Normally with just over three weeks left in the baseball season, there aren’t many future’s bets that make a lot of sense. At this point in a 162-game season, most of the division titles are close to being wrapped up, and we know which teams are going to be the prohibitive favorites to win in the postseason.
Not this year! This year in a 60-game sprint of a season, we are seeing just about every team in the game with at least some shot at making the postseason, and no team has emerged as a true prohibitive favorite to win either league’s pennant.
Most of the time, when you are making a Major League Baseball future’s bet, you are doing it in March or April, and you have to lock your money up for months. But with just three weeks left of play, we have several future’s bets that show high value, and you don’t have to worry about putting your bankroll on ice to make the plays.
In this article, we are going to focus on the National League and give you five future’s bets that you are going to want to make today, that will make you money. Let’s get started!
Philadelphia Phillies To Win The NL East Division (+300)
Two weeks ago, I would have told you that any team not named the Atlanta Braves winning the National League East Division would be a huge, long shot. But two weeks ago is an eternity in this highly condensed season, and we have seen both the Miami Marlins and the Philadelphia Phillies close the gap on the Braves, and both teams have a real shot to overtake Atlanta for the division title.
The Braves have a two-game lead over Philly and a three and a half-game lead over Miami entering play today. In their last three series against fellow NL East Division teams, the Braves lost two out of three to the Phillies, split four games with the Washington Nationals, and lost two of three to the Marlins, in their last series. If the door wasn’t open then, it sure is now.
The Marlins and the Phillies will head to Miami this week to play an unprecedented seven-game series. Whichever team wins that series will have a real shot at catching Atlanta and will all but lock up second place in the division and the playoff spot that comes with it. I think that the Phillies find a way to leave Miami with four or five wins and put themselves into a dog fight with the Braves for the division title.
Seven games in five days down in Miami starting tonight. #RingTheBell
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) September 10, 2020
When you look ahead on the schedule for Atlanta, they play their next ten games in a row on the road. Atlanta is very good at home this year, with a 15-8 record, but on the road, they are just 10-10. Games against the Nationals, Orioles, and Mets seem winnable on the surface, but we have seen them lose to Washington three times in the last month, so you can never feel too good about it, as they just aren’t playing their best right now.
For Philly, after this epic seven-game set with Miami, they host the Mets and Blue Jays, then travel to Washington for four games, before finishing the year against the Tampa Bay Rays. The Phillies schedule lays out tougher than Atlanta’s for sure, but being able to get this red-hot Philly team at +300 to win the division title shows outrageous value.
In a week from now, if the Braves continue their weak play on the road, and the Phillies beat up on the Marlins as expected, Philly could easily be in first place. This is a bet you are going to want to lock in right now, as the price is sure to drop in the next several days. Are the Phillies locks to catch Atlanta in the next three weeks? Of course not. But do they show a ton of value at +300? You bet!
Fernando Tatis Jr To Win NL MVP (+125)
The National League MVP race is all but over if you ask me. Fernando Tatis Jr has it wrapped up. The kid is the face of Major League Baseball right now, and the Padres have established themselves as true title contenders in the National League. I honestly can’t believe we can still get dog money on Tatis Jr winning the NL MVP award right now.
The MVP award is as much of a popularity contest as it is about how good of a season a player is having. And Tatis Jr is the most popular player in the league right now, by a wide margin. Whether he is making headlines by breaking baseball’s unwritten rules, or if he is making SportsCenter’s top ten for another one of his eye-popping plays, he is front page news every day.
— MLB (@MLB) September 1, 2020
But even statistically, I don’t see how you can make a case that Tatis Jr isn’t the runaway favorite to take home the NL’s highest honors. Tatis Jr leads the National League in home runs (15), RBI (39), and slugging (.640) and is top five in the league in stolen bases (8) and hits (53). His WAR of 2.5 is second in the game, trailing only Mookie Betts of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The only guy that I think you can even consider for the league MVP other than Tatis Jr, is indeed MLB WAR leader, Mookie Betts. Betts has had a fantastic season in his debut in the NL with the Dodgers and is a former league MVP in the American League, when he played for the Boston Red Sox. But no disrespect to the season he is having, but when you put their stats up, side by side, it is a landslide.
Tatis Jr has more hits, home runs, doubles, triples, RBI, runs, walks, and stolen bases. He also has a higher on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS. The only stats that Betts leads Tatis Jr. is batting average with Betts hitting .307 to .303 for Tatis Jr and WAR with Betts edging him out 2.8 to 2.5.
Fernando Tatis Jr. is doing things at his age you don’t see very often. pic.twitter.com/PkoPKEI0Z2
— MLB Stats (@MLBStats) September 5, 2020
I guess the fact that the Dodgers are going to finish with the best record in the Major Leagues helps Betts case as well, but with the Padres very likely to finish with the second-best record in the NL, I don’t think that will be enough to push Betts past Tatis Jr. Maybe if the Padres were a last-place team, I could see the Dodgers success as a major factor, but both of these teams are elite, and backing Tatis Jr right now is basically free money.
Los Angeles Dodgers To Win NL Pennant (+120)
While Fernando Tatis Jr and his Padres seem to be stealing all of the headlines in the National League right now, with their quick turnaround and huge push at the trade deadline, the Los Angeles Dodgers are quietly putting together one of the best seasons we have ever seen. Only time will tell how this wacky and shortened season is remembered, but on a winning percentage basis, the Dodgers have a chance to finish with the best record in Major League history.
Right now, the Dodgers are 32-12. That is good for a .727 winning percentage. The 2001 Seattle Mariners have the record for the highest regular season winning percentage in modern-day history, when they went 116-46 for a winning percentage of .716. Yeah, I know it might sound a little crazy given the circumstances, but right now, the Dodgers are winning at rate we have never seen before.
Another homer, another broken record!
The Dodgers have now set the NL record for most home runs in a month (57). pic.twitter.com/AlygWyl2eb
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) August 30, 2020
If the Dodgers win 43-games, they will tie Seattle for the best winning percentage ever. If they win 44-games, they will have the all-time record. That means LA will have to go 12-4 the rest of the way out to lock up GOAT status. The Dodgers have shockingly been favored in every single game they have played this year, and when you look at their upcoming schedule, they will very likely be favored in every game the rest of the way out.
That tells me that the Dodgers are going to finish this season as either the best regular-season team ever, or one of them, and being able to get dog money on them to win their league, is super juicy. Looking back on the last decade for the Dodgers, they won the NL pennant in both 2017 and 2018 and have made the NLCS seven times in the last twelve years. They are National League royalty and should be heavily favored to win the pennant. This is a bad number, and you must exploit it by firing hard on LA.
Los Angeles Dodgers To Win The World Series (+320)
We just talked about the fact that the Dodgers are stone-cold locks to make the NLCS this year, and I think they are going to be major favorites in that series when they get there and will find a way to make the World Series for the third time in the last four years. No disrespect to the Padres, Braves, and Cubs, but we all know the Boys in Blue are the prohibitive favorites to represent the NL in the Fall Classic.
If you pencil the Dodgers in right now as the NL World Series team, you are going to be right way more than you are going to be wrong. And when you look at the American League, there are some really good teams that could beat the Dodgers in the World Series. The Twins, White Sox, Rays, Indians, and Athletics are all going to put up a big fight in a seven-game series. But none of those teams will be betting favorites over the Dodgers.
“I don’t think there’s going to be any game where we don’t feel like we have a chance.”
The Dodgers responded to the Rockies’ go-ahead grand slam with a three-homer inning, moving to 30-10 in the process.
— Dodger Insider (@DodgerInsider) September 5, 2020
The Dodgers are big favorites to get to the NLCS. They will be big favorites to advance to the World Series once they are there, and they are going to be likely -200 or better against whatever AL team they face when they do make the World Series. For hedge value alone, you have to make a play on LA to win it all at this price.
Chicago Cubs To Win The NL Central Division (-200)
The National League Central Division has been very disappointing this season. Many people expected the central to be a very competitive division, and one of the best in all of baseball. But the Cincinnati Reds have bombed, the Brewers are three games under .500, and the Cardinals are just one game above .500 at 18-17. Even the first-place Cubs have underachieved, as they got off to a very hot start at 10-3, but since then, they have been a losing baseball team.
When you take a step back from the disappointment, you can see that there is still ample value on backing the Cubs to win the Central Division title. On August 21st, the Cubs were -400 to win the division. Since then, the Cubs have lost eleven out of their twenty games. Throw in the fact that the second-place St. Louis Cardinals have gone 11-10 during that stretch, and this division has tightened up just a bit.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 9, 2020
But I am not sure that the Cardinals winning eleven out of twenty games and picking up two games in the standings, was enough to drop the price on Chicago by two hundred points. The Cubs are a flawed baseball team, but they still have eight very winnable games left against the Reds, Brewers, and Pirates.
The rest of the schedule is tough, as they play two games against the Indians, three games against the Twins, and finish the season with three games in Chicago, against the White Sox. I would think that Chicago probably wins roughly half of those games and finishes the season 33-34 wins.
Looking ahead on the Cardinals schedule, it is hard not to feel bad for the red birds. The Cardinals missed more than a full week’s worth of action earlier this year due to a COVID-19 outbreak, and they have been trying to play catch up ever since. By the end of the day, St. Louis will have played eleven games in ten days this month, with just one day off.
They won’t get another day off this month and will finish out the year by playing 21-games in 17-days. That is an absolutely brutal workload, and I can’t imagine that the Cardinals are going to be able to continue to play well. The Cards have been playing every day, with several doubleheaders in the mix, for the last three weeks, and they are running out of gas.
If there was one team that you can point to that was the hardest hit by COVID-19 this season, that team would be the St. Louis Cardinals. I think the Cards sputter somewhere along the line and won’t be able to catch the Cubs in the Central.
Three weeks left. 👀 pic.twitter.com/pBhKCjTnq0
— MLB (@MLB) September 7, 2020
Even if the Cubs aren’t very good either, they are going to find a way to back into the division title, even if it’s by default, as the rest of the division just isn’t good enough to make up enough ground. Book the Cubbies to win the central now, before the Cards lose a couple of games in a row, and we see this number shoot back up to -400 or -500.
The last three weeks of the 2020 Major League Baseball season are sure to be ones that we will never forget. In a season full of unpredictable action, I think it is safe to say that we can start to predict things with a high degree of accuracy now, with just a handful of games left on the schedule, and these are bets you are going to want to make. Thanks for reading and make sure to stay tuned to The Sports Geek all season long, where we bring you all of the sharp MLB betting advice that you need to make money betting on baseball!