Spring is in the air and baseball is back. It’s going to be an unpredictable season, as the league is coming off an unprecedented year where they played only 60 games due to the pandemic.
Nobody knows how that shortened season will affect the 2021 campaign, but we’re about to find out. The league is also reportedly tweaking with the balls for this upcoming campaign, injecting even more variance, and there are 12 teams to focus on at the head of the market with LA Dodgers at
7/2 from the
5/1 New York Yankees.
Behind them line up the San Diego Padres, Chicago White Sox, New York Mets, Atlanta Braves and the Minnesota Twins, while the Houston Astros, Toronto Blue Jays, Oakland Athletics, St Louis Cardinals and Tampa Bay make up the rest.
Dodgers the Ones to Beat
The Dodgers are the clear favourites to win back-to-back titles, which would certainly be impressive after their 30-plus year drought.
Can the Yankees, who always seem like the on-paper champions with all the talent they’ve paid up for, finally make it back to the Fall Classic? They’re the favourites to do so out of the American League.
If you had said a few seasons ago that San Diego would have the third-best odds to win it all, you would have been called crazy. The Padres have done a great job of rebuilding, and with their line-up led by Fernando Tatis Jr. and their suddenly elite rotation leading the way, they’ve got a legit shot. Can their offseason trade for Blake Snell actually get them there?
Be Brave and Back Atlanta
There are lots of questions to answer but the
12/1 Braves look the best bet. Atlanta were a game away from the World Series in 2020, and they held a commanding 3-1 lead over the Dodgers in the NLCS before blowing it. Two of their top pitchers, Mike Soroka and Ian Anderson, are only 23 and 22 respectively, so they should take the next step in 2021. Young third baseman Austin Riley (23) should also continue to get better, as should budding superstar Ronald Acuna Jr. (23).
In addition to all the youth that should progress, they’ve still got two of the National League’s best overall hitters in Freddie Freeman and Marcell Ozuna. They’re loaded with talent and will come back especially motivated for this season after last year’s meltdown. Watch out for Atlanta.
As for a team to make the playoffs, take the Angels at
27/20. They were a big disappointment in 2020, but mostly just because they got off to a really slow start with the unprecedented makeshift season. Once they adjusted to the COVID-19 life they really settled down, and they actually went 17-12 in their final 29 contests. If it had been a full 162-game slate, they’d have made the playoffs.
Freeman can be MVP Again
Looking at NL MVP, Freddie Freeman makes a lot of sense at
11/1. He just won the award this past season and in each of his past four full seasons, he’s finished in the top eight of MVP voting.
Atlanta are going to be much improved overall, so pitchers won’t be able to pitch around him as much. He’s got a serious chance to repeat.
*All odds correct at time of writing