National League Pennant Prediction
Will the L.A. Dodgers represent the National League in the 2018 World Series again? Or will another team overtake the boys in blue this summer?
According to oddsmakers from online sports book YouWager, the Dodgers have the best odds to win the National League pennant at 12/5. The Cubs have the next-best odds at 16/5, followed by the Nationals at 4/1.
From there, the odds drop significantly. The Cardinals are 10/1 to win the pennant this year, followed by the Mets at 12/1 and the Brewers at 15/1. The Diamondbacks are 17/1, the Rockies are 20/1, and the Giants are 25/1. The long-shots to win the NL pennant in 2018 are the Phillies at 40/1, the Braves at 100/1, the Pirates at 120/1, and the Reds and Padres at 170/1, respectively. The team with the longest odds are the Marlins at 250/1.
Let's start off by eliminating as many teams as we can. The Marlins, Padres, Reds, Pirates, Braves and Phillies simply don't have enough talent to make a deep run this year. The Giants, meanwhile, might not have Madison Bumgarner, Jeff Samardzija, and maybe even Mark Melancon for the first month or two of the season. So let's cross them off as well.
The next group is intriguing. The Rockies and Diamondbacks both played in the wild card last year and the Brewers were a year ahead of schedule last season, plus added marquee talent in outfielders Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich. That said, all three teams still have pitching questions that will likely cause them to stumble at some point. The Mets, meanwhile, have pitching, but will they stay healthy? And the Cardinals are always competitive but they're relying on a ton of youth in their pitching staff and innings could become a problem at some point.
So we're down to the Dodgers, Cubs and Nationals. It's extremely difficult to make back-to-back World Series runs in this day-and-age. The Giants won three World Series this decade but each year in between, they didn't even make the postseason. At some point all of those extra games could sink the Dodgers, plus they don't offer bettors a ton of value at 12/5.
Now we're down to Chicago and Washington. The Cubs should rebound after suffering a World Series hangover last year. They will be in the mix. But I can't shake the value of the Nationals at 4/1. This team has not gotten over the hump but they're extremely talented and the front office is likely to do everything within its power to make a run at the Fall Classic with Bryce Harper set to become a free agent at the end of the year. The Nats have pitching, an excellent offense, and plenty of depth. I like their odds.
NATIONAL LEAGUE PENNANT PREDICTION: WASHINGTON NATIONALS 4/1