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Major League Baseball starts up on March 30th which gives us about three weeks to get futures in on the divisions, World Series, and Player Props. I’m going to start with the divisions and lead up to other pieces after that. There is a lot of opportunity with futures, but this is also a very long season, so make sure tying up your money is worthwhile.
We start in the NL East. This is arguably the best division in baseball. After having the NL West being the most competitive with the Giants, Dodgers, and Padres two years ago, the East now has the Braves (2021 World Series Champion) and the Phillies (2022 World Series runner up), and Mets (complete disaster franchise but still won 101 games). Just kidding Mets fans, don’t jump down my throat on this one. There are two other teams in the division and maybe we just take care of them first with a couple of quick sentences? Sure, why not.
The Marlins and Nationals are +3000 and +20000 to win the division. Neither team will win the division. Neither team will compete for the division title either. The Marlins have one stud pitcher, Cy Young winner Sandy Alcantara, and then a bunch of nobodies on their roster. The Nationals have the ghost of Stephen Strasburg. I assume Alcantara won’t be traded, but everyone else on the rosters for both teams are most likely to be traded if they have any value around the deadline.
Now, the other three: Mets (+130), Braves (+140), and Phillies (+370). The Mets are mostly in this conversation, in my opinion, because of their pitching. They have Max Scherzer, a guy that was on the roster last year. And, despite the loss of the oft-injured Jacob deGrom, they gained AL Cy Young winner, Justin Verlander. The rest of their pitching staff is good, and they might have the best of the three, but I think I might consider them second best in the division. Their hitting is solid, but I’d rank their lineup third out of these top three. I won’t be betting the Mets to win this division. I have to imagine they are getting a bit of love and “favorite” designation because they are a public and high profile team. I would need them to be closer to +250 in order to play.
The Braves took the division last year and I think they can do it again. I mentioned the Mets would be my second-best rotation in the division. The Braves are my favorite. I think Max Fried is great, Spencer Strider was amazing, and Kyle Wright are excellent young pitchers. Then Charlie Morton still has a bit left in the tank. Ian Anderson is not great, but as a fifth starter, you could do worse. As far as their lineup, I like theirs second best in the NL East – some could argue that they have the best but you’ll have to see how Vaughn Grissom does as he replaces Dansby Swanson. Still, Matt Olson, Ozzie Albies, Ronald Acuna Jr., Marcell Ozuna, and Michael Harris II is a lineup that will be a force and tough for teams to navigate through. I’ll grab a ticket on the Braves to win the division.
Finally, the Phillies are my favorite lineup in the division. Look, they were 14 games back in the division last year, but they did get better in the offseason. They signed Trea Turner to a deal and he was second in the league in hits. They still have J.T. Realmuto, Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber, Nick Castellanos, and Rhys Hoskins in the everyday lineup. They will need to all click this year if they want to steal the division, though. Notice I talked about their lineup first, whereas I wrote about the pitching staff for the other two. That’s because I don’t believe in Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, or Taijuan Walker. All three are good pitchers, all three have the capability to be very good – mostly Nola and Wheeler. Then you have Ranger Suarez and Bailey Falter. Neither of those guys gives me much hope. But, if Walker plays well, Suarez can take a step forward, I think we can see them be in contention in September to grab the division. At +370, the Phillies are worth a play (a smaller one).
For more sports betting information and plays, follow David on Twitter: @futureprez2024