The Los Angeles Dodgers managed to navigate the shortened 2020 season and come away with their first World Series title in 32 years. Now the page has turned to 2021, and the boys in blue are the favorites to repeat as champions at +350, followed by the New York Yankees at +550, per William Hill Sportsbook. But looming with the third-lowest odds are the Dodgers' NL West rivals, the San Diego Padres at +900. Will the Pads figure out a way to take down the Dodgers and win the NL West? Is Los Angeles on a crash course for the World Series?
The last time the MLB played a full season, SportsLine expert John Bollman went a massive 14-1 on his win total picks, taking teams such as the Dodgers, Yankees and Astros to go Over their posted totals, while correctly predicting the Phillies, Padres and Reds would be among the teams to go Under. "The Executive," who brings experience working in the Blue Jays' analytics department to his analysis, has analyzed the MLB futures odds and come away with his picks for the 2021 season. You can check them all out below, along with Bollman's analysis for each pick.
The SportsLine Projection Model owned MLB win totals during 2019, the league's last full season, delivering a 14-5 record on picks in which there was at least a three-win differential between the model's projection and the betting line. Plus, on its top five picks, the model went a STUNNING 4-1. Join SportsLine now to get all of its MLB picks!
All odds provided by William Hill and subject to change.
Odds: Mets +140, Braves +140, Nationals +650, Phillies +850, Marlins +2500
The Pick: Braves +140. This was a tough decision for me because the Mets, Nationals and maybe even the Phillies are all going to contend for this division title. The Mets added Francisco Lindor, James McCann, and Carlos Carrasco, while the Nationals added Jon Lester, Josh Bell, and Kyle Schwarber. However, I believe the Braves are finally ready to get over that hump. They added some much-needed starting pitching experience in Charlie Morton and they were able to retain Marcell Ozuna in free agency. They get Mike Soroka back from injury and a full season of Ian Anderson. The Mets will contend down to the last week of September, but this division is still Atlanta's to lose.
Odds: Cardinals +115, Reds +325, Brewers +340, Cubs +450, Pirates +7500
The Pick: Cardinals +115. The Cardinals made arguably the best move this offseason by adding Nolan Arenado to their lineup to complement their quality pitching staff. They have one of the best bullpens every season, and they will be playing in one of the weakest divisions in the league this season. The Cubs have lost several key players after winning the division last season, and the Reds have lost several key players despite competing for the division last season. The Brewers are expected to compete for the division title but they are an injury away from a .500 season, while the Cardinals should win at least 90 games. The Pirates are going to be one of, if not the worst team in the league this season. This is the Cardinals' division to lose.
Odds: Dodgers -250, Padres +200, Diamondbacks +4000, Giants +4000, Rockies +7500
The Pick: Dodgers -250. The Dodgers are coming off a World Series win, and they are favorites to win back-to-back World Series at +350. They have plenty of starting pitching depth, position versatility and organizational talent. The biggest difference in their back-to-back bids is the strength of the Padres, who added Blake Snell and Yu Darvish among many other key pieces, but the Dodgers added reigning Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer to their already lethal starting rotation. I think the Padres will give the Dodgers a run for their money in the division race, and they might even end up pushing the Dodgers to winning 110 games or more. The Dodgers were on pace to tie the MLB record 116 wins last season had it been 162 games, and this division will be the Dodgers' again when it's all said and done.
NL Wild Cards
Padres (-600 to make playoffs). I believe the Padres will easily earn a wild card this season and host the winner-take-all game. They added Blake Snell and Yu Darvish in the offseason, and along with their prospect talent they have one of the most promising teams in the league. They have the starting pitching talent and depth needed to win 95 games, maybe even more. They were on pace for 100 wins last season, so they should have no problem making the Wild Card Game, and they would have plenty of pitching options to choose from should that happen.
Mets (-260 to make playoffs). Having not been hit by the huge losses from last season, the Mets and their new ownership have been very active this offseason, acquiring Francisco Lindor, Carlos Carrasco and James McCann among others. They have a full season of Marcus Stroman and their starting pitching depth is solid with David Peterson performing well in the short season. The Brewers (+170 to make playoffs), Cubs (+350) and Nationals (+140) would be the other three teams I expect in the National League to challenge for a wild card spot, but I think the Mets will finally get over that playoff hump.
National League Winner
Odds: Dodgers +175, Padres +425, Mets +550, Braves +550, Cardinals +1200, Reds +1800, Nationals +2000, Phillies +2000, Cubs +2200, Brewers +2500, Marlins +4000, Diamondbacks +6000, Giants +6000, Rockies +8000, Pirates +12500
The Pick: Dodgers +175.
Odds: Yankees -190, Rays +400, Blue Jays +400, Red Sox +2200, Orioles +8000
The Pick: Yankees -190. The Yankees' only question mark is their starting rotation, as it has been the past few years. However, everyone (knock on wood) should be healthy going into the season this year, and they were able to keep some key players like DJ Lemahieu. They still have a top tier bullpen despite trading Adam Ottavino. The Rays won the division last season and made it to the World Series, but they lost some key pieces, which is why the Yankees are such heavy favorites. The Rays will compete for, and maybe even win the division title, but they will have to do it with younger players that they haven't needed to rely on yet. The Blue Jays are the sleeper team of the season. They have so much potential after adding George Springer, Marcus Semien, Steven Matz and Ross Stripling to their young core. I think they will contend all season along with the Rays, and they could surprise a lot of people.
Odds: White Sox -130, Twins +170, Indians +700, Royals +4000, Tigers +4000
The Pick: Twins +170. The Twins are coming off back-to-back division titles and I am a little surprised to see the White Sox with such high odds. The Indians have finished second in the division each of the last two years but they lost a few key pieces in Francisco Lindor, Mike Clevinger, Carlos Carrassco and Brad Hand. Despite these losses, they have filled in holes by getting Emmanuel Clase back and continuing to have a dominant starting rotation. The White Sox will also contend and according to William Hill are heavy favorites to win this division with the additions of Liam Hendriks, Lance Lynn, and Michael Kopech. They have more than enough talent to win the division, but they are still a pretty young, streaky team as we saw in the short season last year. This division is Minnesota's to lose, but the division race will come down all the way to the end of September.
Odds: Athletics +120, Astros +125, Angels +360, Mariners +7500, Rangers +7500
The Pick: Athletics +120. The Athletics won their division handily last season, as they were the only team that finished above .500. However, the Angels and Astros should both contend with the Athletics this season. The Astros have lost several key players, including George Springer to free agency and Justin Verlander for the season due to an injury. The Angels get Shohei Ohtani back and should finish with their win total somewhere in the 80s. The Athletics acquired Elvis Andrus to fill Marcus Semien's hole, and they have a good combination of young players that will improve this season along with starting pitching depth. They lost Liam Hendriks as their closer, but they always seem to put out a good bullpen regardless. I like the Athletics in the AL West.
AL Wild Cards
White Sox (-300 to make playoffs). I think the White Sox will get the first wild-card spot and host a playoff game after their additions of Liam Hendriks, Lance Lynn and Adam Eaton. They play in a tough division, and I believe they will compete for the division title until the end with the Twins. They have a good, young core and they are ready to take off.
Blue Jays (-120 to make playoffs). This was probably the toughest decision out of all these picks between the Rays (+120 to make playoffs), Indians (+250) and Blue Jays. All three of these teams have more than a chance to win the second wild-card spot this season. However, I think the Blue Jays have finally turned a corner. Their starting pitching is a little worrisome with a few injuries early, but they have solid starting pitching organizational depth. Their lineup is now one of the best in the league with the additions of George Springer and Marcus Semien to the young superstars they already have. The Rays and Indians will both have the pitching to get them to the playoffs, but the Blue Jays will have a lethal combination of both, and they always seem to have a good bullpen.
American League Winner
Odds: Yankees +240, White Sox +375, Twins +750, Rays +900, Blue Jays +900, Athletics +900, Astros +900, Indians +2000, Angels +2000, Red Sox +2200, Mariners +5000, Orioles +5000, Royals +6000, Rangers +6000, Tigers +6000
The Pick: Yankees +240.
Odds to win: Dodgers +350, Yankees +550, Padres +900, Mets +1000, Braves +1000, White Sox +1000, Twins +1800, Blue Jays +2200, Rays +2200, Athletics +2200, Astros +2200, Cardinals +2500, Reds +3000, Nationals +3500, Phillies +3500, Angels +4000, Indians +4000, Cubs +4000, Brewers +5000, Red Sox +5000, Marlins +8000, Giants +10000, Mariners +10000, Diamondbacks +10000, Tigers +10000, Royals +10000, Orioles +10000, Rangers +12500, Rockies +15000, Pirates +25000
The Pick: Dodgers +350 over Yankees in six games.
Other good value picks: Braves +1000, Mets +1000, Twins +1800, Athletics +2200, Cardinals +2500
The SportsLine Projection Model, which simulates every MLB game 10,000 times, crushed spring baseball during the MLB's last full season, putting together a 59-38 run on its top rated plays and returning more than $600 to $100 bettors over the first four weeks of 2019 en route to nailing more than 55% of those top plays for the entire season, including delivering more than $1,400 in profit in moneyline and run line picks. Get picks from the model and our experts for MLB, NBA, college hoops and more by joining SportsLine TODAY.