For these ScoresandStats.com baseball betting previews, our perspective will be along the lines of scouting reports on teams. This will include what they do and don't do well and various odds from Intertops on the teams. In order, the odds will list the chances of winning the division, league and Over/Under total.
1) Philadelphia (1st Division odds, 2nd in NL, O/U 89.5)
The Philadelphia Phillies got the biggest fish in the free agent market in Bryce Harper. That along with trading for J.T. Realmuto has catapulted Philadelphia from either 3rd or 4th in the preseason magazines to the top spot in the Eastern Division. The Phillies will also have two new starters in SS Jean Segura, who give them a bonafide leadoff hitter and Andrew McCutchen in leftfield. Manager Gabe Kapler will have spent the spring working on fundamentals, for the second-worst fielding team a year ago. Plus, beyond Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta, the starting pitching ordinary and the bullpen is not bullet-proof. This restructured team better win early or the pressure will mount.
Washington was not glad to see Harper go, especially to a division rival, but they were not broken-hearted either. This is a team talent-wise from a starting nine perspective is still probably the best in the division. Third-baseman Anthony Rendon is a stud, Trea Turner could turn into an All-Star shortstop and Juan Soto is only 20 with a huge ceiling. If Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Eaton can make no more than one trip to DL for a normal amount of time this remains a good club. The rotation is set with Max Scherzer at the top, with the addition of Patrick Corbin to go along with Stephen Strasburg. In most people's eyes, the Nationals have underachieved, but maybe like the Capitals, who lost a few players and then won the Stanley Cup, it could be addition by subtraction for the Nats.
S&S Pick: 50/50 to win division 60/40 Over on total
3) Atlanta (3rd, 7th, O/U 86.5)
When looking at the Braves everyday lineup, any team having to face Freddie Freeman, Ronald Acuna Jr. and Johan Camargo, that is a lethal top of the order trio. If Josh Donaldson can deliver 110 games of normal, not superstar production and Brian McCann can play 70 games and fill in otherwise, Atlanta is going to score runs. The starting staff is solid if not spectacular and if Sean Newcombe and Mike Foltynewicz take the next step in development, back by Julio Tehran and Kevin Guasman, the Braves can be competitive in series after series. Atlanta is Washington without great starting pitching. If the starters walk fewer and the bullpen stabilizes, the Bravos can win the division. The operative word is "if".
S&S Pick: 40% to win division and 60/40 Over on total
Here is something rather intriguing to consider. The Mets won 77 games last year, they had the 3rd-worst bullpen in baseball and they had the NL Cy Young Winner with a 1.70 ERA in Jacob deDrom and only won 14 of his 32 starts. The only significant additions were an aging Robinson Cano and Wilson Ramos who was deemed expendable by the Phillies. deGrom is a star, but what can to do to top last year? Noah Syndergaard spends more time on the DL every year except for Yoenis Cespedes. And does anyone really think Zack Wheeler continues his 9-1, 1.68 ERA to close last season? This is an overrated squad with potentially great pitching, potentially.
S&S Pick: 70/30 chance of Under on total
5) Miami (5th, 15th, O/U 63.5)
If a Miami player is making more than a million dollars, he's on the trade market. The fact that the Marlins have won two World Series in their history is a testament to how well they have hired scouts with great contacts and an eye for developing talent. Of course in this century, all they have done is see it rise to the majors and move in trade it for draft picks, which places Miami on the perpetual train to nowhere. If the Marlins do not lose a 100 games this season, they will be damn close.