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March MLB Headlines: Odds on the World Series, NL Central review, & Greinke Milestone

It’s hard to believe that we are already into March and the MLB season is about to get underway.

Let’s have a look at who’s leading the league on the MLB betting odds boards at the top betting sites to win it all this yea, then dig a little deeper into the NL Central, which is wide-open and up for grabs –as far as we can tell– and then check in with Zack Greinke.

Los Angeles Dodgers Stand on Top of Pre-Season Odds

After being listed near the top of the odds boards for several years in a row but having terrible luck in the playoffs, the Los Angeles Dodgers finally got back in the Fall Classic win category for the first time since 1988.

As we begin spring training, the Blue-Crew are +300 (three-to-one) to win it all in 2021, which is twice as good as the NY Yankees at +600.

The top ten on the MLB odds boards in Las Vegas and offshore sites are as follows:
  1. LA Dodgers +300
  2. NY Yankees +600
  3. San Diego Padres +700
  4. Chicago White Sox +900
  5. NY Mets +950
  6. Atlanta Braves +1000
  7. Toronto Blue Jays  +1800
  8. Minnesota Twins +2200
  9. St.Louis Cardinals +2200
  10. Houston Astros & Oakland A’s +2500
Division Odds Leaders at Bovada:
  1. Chicago White Sox -130 to win the AL Central
  2. New York Yankees -190 to win the AL East
  3. Oakland A’s +135 to win the AL West (Should be noted the A’s and Stros are neck and neck and at some shops, the Astros are favored)
  4. St; Louis Cardinals +100 to win the NL Central
  5. Atlanta Braves +135 to win the NL East
  6. LA Dodgers -260 to win the NL West<iframe width=”1280″ height=”720″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/3QAEgLOOmpk” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture” allowfullscreen></iframe>
Cubbies, Brew Crew, or Cardinals?

The AL West is always a battleground, but this year, it seems like the most wide-open division is the NL Central.

If you go by just the betting odds, it looks like the St. Louis Cardinals are a lock to win the NL Central. However, I’m not so sure that’s the case. In fact, I believe they will be lucky to place second and have a shot at a wildcard berth.

When we look at the Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Tests, it’s more likely that the Cubbies have an 85-win season than the Cards. According to the PECOTA Projections, the Cardinals are likely to finish .500 with an 81-81 record.

The Cardinals finishing third is obviously not set in stone, but with that said, the PECOTA Algorithms are regarded as some of the most accurate in sports. The NL Central should be tightly contested with projections showing the Milwaukee Brewers winning the division with around 89 wins, the Cubbies pulling down roughly 85 Ws, and the Cards at 81. The Reds and Pirates should bring up the rear with the Buccos struggling the most.

So, this is interesting because the projections show the Cards in 3rd, but if we are looking at raw talent and what pundits will say, they should be the NL Central leaders by the end of the year. After all, even Vegas has them to win the division on the odds boards. With all of this in mind, baseball is perhaps the most data-driven professional sport there is, so I am going to put some faith in the algorithm.

I was hoping to find a gap in the season wins total odds, but alas, I didn’t not. The Cards are set at OVER/UNDER 86.5 wins, the Brewers at 83.5 wins, the Cubbies are set at 79, yet somehow the Cincinnati Reds are at 81.5 wins. This makes me think that this could be one of the most exciting divisions this summer; anything could happen.

One thing is certain, I’m not a Cubs fan, but I love the bet on OVER 79 wins in 2021.

Zack Greinke on 10 & 10

Zack Greinke sounded off earlier about his milestone benchmark. He wants 10 home runs and 10 stolen bases. Ok … well, maybe now that you’re in the American League, maybe you should just focus on being the best pitcher you can.

However, I can see the yearning to tie Adam Wainwright for the second-place home run stat for active pitchers. After all, Greinke has nine humdingers and nine stolen bases. The thing that made me wonder a bit about this whole thing, is he sounded a bit frustrated about being in the American League. He stated, “the only milestone I pay attention to is I wanted to get 10 home runs and 10 stolen bases, and then I got traded to the American League; made it way harder for that to happen.”

He went on to say that the only time he has been thrown out was in Houston because he wanted it so bad, and thought that he may never get another chance [being in the American League]. So, will we get a focused Greinke in 2021, or will he be dreaming of one more home run and stolen base?

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