NL Pennant Odds: Dodgers Still The Favorites, Regardless Of Seed

Image Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Which Major League Baseball teams are best positioned for a World Series run?

Which clubs are primed to catch fire in the regular season’s final week (or in the St. Louis Cardinals’ case, stay absurdly hot) and carry that momentum deep into October? analyzes the odds for each contender to win the National League and American League pennants.

Odds (courtesy of Circa Sports) and records updated as of  9 a.m. ET on Sept. 29.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Image Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Record: 101-56 (2nd in NL West)
Seed Projection: No. 4 (Wild Card host)
Pennant Odds: +185

Remaining schedule: 2 vs. Padres, 3 vs. Brewers

There’s typically major risk involved when backing a potential one-and-done wild-card entrant. However, the Dodgers are robust favorites to advance to the World Series, in hopes of becoming baseball’s first repeat champion in 21 years.

Why is the betting market so high on Los Angeles? For starters, its offense ranks first among National League clubs in runs and RBI.

The Dodgers also boast a starting rotation highlighted by two multiple-time Cy Young winners (Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw), a Cy Young dark horse this season (Walker Buehler), and a possible future Cy Young candidate (Julio Urias).

Milwaukee Brewers

Image Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Record: 94-63 (1st in NL Central)
Seed Projection: No. 2
Pennant Odds: +290

Remaining schedule: 2 at Cardinals, 3 at Dodgers

As the clear No. 2 seed for the National League playoffs, the Brewers (NL Central champs) can rest up and comfortably position themselves for an NLDS matchup against the NL East champion (Braves/Phillies).

The only drama remaining: Will Milwaukee go all-in against Los Angeles this weekend, knowing the Brewers could play a strong hand in cementing the Dodgers’ playoff status as a wild card—which would cost LA home-field advantage for the NLDS and (potentially) NLCS rounds?

One would think the Brewers would prefer the latter hypothetical, if for no reason than the fact they would travel to San Francisco for a potential Game 7 of the NLCS rather than face the defending champs in L.A.

San Francisco Giants

Image Credit: D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

Record: 103-54 (1st in NL West)
Seed Projection: No. 1
Pennant Odds: +290

Remaining schedule: 2 vs. Diamondbacks, 3 vs. Padres

Baseball’s Collective Bargaining Agreement expires this fall, and the next deal between the players and owners likely will include expanded playoffs. Of course, this doesn’t help the Giants or Dodgers in the short term, since one of the 100-plus-win heavyweights will be stuck in the NL Wild Card Game.

The betting community might like the Giants’ chances of winning the NL West, but they’re not buying the team’s pennant odds; and that rationale was there before San Francisco slugger Brandon Belt (above) broke his thumb.

In the event of a San Francisco-Los Angeles best-of-5 matchup in the NLDS, the Dodgers would have a Scherzer/Kershaw/Buehler/Urias rotation in their favor. Conversely, the Giants would lean on three journeyman pitchers (Kevin Gausman, Anthony DeScalfani, Alex Wood) and one youngster (Logan Webb) in the NLDS.

Advantage: Dodgers (at least in the oddsmakers’ eyes).

Atlanta Braves

Image Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Record: 84-72 (1st in NL East)
Seed Projection: No. 3
Pennant Odds: +550

Remaining schedule: 2 vs. Phillies, 3 vs. Mets (plus one potential makeup game at Rockies)

Atlanta’s front office should be commended for overhauling the team’s outfield on the fly this summer, replacing Ronald Acuna (torn ACL) and Marcell Ozuna (legal troubles) with the power-hitting trio of Jorge Soler, Joc Pederson, and Adam Duvall.

Throw in the contributions of reigning NL MVP Freddie Freeman (.300 average, 31 HR, 82 RBI, 117 runs, .902 OPS), as well as Ozzie Albies, Austin Riley (62 combined homers), and Atlanta has the look of World Series sleeper.

With a 3.5-game lead in the NL East and five games to play (or six, if Atlanta is forced to play a makeup game at Colorado), a Braves-Brewers clash in the NLDS round seems all but certain.

St. Louis Cardinals

Image Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Record: 88-69 (2nd in NL Central)
Seed Projection: No. 5 (2nd Wild Card)
Pennant Odds: +1100

Remaining schedule: 2 vs. Brewers, 3 vs. Cubs

The Cardinals’ franchise-record 17-game winning streak wiped out the competition for the second NL wild card slot in a hurry. In hindsight, once that winning streak reached double digits, the Reds and Phillies never stood a chance here.

Which brings us to this: The Giants and Dodgers have been duking it out for the NL West title all season, with the primary motivation of securing home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. But now there’s another log on the motivation fire: Avoiding Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright and his knee-buckling curveball in the wild-card round.

The Oct. 6 wild-card game has a starting time of 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT, when late-afternoon shadows become long and bothersome to hitters — especially those trying to pick up Wainwright’s nasty breaking ball.

Philadelphia Phillies

Image Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Record: 81-76 (2nd in NL East)
Seed Projection: Missing the postseason
Pennant Odds: +4350

Remaining schedule: 2 at Braves, 3 at Marlins

The Phillies have quickly morphed from a club that would overtake the Braves for first place in the NL East with a three-game sweep in Atlanta this week to one whose playoff hopes are suddenly on life support.

After losing Tuesday’s series opener 2-1 in Atlanta, Philadelphia has little margin for error the rest of the way. If the Phillies are to return to October for the first time since 2011, they essentially have to go 5-0 from here … and hope the free-falling Mets beat the Braves twice this weekend.

Jay Clemons
Jay Clemons remains the only sports writer on the planet to capture Cynposis Media's national award for Sports Blog Of The Year (beating out,,, The Players' Tribune in 2015), along with the Fantasy Sports Writers Association's pre-eminent award for Best Football Writer (2008). Through the years, Mr. Clemons has been a key figure with numerous blue-chip sports/media brands, namely the Detroit Lions, Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report and now American Affiliate's Clemons, a graduate of Michigan State University and Wayne State University, has been an on-camera Web-TV host for Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report and FOX Sports. In 2015, he also became the first-ever sports journalism professor at Kennesaw State University in suburban Atlanta. And for the betting community, covering the last two years of the sports calendar (2019-20 / 2020-21), Clemons enjoyed a rock-solid winning rate of 59.6 percent with point-spread and over/under selections (NFL, college football and college basketball.)