For most of the last decade, the Los Angeles Dodgers have used the NL West as their playground, toying with their inferior divisional “rivals” and locking up every division title from 2013 to 2020.
Los Angeles representing its division, was as close to a lock as there was in sports.
Then came the San Francisco Giants, who defied all odds and put an end to Los Angeles’ eight years of dominance last season. San Francisco silenced all oddsmakers and had one of the most overachieving regular seasons you will ever witness. The Giants were projected to win just 74.5 games and were +4000 to win the NL West, per Caesars Sportsbook. They wound up winning 107 games and edging Los Angeles for the division crown. They didn’t just exceed regular-season expectations. They often looked like the best team in baseball.
Well, it’s a fresh, new season, and that gives NL West teams a fresh, new opportunity to claim their seat on top of the division throne by season’s end. LA will enter the season as the odds-on favorite to take back its division crown at -220 (DraftKings). The San Diego Padres (+330) and San Francisco Giants (+550) make up the second tier, followed by bottom feeders Colorado Rockies (+9000) and Arizona Diamondbacks (+12000).
It’s going to be some time before Giants fans will be able to legally wager on California sports betting apps. For now, Giants fans can enjoy watching their defending NL West champs try to repeat as divisional winners.
Below are the odds from multiple sportsbooks to win the NL West, along with a breakdown of why you should either ride or fade the Giants’ divisional odds this season.
San Fran’s Arrivals and Departures
The Giants had a hot but mostly cold offseason. They filled the quality pitching hole left by Kevin Gausman (now in Toronto) by acquiring Cy Young finalist Carlos Rodón and, less notably, Alex Cobb and Matt Boyd. They have a rotation that can compete with San Diego’s and Los Angeles.’
Here’s where it gets cold. The Giants had to say farewell to Hall of Fame-bound catcher Buster Posey, who retired shortly after last year’s World Series, leaving a huge void that they did not address. They also lost four-time All-Star Kris Bryant, who played in just 51 games before ending up in Colorado this offseason. Bryant has leveled off since his MVP-caliber seasons early in his career, but bringing in Joc Pederson as his “replacement” must be hurting Giants fans. Expect a much worse offense this time around, as they are now projected to rank 25th in runs scored this season after finishing 6th just last season.
Dodgers’ Versus Giants’ Regular Season Track Record
Getting past the Padres is challenging alone, but beating out the Dodgers for the division’s top spot will be David versus Goliath-esque. Los Angeles has built a winning culture during the regular season. Since 2013 (not including the condensed 2020 season), the Dodgers have won an average of 97 games per season, winning as few as 91 (2016) and as many as 106 (2019, 2021).
In the league’s shortened season in 2020, the Dodgers won 43 of 60 games, which would have been on pace for 116 wins in a full 162-game season. Their rotation took a slight hit over the offseason with Max Scherzer gone, but their lineup can potentially be the best lineup ever with Freddie Freeman added to the mix of Mookie Betts, Trae Turner, Justin Turner, Max Muncy, and Cody Bellinger. The combination of a lineup this loaded and a rotation still one of the best in the league can team up for 100+ wins easily.
The Giants have had a different type of experience in the last decade or so. From 2013 to 2020, the Giants had won an average of 82 games per season and never won more than 88 games.
San Francisco’s 2021 season was a complete anomaly of a season, winning 31.5 games more than their projected win total of 74.5.
Looking at the team’s history in the regular season, it is extremely hard to envision the Giants putting together another overachieving season like last year’s, especially with what seems to be a worse roster this time around.
The Giants winning the NL West, even at +550, does not seem possible by any stretch.
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