Tuesday, March 30, 2010

MLB ante post betting – The National League divisions

A look at each of the National League divisional races and the betting for same.

NL Central
8/13 Cardinals
10/3 Cubs
7/1 Brewers
9/1 Reds
25/1 Astros
100/1 Pirates

Overview
The most straight forward of all the National Leagues. Very hard to see anyone toppling the Cardinals. St Louis ticks all the right boxes. Good lineup, great starting pitching, decent stable of relief pitchers and a superior level of lineup/bullpen management from a Hall of Fame level coach. None of the other rivals in this division can put those elements on the table in one go. Carpenter and Pujols stand out as the class of this division, while Matt Holliday is a fine addition. When you figure in the inconsistencies of their opponents, that 8/13 price tag is actually kind of ‘long’ for the Cards. In my book they are a 1/2 lock.

The sure thing: If you were a professional gambler that 8/13 for the St Louis Cardinals would look very appealing.
The outsider: Maybe if they put it all together and stay healthy, the Milwaukee Brewers are relatively appetizing at 7/1. It is a big ‘if’ though.


Getting progressively more famous at a ball park near you...

How we think they will finish:
  1. Cardinals
  2. Brewers
  3. Cubs
  4. Reds
  5. Astros
  6. Pirates
NL East
4/7 Phillies
7/2 Braves
13/2 Mets
9/1 Marlins
66/1 Washington

Overview
The poor Nationals (Or, ‘Natinils’, as they like to call themselves). There is absolutely no hope, no chance, not even a whisker of a whisper of a hope of a chance actually, that they will finish anywhere but rock bottom in the NL East. To take this one step further, there is no hope at all, not even a 1% punchers chance, that Washington can win the NL East in 2010. Even if the Mets pull their annual self destruct job, the other three are too strong for Washington to hope for anything but avoiding a 100 loss season. If someone said to you, ‘Here is $1 million, you can put it on one team to win the NL East’, who would you pick? The Nationals and Mets you can rule out straight away. The Mets are paper thin, and it all starts from the top. Their incompetent front office ‘leads’ the way. The Marlins you would have to rule out because they might be a year or two and a player or two away and thus you are left with the Braves and Phillies. This is Bobby Cox’s last season at the helm in Atlanta and thus the Braves will be playing above their skill level, for a manager they revere like a deity down there. However, this will not be enough to overcome the sheer power the Phillies will be throwing on the diamond daily. Doc Halladay in the National League? Goodness gracious.

The sure thing: The Phillies at 4/7. Philadelphia are an American League style team with a big lineup and power pitching, they might go 19-0 over the Nationals. They are basically playing in Quadruple A until the inter league games and the World Series.
The outsider: The best value is the Florida Marlins. Their young, talented lineup can cause teams problems, while their pitching might pull it all together and send them on a decent summer run. At 9/1 they are definitely the ‘value’ bet in the division.

How we think they will finish:
  1. Phillies
  2. Marlins
  3. Braves
  4. Mets
  5. Washington


NL West
2/1 Dodgers
5/2 Rockies
3/1 Diamondbacks
3/1 Giants
33/1 Padres

Overview
Now we’re talking. Some say the NL East is the class of the NL. They might have the best team, but the NL West is definitely the most competitive division in the NL. Four teams have a real shot at winning it, and even the outsider isn’t that hopeless. The key to this division lies in the pitching staffs. The Giants represent great value at 3/1 when you look at their fantastic rotation. Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Barry Zito, Jonathan Sanchez, and Todd Wellemeyer represent one of the best rotations in the NL. The Giants won’t suffer many losing streaks with Lincecum and Cain leading the way, while Zito had a very good end to ’09. Remember, Sanchez is young and threw a no hitter in ’09. This rotation is sensational at the top and solid at the bottom. The Dodgers look like a team in transition, with several old players at key positions and questions in the rotation and the ‘pen. The Rockies will win loads of games at home, and lose even more on the road. The Diamondbacks you can write off, unless Brandon Webb grows a brand new right arm, which is, let’s face it, unlikely.

The sure thing: They are not a sure thing because the division is so tight, however the Giants represent fabulous value at 3/1, when you consider their excellent starting rotation. They look like a team on an upward swing, and could potentially be good enough to challenge anyone in the playoffs – would you want to face Lincecum/Cain in a best of five series?
The outsider: See above, the Giants are the best bet in both instances.

How we think they will finish:
  1. Giants
  2. Dodgers
  3. Rockies
  4. Diamondbacks
  5. Padres

Suggested bet: The Phillies, Giants and Cardinals to win their respective divisions. $10 gets you $100.


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Irish National baseball team

Irish National baseball team
Team Ireland at the European Championships, Croatia, 2000.

A nice little mention for this blog on Fox Sports

A nice little mention for this blog on Fox Sports

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