MLB National League Season Preview

Home to some of the most storied franchises in MLB history, the National League is always an exciting and entertaining conference. The Dodgers are currently favoured to take home the conference at $4.50, however there are plenty of sides clustered right behind them. Chief among these is the Phillies at $6, buoyed by the addition of superstar Bryce Harper. With daily MLB tips to feature on the Neds Blog this season, this is only the start of a season-long value train. Let’s take a look at the top 5 teams in the National League, providing our best bet in the process.

Los Angeles Dodgers $4.50

The Dodgers enter 2019 off the back of a very solid campaign that saw them win the NL West with a 92-71 record. Center Fielder AJ Pollock looms as a key free agent signing, whilst the trade of Yasiel Puig to Cincinnati marks the end of an era. Stalwart Clayton Kershaw is set to lead the pitching rotation again, receiving capable support from Walker Buehler and Hyun-jin Ryu. Having combined for 60 homers last season, Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy can be expected to lead the offence.

Philadelphia Phillies $6

Whilst they had a losing record last season, the Phillies are a completely different team in 2019. This is in large part due to the acquisition of Nationals star Bryce Harper, who is expected to hold down Right Field for the next 13 years. Harper, Andrew McCutchen, and Rhys Hoskins mark a very solid 2-4 in the batting order. Aaron Nola looms as one of the league’s premier starting pitchers and will hope to receive some more support from teammates this season.

Chicago Cubs $7

This Cubs team marks one of the best in recent memory, breaking their elusive title drought in 2016 and making the playoffs in 4 straight seasons. They were very impressive in the 2018 regular season, winning 95 games and enjoying a +116 run differential. In Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez, they’ve got two outstanding hitters that should make for another strong offence. Jon Lester is still as good as they come from a pitching standpoint, whilst Kyle Hendricks and Jose Quintana are capable 2nd and 3rd options.

Milwaukee Brewers $8

In addition to having a very successful NBA team this season, Milwaukee sports fans should also enjoy another solid season from the Brewers. The Brewers had an excellent 2018 regular season, edging the aforementioned Cubs by 1 game to take the NL Central and push the Dodgers to an NLCS game 7. Lorenzo Cain is a very solid lead-off hitter, whilst Jesus Aguilar and Travis Shaw should provide the bulk of the offence. Jhoulys Chacin and Jimmy Nelson are two capable pitching options that should continue on from very strong 2018 campaigns.

Atlanta Braves $8.50

Rounding out the top 5 we have another very solid side in the Atlanta Braves, who won a respectable 90 games last season. This marked their first NL East Division title in 5 years, although their season did end in 4 games to the Dodgers in the post-season. Atlanta has a relatively solid hitting lineup, with Freddie Freeman and Ozzie Albies expected to hit most of the home runs. Led by Mike Foltynewicz and Sean Newcomb, I also expect another strong year for the pitching staff.

Best Bet: LA Dodgers $4.50

Having secured NL Pennants in the last two seasons but failing in the World Series, the Dodgers have to be motivated again this year. They’ve got incredible financial resources and a star-studded lineup. I expect huge seasons again from Bellinger and Muncy, whilst Kershaw has looked near unbeatable at times. Should they make it to a third straight World Series, it’s hard to knock the value at $8 for them to win it all.