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 the various odds are from Intertops on the teams. In order, the odds will list the chances of winning the division, league and Over/Under total.
While Philadelphia added Bryce Harper, St. Louis has gone all into winning this season, the Cubs are supposedly refocused, the team that has gone to the last two World Series from the National League is the favorite. That's right, the oddsmakers and other experts are saying until someone knocks off the Los Angeles Dodgers, why shouldn't they be favored. While there are questions to start the season about 3B Justin Turner possibly declining, where is 1B Max Muncy the year after a breakout season and SS Corey Seager overall, this is still a deep team that starts the season with the flexibility to add a piece in July. Clayton Kershaw's velocity is in decline, but he's no dummy and will figure how to get hitter's out. The rest of the starting staff is above average and the bullpen is terrific. This is the team to beat in the NL until proven otherwise.
S&S Pick: 90/10 to win division and 60/40 Over on the total
After consecutive postseason appearances for the first time in team history, Colorado's mission is to play for the NL championship. While the Rockies are clearly the second-best team in the NL West, they are not considered anywhere near the playoffs again this season with what the other two divisions are supposed to have. One problem is the offense believe it not. Charlie Blackmon, Trevor Story and Nolan Arenado are lethal and adding Daniel Murphy is a plus, but where do the runs come after from after their turn through the batting order? The pitching staff is set, young and unafraid to pitch in Coors, but difference-maker is Jon Gray. The right-hander is 27 and has yet to find consistency. If he finally pitches to potential, the Rocks can win 90 games, if not, he's trade material for another bat. Enough here for Colorado to be an Over play.
S&S Pick: 10% to win division 65/35 Over on total
3) San Diego (3rd, 12th, O/U 78)
San Diego signed one of the big whales in the free agent market in Manny Machado, but he's mostly going to playing with guppies this year. Granted, that is an upgrade for Machado compared to where he was last year at this time in Baltimore, but it's not where he was last August thru October either. Eric Hosmer was not a bust, but he had his worst season in four years and needs to bounce back. Ian Kinsler is a former high-quality player in decline and Wil Meyers is, well, Wil Meyers. The Padres complete pitching situation does not inspire confidence, so unless Machado has a monster season and Hosmer returns to his Royals days, this is not close to a .500 team.
S&S Pick: 60/40 Under on win total
4) Arizona (4th, 14th, O/U 75.5)
This team was 27th in batting, 23rd in on-base percentage, 19th in runs scored and that was with Paul Goldschmidt. After collapsing in September with a 8-19 record, the Arizona front office panicked. They traded Goldy, let free agents Patrick Corbin and A.J. Pollock walk and are serving up their fans the Jake Lamb and Steve Souza Jr. are going to replenish the offense and questions abound who takes Corbin's spot in the rotation. Last year's bullpen meltdown late in games has not been resolved, though it could work its way out. And though the D-Backs would love to move Zack Grienke, until they decide to eat part of his overstuffed contract, they are on the hook.
After starting the decade with three World Series rings in five years, Bruce Boche's swan song will end quietly. San Francisco is baseball's version of the - Over The Hill Gang -. The core players for the Giants are all in their 30's and while a player or two could have an outstanding season later in their career, nearly every one of those remaining is trending downward. Previously, the starting pitching and bullpen could keep games close and the "Giants Way" saw them win games in the closing innings regularly. That does not happen anymore and it will be a while before San Francisco is even a division contender again.