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2022 MLB National League Playoffs Push: Division, Pennant, World Series Odds & Best Bets

2022 MLB National League Playoffs Push: Division, Pennant, World Series Odds & Best Bets

ATLANTA, GA Ð August 18: New York left fielder Mark Canha (19) slides into second base with a double during the MLB game between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves on August 18th, 2022 at Truist Park in Atlanta, GA. (Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire)

The best time for baseball fans is just about here: September. Rosters expand and the playoff races heat up. While the 2022 MLB season has quite a few division leaders close to locking things up (looking at you, Dodgers), the added Wild Card teams are making things interesting. With September just hours away, let’s take a look at the National League playoff push and see which MLB playoff betting angles for each division, pennant, and World Series futures make the most sense.

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2022 MLB National League Playoffs Push: Division, Pennant, World Series Odds & Best Bets

NL West: Dodgers dominating, Padres going wild

Look, the NL West is the least competitive division in baseball. The Los Angeles Dodgers have things all but locked up — and they have for quite some time. I’m not going to waste your time breaking down the odds in this division because, quite frankly, there are none. The only thing we can look at is just how far the Dodgers can go, and also if the Padres will make the playoffs.

Let’s start with the Dodgers.

Los Angeles Dodgers

+150 to win National League
+325 to win World Series

Los Angeles is once again the odds-on favorite to both reach and win the World Series. The Dodgers won it all in 2020 and are looking to prove that wasn’t a shortened-season fluke.

The Dodgers are good. Really good. They have one of the best lineups in baseball — the best when they’re clicking.

The holdup for the Dodgers is going to be clutch hitting, as it is for all teams, but most importantly pitching. Four Dodgers starting pitchers have an ERA of 2.69 or lower — and that doesn’t include Andrew Heaney, who has a 2.12 ERA through 10 starts. However, two of them — Tony Gonsolin and Clayton Kershaw — are currently on the IL. Kershaw is slated to return on September 1st, though, and Gonsolin’s forearm strain isn’t considered serious as of now.

While Craig Kimbrel hasn’t been a shutdown closer with his 4.14 ERA, the Dodgers’ bullpen ERA of 3.05 is the best in the NL and third-best in the league.

I would wait to see if these odds get a bit longer, but you can’t go wrong betting on the Dodgers.

San Diego Padres

+1000 to win National League
+2000 to win World Series

The Padres have dealt with some unfortunate injury luck but they were still among the most formidable teams in the NL West. And that was before the trade deadline. Adding Juan Soto, Josh Bell, Brandon Drury, and Josh Hader was supposed to take them to the next level, but they’re still battling in the Wild Card race. Fernando Tatis Jr.‘s suspension doesn’t help matters much.

San Diego is half a game back of the Phillies for the second Wild Card spot and 2.5 games up on the Brewers trailing them. They should make the playoffs and if they get there, they have what it takes to make a run.

Soto, Manny Machado, Bell, and Drury are one hell of a middle of the lineup, not to mention Jurickson Profar and Jake Cronenworth who can contribute as well.

On the pitching side, Joe Musgrove has led the way with Yu Darvish and Mike Clevinger holding their own. Blake Snell has found a bit of a groove as well after a horrible start to the season.

It’s going to be the trade for Josh Hader that may be the Padres’ downfall. They gave up closer Taylor Rogers in the deal for Hader, who has not been himself in San Diego.

As far as MLB playoff betting goes, I don’t mind a 20/1 longshot on the Padres to win it all. The potential is there, they just have to realize it.

NL Central: Cardinals pulling away from the Brewers

The Cardinals have a six-game lead on the Brewers, who are trailing the Padres for the final Wild Card spot.

St. Louis Cardinals

-1200 to win NL Central
+1200 to win National League
+2500 to win World Series

The Cardinals missed out on the Juan Soto sweepstakes but have been doing just fine without him. They were four games back of the Brewers on July 30th and now have a relatively comfortable lead thanks to a 22-7 stretch. Their hot streak has been helped by playing some bad opponents, but they also swept the Yankees and won two of three from Atlanta in that span.

Paul Goldschmidt is the NL MVP favorite and could win the Triple Crown. Albert Pujols has found another gear and is chasing 700. Nolan Arenado could very well be the NL MVP if it wasn’t for Goldschmidt. The Cardinals are also getting contributions from a variety of players around the diamond.

Where the Cardinals are lacking is on the mound. Adam Wainwright is their “ace” at 40 years old, but who knows how he’ll hold up in the playoffs — it’ll be experience vs. age for him. After that, Miles Mikolas and Dakota Hudson have been just fine but nothing spectacular. Even the bullpen has a middling 3.74 ERA with Giovanny Gallegos and Ryan Helsley splitting 25 saves.

The Cardinals seem to be a pesky team in the playoffs so they can’t be ruled out, but I don’t think this is their year.

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Milwaukee Brewers

+700 to win NL Central
+1500 to win National League
+3000 to win World Series

The Brewers are on the outside looking in of the playoff picture and the MLB playoff betting odds reflect that.

Milwaukee has not been able to hit for average this season. Former NL MVP Christian Yelich leads the team at .261. Besides him, there’s a bunch of guys in the .230s or around there.

If the Brewers are going to make a comeback to make the playoffs, it’s going to be on the backs of Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, and weirdly Eric Lauer. Those three guys have been great for Milwaukee this season. Burnes has 195 strikeouts and a 2.84 ERA in 158.1 innings.

Devin Williams is their go-to guy in the ‘pen. He has a 1.80 ERA and 78 strikeouts in 50 innings this season. His performance allowed them to trade Hader and they’ve been happy they did.

I can’t back the Brewers in any fashion at this point. The Cardinals have the second-easiest remaining schedule, per Power Rankings Guru, so if you want to take a stab take the 30/1, but I’m staying away.

NL East: Braves chasing Mets as Phillies look to end playoff drought

The Braves have a comfortable 7.5 game lead in the Wild Card standings and are making a strong push for the division. They’re three games back of the Mets, while the Phillies are half a game up on the Padres for the second Wild Card spot.

New York Mets

-500 to win NL East
+200 to win National League
+450 to win World Series

Steve Cohen has completely changed the New York Mets. In prior years, perhaps we’d be looking forward to a Mets collapse. While that can still happen, this team is built to win.

No one can compete with the one-two punch of Max Scherzer and Jacob DeGrom (if healthy). And then the Mets can choose from Chris Bassitt (3.34 ERA), Taijuan Walker (3.45 ERA), or even David Peterson (3.21 ERA) to pitch that third game, with the rest likely helping out of the bullpen.

Edwin Diaz and his trumpets have been electric in the closer role, striking out 99 batters through 51.1 innings with a 1.40 ERA.

Pete Alonso is doing Pete Alonso things. Francisco Lindor is quietly having a great season. The additions of Starling Marte and Mark Canha have added depth to the lineup. This team puts the ball in play, and good things happen when you put the ball in play.

The Mets have the easiest remaining schedule so I can’t see them blowing their NL East lead this September, for as much joy as I would take in that.

A bet on the Mets to win the NL or win the World Series is partially betting on the health of DeGrom. I’d wait a bit to make sure he’s consistently making starts, but this is not a bad bet at all if things go their way.

Atlanta Braves

+380 to win NL East
+600 to win National League
+1200 to win World Series

The reigning World Series champions are back again with a deep lineup and a healthy Ronald Acuna Jr. as they look to defend their crown. They have a chance of catching the Mets, and anything can happen in September, but I don’t think +380 is long enough for me to jump on given the Mets’ lineup and remaining schedule.

But they are worth a look in the MLB playoff betting futures markets, particularly at 12/1 to win the World Series.

Austin Riley has 30 homers. Matt Olson has 27. Michael Harris is emerging as a potential rookie of the year with a .296 average and 13 home runs in 83 games. This team is deep enough to compete with anyone.

Speaking of potential rookie of the years, it’s going to be Harris vs. teammate Spencer Strider for the trophy. Strider is 8-4 with a 2.87 ERA and 158 strikeouts in 106.2 innings. They also have Max Fried and Kyle Wright with sub-three ERAs, and veteran Charlie Morton who would be a solid Game 4 starter or help out of the ‘pen.

The Braves also are strong in the bullpen already with a 3.24 ERA, good for second-best in the NL and sixth-best in the majors.

I’d take a stab at the reigning champs to win it all again at +1200. Worst-case scenario you can hopefully hedge out in the playoffs.

Philadelphia Phillies

+50000 to win NL East
+1500 to win National League
+3000 to win World Series

Last, but certainly not least, is the Phillies. If I wrote this article over the weekend, it’d have a much more positive spin. It still will, but the Phillies have lost three straight games — 7-0 to Pittsburgh, 13-7 in Arizona (after going up 7-0), and 12-3 in Arizona. It hasn’t been pretty.

But this team can hit. And if it gets hot, it’s the best lineup in baseball. I am a bit biased, but on paper, I do believe this is one of the top lineups in baseball.

So, how far can this team go? Well, they just got Bryce Harper back and the rest of the lineup is coming into shape. J.T. Realmuto is hitting like the best offensive catcher in baseball. Alec Bohm has found a groove to earn him the three-hole in the lineup at times. The off-season additions of Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos give this lineup a bunch of weapons. Jean Segura, who is batting .278, is usually in the seven-spot or lower in the lineup along with Bryson Stott, who is hitting .287 in August.

But playoff baseball is different. Defense matters, and as Keith Hernandez knows, this Phillies team doesn’t always play the best defense. They’ve been better, but mistakes are magnified in the postseason.

It’s going to come down to defense and pitching. Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola have the talent to be a great one-two punch, but Wheeler is hurt and Nola has been known to come up small in big spots. The bullpen has been getting better, but still holds a 4.06 ERA and got a gut punch with the injury to Seranthony Dominguez.

The Phillies are another team where I don’t mind taking the 30/1 stab for them to win it all. After all, it’s not fun to brag about picking a favorite. Why not sprinkle a few long shots into your MLB playoff betting mix and hope one of them hits — or at least makes it far enough to cash out.

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