Best MLB Division Winner Bets for the 2021 Stretch Run

By Dan Vasta in MLB
| August 14, 2021 6:21 am PDT

There are a few teams that lock up their MLB division well before September. Some will sweat it out, and those are the teams that could become appealing options at the top MLB betting sites.

Finding the perfect mix of talent, production, fortune, and value is the winning combination. We have seen a division or two begin to have a change of the guard.

The dog days of August are winding down, and this is where the cream rises to the crop. It is time to find those winners that will shut the door.

Here are your top MLB division winner picks as we enter the stretch run of the 2021 season.

San Francisco Giants to Win NL West (+125)

The Giants have been the best team in baseball throughout the entire season. Yet, nobody has talked enough about them taking it to the Dodgers this season.

The Dodgers can still win it all, but the latest trip to the injured list for Mookie Betts is a concern.

The Giants have made successful additions, and lady luck has been on their side.

Their pitching in the first half of the season was incredible. They weren’t an elite offensive squad consistently, but Kris Bryant has allowed them to improve even further.

There is not any pressure on this team due to the preseason expectations. Nobody had them reaching the playoffs, and some questioned if they could even finish third in the NL West. Bryant has added more punch to an already Top 10 offense.

Kevin Gausman, Anthony DeSclafani, Johnny Cueto, Alex Wood, and Logan Webb have quietly been one of the most productive rotations in the league.

Certainly, Gausman has had struggles since the All-Star break, and DeSclafani has not been healthy enough to pitch up to his first-half standards, but the depth behind them has carried the team.

They have all been registering quality starts by allowing three runs or fewer with 18 outs recorded. The bullpen of Jake McGee and Trevor Rogers has been consistent, and this team is in a ton of close ball games. Gabe Kapler has been the top manager in baseball this season, and he is the frontrunner to take home several accolades and awards.

The hope is the team continues its stellar regular season play into October.

They remind many people of the Tampa Bay Rays, which is a compliment. They aren’t the most talented team in the league but make the opposition beat them in terms of mental mistakes. The starters could go deeper, but the back end of the bullpen has been lights-out.

The lack of recent winning by the Giants has not seemed to impact them whatsoever. The last time the Giants won 100-plus games was in 2003. Barry Bonds won his third straight MVP, eventually winning four in a row.

It’s been a rough road as of late.

  • 2020 Record: 29-31
  • 2019 Record: 77-85
  • 2018 Record: 73-89
  • 2017 Record: 64-98
  • 2016 Record: 87-75

October baseball has a ton of strategy involved, and every pitch takes thought and consideration.

Kapler has been a productive analytics manager, and the Giants will continue to prove the naysayers wrong. To have the best team in baseball from a record standpoint at plus money is rare.

Jump on those odds when you can, and watch San Francisco continue to lead the NL West for the entirety of the season. Don’t jump off the bandwagon now, especially with San Francisco pulling in with the fourth best World Series odds after the 2021 trade deadline.

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Tampa Bay Rays to Win AL East (-300)

This team also screams October with the way they treat their bullpen. Tampa Bay has had ten pitchers with 40-plus innings entering the early stages of August. Some players like Tyler Glasnow (Tommy John) are no longer on the roster, but the production is there. 

I think that makes it more impressive since they keep finding ways to win ball games. The franchise under Kevin Cash received a ton of criticism last season. After he yanked Blake Snell early in Game 6 of the World Series, the team fell apart. They blew the lead and lost to the Dodgers, but he has made plenty of smart decisions with this franchise.

The trade deadline featured them acquiring Nelson Cruz.

A productive and experienced designated hitter in the middle of their order was what the doctor prescribed. Wander Franco, Randy Arozarena, Joey Wendle, Austin Meadows, and Brandon Lowe bring enough collective talent to help produce runs.

They have been able to move runners over and get them consistently in. That is an underrated skill that many teams cannot accomplish. As a franchise overall, they don’t have too many highs and lows or have any egos in the clubhouse, and that is another driving factor.

Most teams have a few players that haul in the big bucks, but Tampa Bay never has. Just look at how they measure up to the MLB teams with the lowest payrolls in 2021.

Lowest MLB Payrolls in 2021
Tampa Bay Miami Baltimore Pittsburgh Cleveland
$70.4M $58M $57.5M $54.5M $48.4M

They will continue to hang onto the AL East by a handful of games and survive due to their consistent play.

The value will only get worse as the season progresses for the Rays. Boston will need to go on some winning streaks to have any chance of passing them. There are still matchups between these two, but the Blue Jays and Yankees are closer to passing Boston than Tampa Bay.

The Rays are the steady team that continues to win despite their lack of a dominant ace.

That may cost them in the postseason, but winning the division is a likelihood.

The underrated Tampa Bay rotation should get more credit. Ryan Yarbrough has been solid overall, but Shane McClanahan has been great at home. Not many can consistently hit indoors, but Tropicana Field has benefitted the Rays. As of August 10, they were one of only six teams with 35-plus home victories.

The upside for the White Sox (-10000) has plummeted. They are a team that brings zero division value. The Astros (-600) are another team that will soon have worse odds for those looking at value.

Tampa Bay brings the best value among all American League teams to win a division.

Philadelphia Phillies to Win NL East (+150)

The stars for Philadelphia have improved their production for the stretch run. Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto, and Jean Segura have all been gamers.

This starting rotation and bullpen made the perfect moves at the deadline to secure the confidence and talent needed. Kyle Gibson is a solid middle-of-the-rotation starter that can pitch well in the postseason. Throw in Ian Kennedy as the closer, and this team has the stability that is needed.

The best part of their value is they will stay in the hunt even if they enter a slump because we all know the Mets and Braves aren’t running away with this division. The value on those two is either on par or slightly better than the Phillies. That is not the feeling I would want after letting the Phillies grab hold of the division.

All the momentum in this division is on the side of Philadelphia.

The health and the production of Zack Wheeler have been great to see. He has not let up in any starts in the second half of the break. He has already thrown a shutout against the Mets and could win the NL Cy Young.

Expect more elite pitching from the top-end guys like Gibson and Aaron Nola, which will allow them to become NL East champions.

Which 2021 MLB Division Winners Should You Bet On?

All three of these teams are likely to win their respective MLB divisions in 2021 if they can stay healthy, but there are different values across the board.

I enjoy the odds for Tampa Bay and feel they will survive the gauntlet of the AL East since they are the most balanced team. Their ability to win close games has been their recipe for success.

The Giants have their work cut out for them, but the Dodgers haven’t been able to keep their nucleus together at any point during the season. They have made acquisitions over the trade deadline, but they won’t catch the Giants.

The Phillies will continue to battle it out, and there is no doubt that the division is far from over. However, the Phillies have plus money. One would risk $100 and win $150, which is a tremendous value.

The Braves and Mets are talented enough to knock off the Phillies, but they have had plenty of injuries and poor performances from star players.

The Phillies have surged in the final two months of the season, and their odds are too good to pass on.

The Mets playoff odds plummeted in July and August due to Philadelphia turning up the heat.

Take all three of these teams with confidence, but the Phillies provide the best chance to see the most green. Regardless of which of these top 2021 MLB division winner picks stand out, be sure to use the best baseball betting apps before you place a bet.

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