The 2021 MLB Opening Day takes place on Thursday, April 1, and as we count down the days to first pitch, it’s now time to take a look at the NL West odds. The Los Angeles Dodgers are the favorites to win the NL West for the ninth consecutive season, but the 2021 NL West odds show the San Diego Padres making a strong push. BetRivers.com is proud to provide a wide variety of NL West odds, MLB futures, game lines, and player markets. Longtime sports broadcaster David Tuchman is here to give his picks and predictions on the NL West odds.
I took a look at the NL West to see if I could make myself sound smarter than the other experts out there. But I couldn’t. I’m not making a stupid play just to be controversial. The NL West is what we think it is. A two-team race between the Dodgers and Padres. SO, without further ado, here are the latest NL West odds.
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NL WEST ODD: Los Angeles Dodgers (-250)
Win Total: 102.5 wins (-130/+105)
World Series: +350 (Shortest odds)
National League: +175 (Shortest odds)
Click here for more Dodgers NL West Odds.
There’s not really much to say about Los Angeles that you probably don’t already know. They’re the defending world champs. In 2020, they went 43-17 and despite being pushed to seven games by the Braves, they won it all fairly easily. They had a team ERA in 2020 of around 3.00, which is insane. They didn’t lose anyone significant in the offseason, and they added the 2020 Cy Young award winner to an already loaded pitching staff. When it is all is said and done and you talk about the 2021 Dodgers, you may very well be talking about one of the greatest teams of all time. And that’s not hyperbole.
Their lineup is loaded top to bottom. Every single bat is capable of hitting 20+ homers, and half of them should pass 30 jacks. Between Mookie Betts, Cody Bellinger, and Corey Seager, they have 3 guys in the lineup every day that can and should contend for the NL MVP.
Dodger fans bought a billboard in Boston overlooking Fenway Park, which says, “Boston, Thank you for Mookie Betts…the Dodgers” That’s some epic level trolling. Will Smith can rake at C and handle the staff, AJ Pollock, Max Muncy and Justin Taylor are all solid bats with 25-30 potential, and Gavin Lux, their former #2 overall prospect, takes over at second base. I see him at worst going .260-15-60-10 from the No. 8 spot.
At starting pitcher, the Dodgers are holding all the aces. The Dodgers return all FIVE of their 2020 starters and add David Price and Trevor Bauer to that group. David Price is slated to pitch out of the bullpen?!?
Clayton Kershaw toes the rubber as the “ace” and the future hall of famer went 6-2, with a 2.16 ERA and 0.84 WHIP in 2020. Walker Buehler is the No. 2 starter and may actually be better than Kershaw. Buehler went 14-4 in 2019, and while injuries shortened his 2020, he still managed a .95 WHIP and 42 K in 36 IP. Trevor Bauer, the NL Cy Young Award winner, slots in as the third starter, which is just stupid. Behind that three-headed monster is youngster Julio Urias, who’s still very early in his career, but went 3-0 last year with outstanding secondary numbers. The fifth starter spot is up for grabs between Price, Tony Gonsolin, and Dustin May. In case you’re wondering, Gonsolin and May combined for 5 wins, around a 2.40 ERA, 90 K / 102 IP, and a combined WHIP of around 1.00. Price has volunteered to start the season in the bullpen if the Dodgers decided to go that route. Either way, the 5th starter is no break for opposing teams.
Since two of Gonsolin, May and Price will be in the bullpen, that just makes the bullpen that much stronger, adding their talented arms to an already loaded pen, with Kenley Jansen closing and guys like Brusdar Graterol, former closers Blake Treinen and Corey Knebel, and long men Jimmy Nelson and Scott Alexander. The team is stacked top to bottom. The biggest “weakness” is their lack of left-handed arm out of the bullpen – but let’s not forget they have David Price.
When investing, it’s often more fun to gamble on an unknown company to come out of nowhere and go up 500%, but sometimes, it just makes a lot of sense to go with the blue-chip name that crushes year after year. Betting on the Dodgers feels like investing in a blue chip. We aren’t going to make 40x our money and it’s not sexy, but it’s probably really smart.
As I mentioned earlier, this Dodgers team could be in the conversation of All-Time great teams. I am betting on the Dodgers to win the Series (+350) I am betting on the Dodgers to win OVER 102.5 wins. I’m not betting on them to win the west even though I think they will simply because I can get OVER 102.5 wins at -130 and if they win 103 games they’re winning the west. The odds to win the west are -250.
NL WEST ODDS: San Diego Padres (+200)
Win Total: 94.5 wins (-112/-112)
World Series: +800 (Third shortest)
National League: +390 (Second shortest)
Click here for more Padres NL West Odds.
Remember in the opening paragraph, I said it’ll be a two-team race? …. I didn’t really mean that. The Padres are a very good team, but they are not at the Dodgers level.
The Padres made a huge splash this offseason. They re-signed their young, all-world SS, Fernando Tatis, to a massive $340 million, 14-year contract. They also revamped their starting rotation, adding aces Yu Darvish, Blake Snell and Joe Musgrove (well, Musgrove was the Pirates ace, but he’s still a solid starting pitcher). The Padres went 37-23 in 2020, which was 2nd best in all of baseball – but still 6 games behind the Dodgers.
The Padres didn’t add anything to their lineup, but it was fairly potent last season. Tatis leads the way, supported by 3B Manny Machado, who’s still an all-star bat. Machado and Tatis should combine for 70+ HR, 200+ RBI and .850-900 OPS each. Surrounding them in the lineup is young up-and-coming outfield star Trent Grisham, still-solid first baseman Eric Hosmer, and outfield combo of Tommy Pham and Wil Myers – both capable of .260-25-75 each.
We’ve got San Diego winning 94-97 games so there’s a slight lean toward the OVER, but in all likelihood, this is a bet I’ll avoid.
NL WEST ODDS: San Francisco Giants (+4000)
Win Total: 75.5 wins (-106/-118)
World Series: +8000
National League: +6000
Click here for more Giants NL West Odds.
So, the other side of the coin, the San Francisco Giants, are basically as mediocre as the Diamondbacks.
The Giants do have Rookie Joey Bart who is quite exciting. He should take over full time catching duties from Buster Posey at some point this season and could have an outside shot at rookie of the year. Donovan Solano is hitting the crap out of the ball this spring, but he hasn’t hit more than 4 HRs in his entire career. He’s hitting third. Mike Yastrzemski is a solid hitter and will bat second and play right field– he should hit .260-25-80. Alex Dickerson is a 20-HR bat out of the cleanup spot. The ageless Evan Longoria will still man third base, while Brandon Belt will play first base when he’s healthy – he’s hurt right now.
The rotation sees Kevin Gausman, Johnny Cueto, and Anthony DeSclafani as the Giants 1-2-3. Gausman is mildly intriguing and he’s the Giant’s ace, but make no mistake, he’s not an ace. Cueto appears to be washed up at 38 years old and DeSclafani has never done it. Though he’s having a strong spring. Alex Wood lines up as the fourth starter, but he’s hurt so journeyman Aaron Sanchez will get a turn in Wood’s place. Logan Webb, their solid SP prospect will make the roster due to Wood’s injury. Webb will actually start the 3rd game of the season, but make no mistake, he’s their fifth starter.
The Giants appear to be going by a closer by committee approach, and their overall bullpen is pretty weak, with Jake McGee, Tyler Rogers, Matt Wisler, Reyes Moronta, and Jarlin Garcia.
It pains me to say this because The Giants are my Dad’s team. He grew up a diehard New York Giants fan and has cheered for them ever since. Unfortunately, my dad’s fandom won’t be enough to help this team. We’ve got them winning 70-73 games. UNDER 75.5 is the play.
NL WEST ODDS: Arizona Diamondbacks (+5000)
Win Total: 74.5 wins (-118/-106)
World Series: +10000
National League: +8000
Click here for more Diamondbacks NL West Odds.
So flip a coin. Heads, the Diamondbacks finish third, Tails, the Giants do. They almost mirror images of each other. They’ve got some veteran starting pitching trying to hang on, and an overall decidedly mediocre lineup. The Diamondbacks might have just enough to edge ahead in the race for mediocrity, to slide into third and move to Giants to fourth, but it’ll be close.
The D-backs have very little to get excited about in their lineup. David Peralta projects to lead off and plays left field. He’s average at best. Ketel Marte looks to move back to center field, and he’s a solid player and should get a 20/20 (HR/SB) season, but he’s not a game-changer. Thumping right fielder Kole Calhoun is hurt and will miss the first part of 2021, so rookie Pavin Smith will get the first crack at filling in. The infield is Christian Walker, Eduardo Escobar, Nick Ahmed, and rookie second baseman Josh Rojas.
As for the rotation, they lost their ace, young hurler Zac Gallen was hurt this spring trying to bunt. Madison Bumgarner, Luke Weaver, Caleb Smith, and Merrill Kelly will man the mound, with various swingmen filling in for Gallen. Nothing to see here – move along.
End of the day, is this team horrible? No… are they good? No…. Do they have young, exciting players that could surprise? No…
They’re a 72-74 win team, so with a win total of 74.5, the UNDER is the play here.
NL WEST ODDS: Colorado Rockies (+5000)
Win Total: 63.5 wins (-112/-112)
World Series: +10000
National League: +8000
Click here for more Rockies NL West Odds.
Another one of the dregs of the league, the Colorado Rockies, went only 26-34 in 2020 and they lost their All-Star third baseman Nolan Arenado in a trade with the Cardinals. The story in Colorado? …. Trevor Story. He is the star of this Rockies squad and he’s an all-world shortstop. He could easily go 30-30, hit .285, and drive in 100 runs. If Charlie Blackmon (35) can fight off father time for one more year, this lineup won’t be awful, but if he regresses, it could be ugly. The Rockies brought in CJ Cron and he’s got power, but batting under 200 won’t cut it.
The Rotation is actually bringing back four starting pitchers from 2020, with ace German Marquez, Jon Gray, Antonio Senzatela and Kyle Freeland. However, Freeland is hurt so the Rockies will go with Austin Gomber and Chi Chi Gonzalez at their fourth and fifth starters. Marquez is the most intriguing of the bunch, as he managed a 3.75 ERA in 2020, but Gray and Gonzalez had ERAs well over 6 in 2020. Senzatela was nominally the best starter of the bunch at 5-3, with a 3.44 ERA in 202, but his stuff is far from overwhelming. Gomber is an unknown commodity – he’s a youngster brought over in the Arenado deal with only 104 IP since 2018.
The bullpen could be nicknamed Hawaii 5.0 (or Colorado 5.0 if you prefer) since no one will likely have an ERA under 5. Daniel Bard makes for a nice comeback story and will close, but it’s not a good group.
We’ve got the Rockies losing 100 games. If you’re good at math, you’ll quickly figure out that has them winning UNDER 63.5 wins. That’s the play.