Mar. 19, 2021
NL East Betting Odds & Forecast
2021 NL East Division Odds
Hard not to be the preseason winners of this division if you are the New York Mets with the moves they made during the offseason, adding Francisco Lindor to the middle of an infield that's got one of the best starting rotations in baseball pitching in front of them.
No matter how New York constructs their rotation throughout the year, they are going to be sending a stud or former stud to the mound nearly every night. That alone is going to win a lot of games for this team.
The Mets aren't the only team in this division with a strong pitching staff from front to back, as Washington's built in a similar mold. The former World Champs still have a trio of Scherzer, Strasburg, and Corbin at the top, and they've added a name like Jon Lester (among others) to that staff.
The Nationals also have the player with the best NL MVP odds within this division in Juan Soto, and the entire Nationals lineup is built to churn like a machine when everyone is contributing. Adding a power bat like former Cub Kyle Schwarber won't hurt Washington's chances either.
Former Nationals slugger Bryce Harper is still out in Philadelphia, playing for a Phillies team that's built to win games one way: with their offense. The nightly lineup the Phillies can throw out there each night will be downright scary for some opponents, but how successful that method of team building works in a division with multiple teams loaded with multiple pitchers remains to be seen.
Based on the Phillies price, there isn't a whole lot of optimism that this team can be the best of the bunch in the NL East, and it's because their pitching is a huge question mark. Does make Philly a good candidate to be an 'over' team for game totals early in the year if the bats start out the season hot, but they deserve to be ranked 4th in this division because of that pitching, even if the price does feel a little too high.
The Braves also deserve to be the favorites to repeat as division champs, even if the price margin is slim between themselves and the Mets. Atlanta won this division in the “sprint” last year by four games, over the Marlins mind you. The three likely contenders to Atlanta's crown this year were all at least seven full games worse than the Braves a year ago too.
A full 162-game race track for these teams to run out in deciding the standings can help those chasing the Braves, but the Braves are built to do everything well, and if they execute on that level again this year and get a MVP-caliber performance reigning winner Freddie Freeman (or Acuna, Albies etc), it's going to be tough to see the Braves getting dethroned here.
Can't fault anyone for liking any one of those four teams at the top to take this division title down. There are all highly positive cases for each of those organizations where a 95+ win campaign is how 2021 plays out for them, and the prices are definitely there for Nationals and Phillies backers.
Not so sure that's the case with the Mets price, but that team should do big things in 2021. How big remains to be seen.
2021 National League Pennant Odds
Since there are arguments to be had for four different teams in this division to be division champs, you can't deny that the team that does outlast the bunch will have done so having been tested plenty.
That can only be looked at as a good thing in terms of futures numbers down the road for the NL East winner, as they'll be comfortable and confident against anyone, like say, a favored L.A. Dodgers or San Diego Padres team in the NLCS.
Saying that is all well and good in theory, but it still puts us back to the original question of where a bettor would be willing to go in the NL East Division markets. Doubling up or splitting a unit on the same team to win the division and pennant is always an option as well, as the latter market does keep alive a playoff run from a Wild Card seed as well.
At least one of the Wild Card berths in the NL could easily come from this division, so even going with the approach of mitigating any division risk with a bigger stake on a pennant future can be the route to go too.
Finally, for bettors that are the big time believers in everything the Mets have done and what they expect to get in returns from those moves this year, skipping over the division markets and getting about 5-1 on them to make the World Series could be the way to go.
New York's pitching staff should be able to hold their own against the likes of the Dodgers/Padres etc, and the protection against a Mets sluggish start (as they adapt to the changes) costing them the division is worth the price/risk trade off in my opinion.
Following a disappointing 2020 season with high expectations, the Phillies look to rebound and make it to the top of the NL East. (AP)
2021 World Series Odds
Again, any Mets bettors should add a World Series ticket to any other futures they are holding on New York, and there's probably no way, or need to convince them otherwise.
On paper, New York's got all the pieces in place to go off and win a title if everything breaks right for them, and at that price they are still tied with the Braves for the 3rd best price for any NL team, meaning the likelihood of it happening isn't like that play is going way out on a limb or anything.
Same thing goes for the Braves in the identical situation for bettors that believe they still aren't getting their due for how good they really are.
The Nationals and Phillies are interesting cases for the World Series market in that for them to reach this position and those play(s) having a chance to cash, the season for that team had to have gone extremely well.
If that's the case, and that's the belief for a bettor, going heavier with the stake on the Nats/Phillies to win the division and/or pennant would probably be my preferred way to go there.
It is only one extra series, but the Phillies rotation as is would have a severe challenge against any AL World Series representative, and Washington can rely on their pitching too much that things look really bad when the pitching isn't there.
Having a bit more stake at 6/1 or 8.75/1 on those teams for the division or their 20/1 prices to just make the World Series is still going to be a nice payday.
2021 NL East Win Totals Odds
Outside of 2020, two of the previous six seasons saw the NL East winner finish with exactly 90 wins, so as contrary as it may sound in relation to those previous team futures to win various banners, looking at the 'unders' on either the Braves or Mets is definitely an option for those looking to fade those teams in 2021.
If all four teams at the top are good, a Miami 'under' is worthy of consideration, but the Marlins held their own just fine last year. A longer season only hurts Miami's chances of sustaining that level of play, but they are a team that probably lands within two or three games on either side of that number.
All four top teams being good also means their might not be enough wins to go around for both the Braves and Mets to get up and over their numbers.
The way I would approach these win totals would be to go with the team between Washington and Philly I thought would be better than expected, and pair that 'over' with the 'under' on the team I thought wouldn't live up to expectations between Atlanta and New York.
Everything probably ends up so correlated in this division that a bunch of teams finishing in the high 80's of wins makes a lot of sense this year. Should give bettors one 'over' and one 'under' for those four teams with win totals of 80.5 or higher.
2021 NL East Playoff Props
Again, this market is something I'd treat completely different to the team futures markets from earlier, unless being extremely high on Washington or Philadelphia is Plan A for the bettor. Then it's pile on the Nats/Phillies for division, NL pennant, and anything else, as long as the 'yes' on making the playoffs is included as well.
Washington at +130 feels like a solid relationship between price and probability, as their pitching staff should be among one of the better ones in the league, and the balance they can achieve offensively can be extremely envious.
Treating this differently means that the 'no' options for the Braves and/or Mets are the plays on the negative side of the equation this year that probably makes the most sense. With how close this division should likely be, there is always going to be varying opinions, and wanting to sell high on Atlanta and/or New York isn't the worst option.
The same bettor isn't going to have one of them to win the Pennant/World Series and consider the 'no' on the playoff prop obviously, (they could), but expecting one of those plus-money options on Atlanta/New York/Washington/Philadelphia to connect is very reasonable. Plenty of options along that route that are up to the individual.
2021 NL East MVP Contenders
You'd have to go back to the 2010 winner (Joey Votto) and 2011 winner (Ryan Braun) to find the last time consecutive NL MVP's came from the same division. With Atlanta's Freddie Freeman winning this award last year, that history might hurt the chances of all these names.
You'd have to go back to the 2008-09 seasons to find the last time a NL MVP repeated as winner (Albert Pujols) in Freeman's case specifically, and the last time we had two different players from the same team win the NL MVP was 2006-07 when Philly's Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins grabbed the hardware. That kills off any interest I were to have in any of Atlanta's players on this list, and it's backed by where the Braves will show up in the selections later on.
Do think it's tough for Lindor to go to off to a different team and win a MVP award in his first year, but being the biggest change on a team that could have a huge change in results this year already has some built in MVP sentiment to Lindor's case.
You probably don't even have to be all that high on the Mets to back Lindor or any of New York's other names either. MVP's generally go to players on a team that won their division, so if you believe the Mets ceiling in 2021 is a NL East title, a MVP award for their best player is definitely not out of the question.
Soto is the complete player already in this league at his young age, and from a career arc perspective, it's easy to see a league MVP landing on his resume at some point. Being the guy a specific NL team relies upon for the “clutch” hit late in games has worked out well for past NL MVP's.
Albert Pujols won the award three times in five years at the peak of his powers in St. Louis, and his first award came after Barry Bonds had won four straight. Both were guys who sat in the middle of the order, took a walk when that's all that was offered, but cashed in when those opportunities were there as well.
You can say the same thing about the seasons recent MVP's had as well, as Cody Bellinger (2019), Christian Yelich (2018), Giancarlo Stanton (2017), Kris Bryant (2016), and Bryce Harper (2015) were all guys that were routinely pitched around in those seasons because of how often they put bat on ball for a hit.
Soto's got all those characteristics already in his game, and with the Nats expecting their starting pitching to keep things tight at worst, there are going to be plenty of opportunities for Washington bats to come up with those game-deciding hits in the late innings.
2021 NL East Cy Young Contenders
When there are names coming back from injury like Marcus Stroman (+5000) and Noah Syndergaard (+5000) not even making this already extensive list, pitcher's duels might be the norm in the NL East this season. So many legitimate options for this award coming from this division that it's another one of those categories where personal preference is going to trump any kind of persuasive perspective presented.
The Braves pitching staff might actually be a bit underrated here if the other prices on Atlanta this year are correct or even undershooting things, and one of the two younger guys in Fried or Soroka may be the go-to selections there. That is for believers in Atlanta though. Anyone else is going to be looking elsewhere, and for me, that again lands me in Washington.
If the Mets are dominant, then deGrom will be a big part of it, but he also won't be asked (or needed) to do as much hopefully for the Mets and that probably hurts his individual award prospects.
He's already somewhat competing against himself having won in 2018 and 2019, and if his team is exponentially better than they were in those years (highly likely), the natural expectation is to need EVEN more from deGrom to give him the award again. Makes it tough to see him get the award again in many scenarios, and something I'm not interested in concerning myself with.
2021 National League East Predictions
Best Bet/Value on NL East Division Winner
Best Bet: Washington (+600)
Best Bet/Value on National League Pennant Winner
Best Value: Washington (+2000)
Best Bet/Value for World Series Winner
Best Value: New York (+1000)
Best Bets/Value for NL East Win Totals
Best Over: Washington (84.5)
Best Under: Atlanta (91.5)
Best Bet/Value for Yes/No in the 2021 MLB Playoffs
Best Bet: Washington - Yes (+130)
Best Bets/Value for Individual Awards
Best Bet MVP: Juan Soto, Washington (+750)
Best Value Cy Young: Patrick Corbin, Washington (+2800)
National League East Betting History
Year - Winner (Last 10)
Odds Subject to Change - per BetMGM