Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:52 AM
Future Odds Outlook - National League Pennant
MLB Futures Betting Outlook
National League League - Wild Card Round
- No. 1 Los Angeles Dodgers vs. No. 8 Milwaukee Brewers
- No. 2 Atlanta Braves vs. No. 7 Cincinnati Reds
- No. 3 Chicago Cubs vs. No. 6 Miami Marlins
- No. 4 San Diego Padres vs. No. 5 St. Louis Cardinals
(National League Pennant Future Odds)
Los Angeles Dodgers (27/20)
The Dodgers are rapidly approaching the point where they are being considered one of the best teams to not win a World Series over a 5 or 6-year span, and have vowed that this year will be different after having almost 12 months to stew about the latest playoff exit courtesy the Nats last October.
The recent return of Walker Buehler to the rotation, and Clayton Kershaw (though never as good in playoffs as regular season in past) looking sharp in recent weeks suggests all is ready on the mound.
The Dodger offense also now has Mookie Betts and his MVP-caliber numbers added to an already dangerous lineup. But many recent playoff failures and 32 years since the last World Series crown hang over Chavez Ravine, pressure is immense, and we’re not sure about manager Dave Roberts pushing the right buttons in Octobe.
With a couple of shorter series in the first two rounds, the Blue could yet be vulnerable, especially as many insiders believe the best chance to get at the Dodgers, on the NL side, at least,will be early (longshot Milwaukee gets first crack).
San Diego Padres (5/1)
Compared to past false alarm campaigns, the Padres did things differently from the start in late July, much more selective at the plate and drawing more walks than before, part of GM A.J. Preller’s Billy Beane-like grand plan (which also helped partly explain the spate of grand slams Padres batters smashed in the summer).
Along the way, Fernando Tatis, Jr. (who slumped recently) and Manny Machado crafted MVP cases.
The bullpen, however, wasn’t quite as reliable as expected, and a pair of rotation pieces being counted on for the playoffs, ex-Indian Mike Clevinger (a big-time deadline addition) and emerging staff ace Dinelson Lamet, both had to be pulled from games in the last week of the season due to arm problems. If neither can go, first-year skipper Jayce Tingler, who could be in the mix for Manager of the Year, might be scrambling for options in his playoff rotation.
This looked the second-best team behind the Dodgers in the NL for much of the season, but Tingler is probably going to need Clevinger and Lamet available to make a deep run.
Atlanta Braves (5/1)
The NL East didn’t end up as menacing as most believed so the Braves cantered to their third straight division crown. Now it gets trickier for manager Brian Snitker, as among his starting pitchers, only young Max Fried (a Cy Young possibility) has worked in the postseason before.
In fact, beyond Fried and rookie righty Ian Anderson, the other ten who started games for Atlanta this season had an ERA close to 8. T
he Braves have a chance to advance a round if 1B Freddie Freeman continues to post MVP-like numbers, but with games coming rapid-fire in October, not sure Snitker has enough reliable arms for the Braves to advance very far. Cincinnati will be the first-round foe.
Chicago Cubs (7/1)
New manager David Ross pushed enough of the correct buttons in his first go-around as a skipper for the Cubs to return to the playoffs with a roster that looks pretty similar to some of Joe Maddon’s playoff teams (with several World Series holdovers from 2016 still in the mix, too).
A plus from recent years is that Yu Darvish gives Ross a real ace at the top of the rotation, and with Darvish, recent no-hit man Alec Mills, and Kyle Hendricks (who has posted a 1.45 ERA in September), Ross might not have to risk struggling Jon Lester.
Some good news in the everyday lineup with 3B Kris Bryant, who has endured an injury-plagued two months, returning to action on Saturday from his latest absence. Can Darvish, Hendricks, and Mills perhaps give Ross the sort of postseason sizzle from his rotation that Maddon lacked the past few years?
Cincinnati Reds (15/1)
We never thought we’d see an MLB team hit .210 (none has in 110 years), much less that team make the playoffs. Welcome to 2020, as the Reds are in after a late-season surge, even though play-by-play man Thom Brennaman has been forced out of the booth for an unfortunate on-air mistake.
Like we said, it’s been a crazy year! So why do so many NL teams fear the Reds? Because of a lights-out rotation consisting of Cy Young hopeful Trevor Bauer, plus Luis Castillo, Tyler Mahle, and now Sonny Gray (returned from a recent back injury), enough to make even the Dodgers blink at the prospects of a short series vs. that caliber group of arms.
The bullpen also solidified in September after the deadline addition of ex-Diamondback Archie Bradley, whose 1.17 ERA in six September appearances provided a nice bridge to closer Raisel Iglesias. Into last weekend, the Reds also won the last five games in which Bradley appeared.
Dangerous, dangerous underdog with the most-tempting longshot prices on the board; first-round foe Atlanta has been warned.
St. Louis Cardinals (15/1)
Talk about a roundabout route to the playoffs, the Redbirds overcame almost 2½ weeks of Covid-influenced inactivity before spending the past six weeks hurriedly trying to catch up with the rest of the NL teams. Thanks to 11 doubleheaders (seven-inning games, but still!), the Cards made it and now get the Padres in the first round.
Hats of to the rotation, especially 39-year-old Adam Wainwright, whose ability to get past the 6th inning helped save a bullpen that could have been worn out otherwise, and Austin Gomber (1.86 ERA) has emerged as a reliable option for manager Mike Schildt.
Given the circumstances of this season and their near-.500 level of play, we’re not expecting much, but we don’t want to dismiss the Cards, either, as they have often stepped up in the playoffs (such as the NLDS win over the Braves last October).
Miami Marlins (15/1)
Here’s an interesting tidbit...the Marlins have never lost a playoff series! They’ve only made it twice, in 1997 and 2003, and won the World Series both times.
But the bar is not really set high because no one expected Miami to make it this far, especially after 105 losses in 2019 and missing over a week due to coronavirus issues after the opening series in Philadelphia actually left the team stranded far away from home, not playing at Marlins Park until August 14.
In the live-armed young trio of Pablo Lopez, Sixto Sanchez, and Sandy Alcantara, Don Mattingly has a potential powderkeg of a rotation and a team that is playing with absolutely nothing to lose. And there is some postseason history vs. the first-round foe Cubs (2003...remember?).
Milwaukee Brewers (20/1)
Thanks to the Phillies and Giants falling apart in the last week, the Brew Crew was able to back into the playoffs with a 29-31 record.
The reward is a first-round series vs. the Dodgers, hence the higher price. Milwaukee’s plight as a middling team the past two months summed up mostly by indifferent form from former MVP Christian Yelich, who slumped badly in the early weeks and hovered near .200 all season.
Is there a chance? Maybe, as Corbin Burnes (2.11 ERA) and Brandon Woodruff (2.79 ERA away) could be a tough 1-2 at the top of the rotation.
Against a first-round foe other than the Dodgers, perhaps, but these long odds look justified for the Brewers, who regressed this season from recent NL playoff teams and serious contenders.