louis down.
Pick #2: San Francisco Giants to win NL West (+220)
The Giants are another team that entered the All-Star break in 2nd place in their division as they trail the Dodgers by a single game. San Francisco got off to a blistering start this year but have come back down a bit over the last month and many don't believe they've got the high-priced talent to keep up with L.A this year. But we can't forget about 2010 and 2012 when the Giants won it all with a team that many consistently overlooked and I believe 2014 could be very similar.
On paper, the Giants don't have a dominant pitcher like Kershaw, but they've got five solid ones throughout their entire rotation. They don't have the high-profile names like Puig, Ramirez, Gonzalez or Kemp, but they do have a former MVP in Buster Posey and new addition Michael Morse has brought a lot of pop to this lineup. The Giants also have a much better bullpen than the Dodgers (4th in MLB compared to 19th for L.A) and are actually the only team in the entire NL West that is up $ for bettors this year. That tells me that the Giants are consistently undervalued by odds makers and the betting public, which means there is tremendous value on this future line as well.
San Francisco is also a team that won't panic come crunch time in September and with every game from September 9th on out (19 games) against NL West rivals, that's the time when the Giants will make their push past L.A and claim this division.
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