Evaluating each MLB team’s total wins odds part 2: National League Edition

Continuing on from my article earlier this week, today we examine the over/under team-win totals for the National League in the 2021 MLB season. In case this was not already stated, this is NOT advice for placing a bet on all teams for their win total. I am instead turning focus to my own thoughts and expectations for each team; and making a prediction on where I think their win totals will fall. As you may have seen in the American League version, the odds do not stray away from (-112) for both the over and under of many teams, so it essentially turns into a pick-’em which can be purely personal preference.

Without further ado, let’s begin with the NL East:

(Note: All odds were found through both covers.com and the DraftKings Sportsbook. My own book, Bovada, did not have these MLB team totals bets available at the point of writing this article.)

NL EAST

Atlanta Braves

O/U: 91.5 Wins: -112(O) / -112(U)

2019: 97-65

2020: 35-25

While the Braves on paper have a very, very good roster, similarly to what they had the past few years, their opponents in the NL East did them no favors by also improving all-around and making the decision of who comes out of the year with the division title that much blurrier. That said, I like this team a lot in the 90-94 win window. Barring a plethora of injuries and/or severe underachievement, the Braves look to be a team that will come out with either the division locked in, or the top wild card spot.

My pick: Over 91.5 at -112

Miami Marlins

O/U 70.5 Wins: -121(O) / -104(U)

2019: 57-105

2020: 31-29

The Marlins were perhaps the biggest team to capitalize on the shortened 2020 season, with an above-.500 record that let them enter the postseason as one of the expanded wild card spots. With a full season in place though, regression should be expected. They simply do not possess the fire power that other teams in the division have. I don’t think they have a 100-loss season, but hovering around 65-70 wins seems doable considering the team is not as bad as that 2019 Marlins squad, and (-104) seems like considerably better value than (-121) when you are betting on a team with performance question-marks as unclear as this Marlins team.

My pick: Under 70.5 at -104

New York Mets

O/U 90.5 Wins: -112(O) / -112(U)

2019: 86-76

2020: 26-34

The Mets come into 2021 with expectations being a contender in the National League, after a few years of playing below expectations despite having a solid core of Jacob DeGrom, Pete Alonso, and Michael Conforto. Now, with the blockbuster acquisition of Francisco Lindor, the Mets will have to prove what they can do. With Vegas giving the Mets around a 90 win window, it isn’t hard to believe that this team can make the postseason, and maybe compete for the NL pennant if the chips fall into place.

My pick: Over 90.5 at -112

Philadelphia Phillies

O/U 80.5 Wins: -112(O) / -112(U)

2019: 81-81

2020: 28-32

The Phillies, as currently constructed, do not look to be a playoff team in 2021. They look to be pretty much what they have been since about 2018, which is a slightly-above .500 ballclub. Bryce Harper is hoping to not shoulder the offensive load of the Phils, but unless Rhys Hopkins, J.T. Realmuto, and Didi Gregorious among others pick up some slack, it might be another trying season for Philly. Look for the bullpen to bounce back after a. . . let’s say, questionable 2020.

My pick: Over 80.5 at -112

Washington Nationals

O/U 84.5 Wins: -112(O) / -112(U)

2019: 93-69

2020: 26-34

The Nationals are a tough team to read. On one hand, the 2019 World Series champion team is still together for the most part, aside from Anthony Rendon and many of the bullpen arms that formed their very underrated back-end pitching. Even with the addition of Josh Bell, the Nats will go only as far as their pitching will take them. Max Scherzer is getting up there in age, as is Jon Lester, and Stephen Strasburg pitched two games in 2020 and will be looking to play a complete season, hopefully.

My pick: Under 84.5 at -112

NL CENTRAL

Chicago Cubs

O/U 79.5 Wins: -112(O) / -112(U)

2019: 84-78

2020: 34-26

A tale of two cities. It seems that there’s been a role-reversal in Chicago, with the White Sox and Cubs essentially switching places in the pecking order of contenders around the MLB. The offseason trade of Yu Darvish to the Padres cast a massive cloud over the current core of players, mainly Kris Bryant. With all the rumors floating around, it wouldn’t surprise me if even before the trade deadline, one or more players are shipped away and the Cubs buy into a rebuild once again.

My pick: Under 79.5 at -112

Cincinnati Reds

O/U 82.5 Wins: +100(O) / -124(U)

2019: 75-87

2020: 31-29

The over on wins for the Reds seems to hold significant value at (+100), yet it’s hard to justify seeing this team perform even slightly above-.500 over a 162-game season. Trevor Bauer, the 2020 NL Cy Young award winner, left for the Dodgers in free agency and the team looks to give a lot of up-and-comers significant time throughout the season. Even in a division as weak as the NL Central, I don’t see the Reds making much of a splash.

My pick: Under 82.5 at -124

Milwaukee Brewers

O/U 82.5 Wins: -112(O) / -112(U)

2019: 89-73

2020: 29-31

The Brewers at 82.5 wins seems to be one of the best values a bettor could get if they were looking to capitalize on betting a possible Vegas undervalue. Milwaukee should be in the running for the division with the Cardinals for the majority of this season, and at the very least, should have a good shot at the second wild card spot given how weak their division is. Christian Yelich should return to MVP form over a full season, and a bullpen led by Josh Hader should be able to ease the load for the starting rotation; which is solid and should have better results too over the elongated schedule.

My pick: Over 82.5 at -112 

Pittsburgh Pirates

O/U 58.5 Wins: +100(O) / -125(U)

2019: 61-93

2020: 19-41

With the offseason trades of Josh Bell and Jameson Taillon, any last remnants of the Pirates hopeful mid-2010s upswing is gone. In comes a team with lowest expectations of any team since the 2018 Orioles and 2019 Tigers. I think expecting this team to get 60 wins is rather generous. Losing well over 100 games is very much in the realm of possibilities for a team as inexperienced and lacking in talent as this year’s Pirates. While (-125) for the under is not extremely good value, it is without a doubt a much safer bet than expecting this team to eclipse 60 wins when the lone bright spot is Ke’Bryan Hayes.

My pick: Under 58.5 at -125

St. Louis Cardinals

O/U 86.5 Wins: -112(O) / -112(U)

2019: 91-71

2020: 30-30  

If anyone was wondering up until this point, the amount of credibility I give the overall standings in the 2020 season is very low. The Cardinals are a prime example of a team that never really was able to catch its footing over the 60 game season, and I think a 162 game would’ve benefitted them greatly not only in their own standings, but in the play of their division opponents. Aside from the blockbuster acquisition of Nolan Arenado, the Cardinals boast solid depth and a great rotation and bullpen. Look for the Cardinals and Brewers to battle it out until September for the NL Central title.

My pick: Over 86.5 at -112

NL WEST

Arizona Diamondbacks

O/U 74.5 Wins: -106(O) / -118(U)

2019: 85-77

2020: 25-35

I’m not really sure what to expect from the Diamondbacks when it comes to either bottoming out or if they tread water and create a “closer than you think” .500 finish. I’m tempted to say that even with the Rockies in the division and looking to be one of the two or three bottomfeeders of the National League, the Diamondbacks will perform just slightly better than they look, and finish with about 70-73 wins.

My pick: Under 74.5 at -118

Colorado Rockies

O/U 64.5 Wins: -112(O) / -112(U)

2019: 71-91

2020: 26-34

The Rockies were the fool’s gold of the MLB for a few years, and now it appears that the Arenado trade destroyed and precursors to how they would fare. If the Padres and Dodgers have anything to say, the Rockies will probably be around a 100 loss team. Look for players like Trevor Story and Jon Gray, among others, to be potential trade candidates if things fall apart quickly… Which they probably will.

My pick: Under 64.5 at -112

Los Angeles Dodgers

O/U 102.5 Wins: -118(O) / -106(U)

2019: 106-54

2020: 43-17

The reigning World Series champions look to have as dominant a 2021 as they did in 2020. Nothing really needs to be said. The Dodgers are infused with what seems like unlimited depth from a farm system churning out great pitchers and quality fielders. Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger lead the offensive onslaught while Walker Buehler and the newly signed Trevor Bauer will lead one of the best rotations in baseball. 110 wins anybody?

My pick: Over 102.5 at -118

San Diego Padres

O/U 94.5 Wins: -106(O) / -118(U)

2019: 70-92

2020: 37-23

The craziest thing about the Padres this year? No, it isn’t the top tier pitching rotation acquired this past offseason. No, it isn’t the fact that Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado are going to be the left side of the infield for many, many more years. It’s the fact that the Padres could push 100-103 wins and possibly not even be five games behind the division lead. That’s how good the Dodgers are, and that’s how good the Padres are too. Barring a catastrophic collapse, the ceiling is very high for the Padres, and they could be the kryptonite to finally stop the Dodgers run of dominance in the NL West.

My pick: Over 94.5 at -106

San Francisco Giants

O/U 75.5 Wins: -106(O) / -118(U)

2019: 77-85

2020: 29-31

To finish off the National League, we have the Giants, a team caught between rebuilding with a youth-infused lineup and paying big money to players like Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, and Evan Longoria. Pitching remains the big question mark, with lots of high-risk options like Aaron Sanchez and Kevin Gausman. The bullpen looks to be solid, albeit unspectacular, with guys like Jake McGee and Jose Alvarez taking center stage. I like the over for this team, especially given the odds Vegas gave them, although it wouldn’t be surprising to see them maybe have 90+ losses if things don’t bode well for SanFran early in the season.

My pick: Over 75.5 at -106

———————————————————————————————————————

To conclude this series of articles, here are five picks that I think would hold the most value. Bet responsibly and at your own comfort level:

  • Tampa Bay Rays: Over 85.5 at -112
  • St. Louis Cardinals: Over 86.5 at -112
  • Miami Marlins: Under 70.5 at -104
  • New York Yankees: Over 95.5 at -112
  • Milwaukee Brewers: Over 82.5 at -112

If you haven’t yet, check out the first part of my series examining the American League team total over/under odds. Thank you again for reading!

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