Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 09:54 AM
Future Bets - NL West
2020 MLB National League West Best Bets
I've run through the other two National League divisions -- East and Central -- so all that's left is to head out west and look at the division that oddsmakers have basically already given the LA Dodgers. LA enters the year as 1/9 favorites to win their eighth straight division crown. Considering the Dodgers just acquired Mookie Betts and David Price from Boston to bolster an already loaded lineup, LA is definitely deserving of opening the year at this kind of price.
National League West - Win Totals
Arizona Diamondbacks 83.5
Colorado Rockies 74.5
Los Angeles Dodgers 98.5
San Diego Padres 82.5
San Francisco Giants 68.5
National League West - Odds to Make Playoffs
Arizona Diamondbacks (+160) No (-190)
Colorado Rockies Yes (+1000) No (-2000)
Los Angeles Dodgers Yes (-1200) No (+750)
San Diego Padres Yes (+190) No (-240)
San Francisco Giants Yes (+4000) No (-2000)
Tough to find a legit reason to bet against the Dodgers to win the division this year, but that's not the only future out there. We can look to capitalize on being correct in which division rivals may or may not threaten LA more times than not, so that's where I'll begin.
Season Win Total Best Bet
San Diego Padres Over 82.5
When the Padres landed Manny Machado in free agency last year, they were able to sell Machado on their 3-5 year plan on being a legit World Series contender in that span. They already had plenty of great young arms moving through their system and reaching the majors, and some of those guys had their coming out parties in 2019. How San Diego's young rotation holds up for an entire year with bigger expectations in 2020 remains to be seen, but even if that staff does take a minor step back, this team has a great mix of talent all over the field behind them.
The thing is, San Diego's brass were not wrong in their pitch to Machado in selling him on the future of this franchise, and even after a 70-92 season a year ago, they could be considered ahead of schedule. To reach that ultimate goal in that time span, the organization has to make sure they clear the necessary steps, and the major one this year is to finish with a winning record. SS Fernando Tatis Jr's arrival on the scene allowed expectations to be accelerated a bit with what he flashed on both sides of the diamond, and bringing in Jurickson Profar – a former highly touted minor league prospect in baseball – to team with Tatis up the middle could pay off with huge dividends. They've already got Machado and Eric Hosmer manning the corner infield positions, and the acquisition of a veteran guy who knows what it feels like to win in Tommy Pham should help further the Padres culture in that locker room this year.
Getting to .500 will start with playing much better within the division for the Padres, as a 31-45 record against NL West opponents was the worst in the division. But even with the Dodgers being even better on paper then they were a year ago in their great year, San Francisco is much worse, Colorado could end up selling their starts if they don't overachieve relative to their projections, and Arizona may have added Madison Bumgarner and Starling Marte, but they've got a lot of questions offensively still. Remember, it was San Diego's pitching staff that was the key factor for the first four months of the year before everything fell off late – San Diego finished the year 9-21 SU in their last 30 games.
If that pitching staff ends up taking another step forward, and the rest of this roster does as well, then this will be that year that the Padres do take that next step and finish the year with a winning record, likely in the mid-to-high 80's in wins. Split the season series with the loaded Dodgers and maybe even the longshot dream of competing for a division crown this season becomes more of a reality then seems possible right now.
That's too far fetched to consider taking a shot with the Padres division odds in the 10/1 range now, but expecting a big improvement from San Diego isn't. This is a team that does finish the year multiple games over the .500 mark.
Team Future Best Bet
Arizona Diamondbacks to make the playoffs: NO (-190)
The other team that's projected to be the biggest threat to the Dodgers in this division are the Arizona Diamondbacks. The word 'threat' can be used lightly there as chances are the Dodgers do ultimately cruise to another division crown, but Arizona is still projected to be better than San Diego this year – in terms of season win total odds and making the playoffs odds, and I just don't see it.
Yes, Starling Marte and Madison Bumgarner are two big name additions to this D-Backs squad, but Bumgarner is only going to impact things every fifth day as it is, and it's not like he's been the world beater in recent years that he was for the Giants during those World Series years. There isn't much else past him in the starting rotation in my view, and relying on the Marte brothers to carry the load offensively is a bit much. They are great secondary weapons offensively in my view, not necessarily the ones you need to count on all the time.
It's this Arizona offense that really presents a lot of question marks for me, and playing in the ball park that they do, that's got to be a big concern. There is plenty plenty of space in that outfield and this does appear to be a lineup that's more suited to beat up on teams with double after double, but it's also got the look and feel of those San Francisco Giants teams Bumgarner was recently a part of where there will be long stretches of games where they struggle to do much offensively.
And then in terms of this being a miss the playoffs bet, you've got to look at the rest of the National League as a whole. It's not hard to argue that the two Wildcard teams are likely to come from the NL East and NL Central given the races we are likely to have there. There is just next to nothing in terms of wiggle room for Arizona, and it's a price that I would have made 30-40 cents higher to be honest. Anything under -200 for Arizona missing out on the playoffs is chalk I've got no problem laying.
Player Prop Best Bet
Trevor Story Over 32.5 Home Runs
Story's proven to be a workhorse in his three seasons starting the year in the majors and that's always something to keep in mind with these season long props. 33 or more HR's is a bit of an ask for a guy that may miss significant time, and Story has not shown in his career that he is someone that succumbs to his body. 145+ games in each of the past three years proves that.
The last two seasons we've seen Story eclipse this total with 37 HR's in 2018, and 35 HR's a year ago. It's always an advantage playing half your games at Coors Field, and Story will likely take full advantage of it again this year. Last year he had 24 of his 35 HR's at home, and although there were just 11 hit as a visitor, that's probably all he'll need to do again in 2020 to cash this bet.