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Previewing the NL West Division for 2021 – Betting Odds, Team Analysis, and Predictions,
When it comes to betting on the NL West Division in 2021, there’s really only one question to ask yourself.
Do you eat the chalk and back the defending champs, or do you buy into the upside attached to the budding roster in San Diego?
There is not much merit in taking a flier on the D-Backs; the Giants and the Rockies are a long way away from competing for the crown. On the other hand, if the Marlins found a way to finish 2nd in the crowded NL East last year, anything can happen.
Let’s glance at the odds and highlight each team before we commit to any NL West predictions.
2021 NL West Odds
Regardless of which of the top MLB betting sites you shop your lines at, the following ideology remains consistent. The Dodgers are well out in front as the favorites, while the Padres are the only team even in the same ballpark.
LA’s NL West odds have ballooned to -325 in a couple of spots. San Diego is hovering between +175 and +200 to catapult to the top of the standings. It’s worth noting that Arizona can be had at +4500 at XBet, but you might want to take a closer peek at what Torey Lovullo is working with before you consider pulling that lever.
On that note, let’s dive into some NL West team previews.
Los Angeles Dodgers in 2021
There’s a genuine sense around the league the 2021 Dodgers could be special. Here’s a group that cruised to the best record in the Majors (43-17) and stormed to a World Series, and yet all signs are pointing to the club being even better in their title defense.
Other than letting part-time players Joc Pederson and Kike Hernandez walk, Dave Roberts brings back the same exact lineup that led the Majors in homers and runs scored. Even Justin Turner re-signed after testing the waters in free agency.
In terms of evaluating the Dodgers rotation, it’s not far-fetched to think that Bauer, Kershaw, and Buehler will all be sincere NL Cy Young contenders. Julio Urias is penciled into the fourth slot, and the following tidbit gives you an idea of the surplus of talent permeating LA’s staff.
David Price has been relegated to a bullpen role to make room for Dustin May. As has Tony Gonsolin and Jimmy Nelson.
Good luck trying to catch a squad built through a $240 million payroll. That’s about $80 or so million more than anyone else in this division.
San Diego Padres in 2021
After ending a 13-year playoff drought in 2020, the Padres aspire of winning their first NL West title since 1998. Mike Clevinger is shelved and MacKenzie Gore is still developing, and yet you the Friars are closing in on the Dodgers for the title of the best pitching rotation in the MLB.
Dinelson Lamet (tightness in his elbow) may need some time at the team’s alternate training site to be brought up to speed, but it’s way too early to be concerned with the Padres #3 starter.
Sure, he wasn’t sharp in Spring Training, but this is a dude who struck out a silly 34.8% of his batters in 2020 on his way to posting a 2.09 ERA. I think we can cut Lamet some slack.
Armed by the best left side of any infield in baseball, San Diego finished top-3 in the league in runs, home runs, and slugging. They led the Majors in stolen bases.
We could talk about Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr. all day long, but don’t sleep on Wil Myers now that he’s surrounded by so many big bats. The Padres right fielder racked up 120 total bases in 2020 – the same number as Mike Trout.
Arizona Diamondbacks in 2021
Just like the Dodgers, the Diamondbacks are set to roll out essentially the same batting order they did in 2020. Here’s the difference.
While LA’s offense was the best in the league, AZ hit a paltry .241 and ranked 29th in the Majors in home runs. Ketel Marte’s power vanished into thin air (2 HR in 181 ABs), but three homers in 39 Spring Training at-bats gives Arizona fans some assurance.
Speaking of noteworthy performances in the Spring, left-handed-hitting second baseman Josh Rojas was turning heads in the Cactus League.
|Josh Rojas – By the Numbers in 2021 Spring Training|
Christian Walker has also been blasting off (5 HR, 15 RBI in 18 games) and is comfortably slated for the cleanup role.
The hope was that Zac Gallen would be the anchor to a revitalized staff – those plans have been put on hold after the Diamondbacks ace suffered a freak injury during of all things – batting practice.
San Francisco Giants in 2021
Bringing Tommy La Stella in should pay dividends right away. The 32-year-old can play all over the infield and brings an element of dependability to the top of Gabe Kapler’s lineup card.
La Stella wasn’t the most glamorous FA signing this winter, but that doesn’t change the fact that he has been rock-solid since the start of 2019.
|Tommy La Stella – Batting Stats Since 2019|
|Games||Batting Avg.||Home Runs||Doubles||Runs||RBI||Walks||Strikeouts|
I’ll throw out another unheralded name in San Fran who doesn’t get the respect he deserves.
Mike Yastrzemski. All Mike did in 2020 was post an identical 2.5 WAR as Fernando Tatis Jr.
Expecting steady production from Buster Posey would be naïve; same story with Johnny Cueto. Kevin Gausman doesn’t strike me as a guy worth $18.9 million for one year, and signing Anthony DeSclafani and Aaron Sanchez hardly moves the needle.
La Stella and “Yaz” will shine in their own rights but anticipating anything north of 75 wins would be classified as wishful thinking.
Colorado Rockies in 2021
After progressing through 2017 and 2018 winning 87 or more games in each season, Colorado’s wheels started to wobble in 2019. Fast forward to the start of the 2021 campaign and wheels have completely fallen off.
The batting order is seriously downgraded after swapping Nolan Arenado for prospects, and don’t even get me started on the arms that Bud Black has at his disposal. German Marquez is a hard-throwing righty who has shown flashes, but let’s quickly sum up the Rockies staff.
Colorado posted an NL-worst 5.59 ERA in 2020 – one year after posting an NL-worst 5.56 ERA. This past year, Rockies pitchers ranked dead last in strikeouts, 29th in opponent’s batting average, and 28th in WHIP.
Trevor Story will be a huge asset, and C.J. Cron is one of the fantasy baseball sleepers who could launch 35+ HRs. Nevertheless, this team has won fewer than 44% of their games since the start of 2019.
Look for the guys from Coors Field to generate a similar clip in 2021.
NL West Predictions for 2021
Some MLB Divisions will be strong from top to bottom in 2021. As you can gather from my NL West predictions, the National League West won’t be one of them.
|NL West Projections for the 2021 MLB Season|
|1. Los Angeles Dodgers||99-63|
|2. San Diego Padres||94-68|
|3. Arizona Diamondbacks||76-86|
|4. San Francisco Giants||74-88|
|5. Colorado Rockies||69-93|
Before you’re in a hurry to slam the over on the Dodgers win total, here’s some perspective on Major League Baseball teams winning more than 103 regular-season games. It’s occurred six times since 2000; LA has achieved this feat just twice since 1953.
Dave Roberts and company are going to be really, really good, but a 103.5-win total is an overwhelming number.
Interested in more MLB Division guides?
I break down odds and predictions for the other five divisions below.