NL Pennant Betting Preview – Who’s the Best Team in the National League?

By Michael Wynn in MLB
| April 15, 2020 10:36 am PDT
MLB NL Pennant Betting Preview

The Dodgers are the top dog when it comes to this season’s NL Pennant odds, and nobody should be surprised. Why are they the heavy favorite when Washington won the title in 2019?

Well, the Nationals waved goodbye to Anthony Rendon during the offseason while LA was busy rolling out the red carpet for Mookie Betts to come on board.

However, as good as the Dodgers and the Nats both are, who wins the NL Pennant in 2020 will be far from a two-team race.

Teams like Atlanta and St. Louis have enough to contend for a World Series, and some sleepers in the NL are quietly ready to pounce. Before I reveal my prediction for who wins the National League pennant, let’s address the betting sheet. 

NL Pennant Odds to Win

Before you scoff at the even-money price affixed to the Dodgers, consider that one of the leading MLB betting sites installed Los Angeles at even money in this betting market. And rather than be discouraged that the Braves are +800, I’m perked up about the available value.

Atlanta is hanging out at +600 to win the NL Pennant at MyBookie. 

I’ll be covering some of the value plays in a later post, but this blog is going to focus on the clubs that the bookies are pegging as the most viable contenders in the National League.

Los Angeles Dodgers (+140)

What does a shortened season mean for Dave Roberts? It means a higher percentage of innings can be distributed to Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw. That’s a good thing, but it’s not all roses in La La Land.

If there’s a chink in the Dodgers armor that’s worth noting, it’s the simple fact that Cody Bellinger likely won’t have the months of April and May to do any damage. The 2019 NL MVP tapered off dramatically as the season wore on, hitting just .262 over the final four months of the year.

Atlanta Braves (+800)

Ronald Acuna Jr. is sitting atop the 2020 NL MVP odds for a reason. The 22-year-old outfielder is quickly becoming one of the best players in baseball due to his prowess in all facets of the game, but let’s take a step back and admire the supporting cast.

Freddie Freeman is a beast at first base, and Ozzie Albies led the NL in hits in 2019. GM Alex Anthopoulos wisely spent money bringing in veterans Marcell Ozuna and Cole Hamels, and Atlanta has a couple of really promising young arms at the top of their rotation in Mike Soroka and Max Fried.

If this +800 price tag to scoop the NL Pennant is starting to pique your interest, I can tell you you’re not alone.

Washington Nationals (+800)

Carter Kieboom has a long way to go before he can replicate what Anthony Rendon brought to the table at third base, but nothing has changed at the top of Dave Martinez’s rotation. Max Scherzer is locked and loaded to deliver, and we all saw what Stephen Strasburg accomplished during his historic month of October.

Patrick Corbin is an NL Cy Young sleeper to keep an eye on, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see Joe Ross finally evolve into a dependable MLB starter. 

The way Juan Soto’s bat started heating up late in 2019, I’m not sure if there’s a more feared hitter in the National League heading into 2020.

St. Louis Cardinals (+900)

Just like the rest of the baseball community, I’m extremely high on Jack Flaherty. Unfortunately for Cardinals fans, Mike Schildt can only send the 24-year-old right-handed hurler out once every fifth day.

We’ll see if Dakota Hudson can progress his game, but expecting Adam Wainwright and Carlos Martinez to return to their heyday at this stage of their careers is wishful thinking at best. St. Louis can play small ball and piece together plenty of regular-season wins, but competing with the aforementioned teams on this page is going to be an uphill battle.

Personally, I’d need to see the Redbirds in the +1500 range before I’d be comfortable backing them to emerge in the NL.

New York Mets (+1000)

The Carlos Beltran era is over before it ever got started, but perhaps that’s a blessing in disguise for this organization.

With all of the uncertainty clouding Major League Baseball, the Mets will begin the upcoming year on a clean slate knowing two things: batters don’t want to face Jacob deGrom, and pitchers don’t want to see Pete Alonso in the opposing batter’s box.

That’s enough to make a bet on the Mets to win the NL Pennant a captivating proposition.

We don’t have to pretend that losing Noah Syndergaard for the year is the way that New York wanted to begin the 2020 campaign, but let’s look on the bright side. The Mets bolstered the back end of their staff by adding Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha, and Jacob deGrom is the two-time defending NL Cy Young Award winner.

Oh yeah, and Pete Alonso is my pick to lead the Majors in home runs for the second straight year.

NL Pennant Prediction

After winning back-to-back NL East crowns, the Braves are hungry for more. 2020 might just be the year they break through.

Top to bottom, Atlanta’s lineup looks like the most potent in the National League. Even if Felix Hernandez doesn’t contribute anything substantial, the Braves have plenty of firepower on their pitching staff to persevere through the season. Brian Snitker will likely acquire another distinct SP before the late-season push, and young guns like Johan Camargo and Dansby Swanson are only going to get better.

I suggest investing in the Braves to win the NL Pennant now as it won’t be long until baseball is back in business. Once the season gets underway, any value attached to betting on Atlanta could be out the window.

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