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Mets one of the best early bets to win division title

Derek Carty, creator of The BAT projection system, tweeted he forecasts four teams winning 90 or more games in 2021 — the Dodgers, Yankees, Padres and Mets. I won’t have any projections for a few more weeks, but Carty’s numbers are very good, and I don’t disagree with him. BetMGM, FanDuel and DraftKings have MLB division odds up, and though everyone is getting ready for the Super Bowl, betting college basketball or the NHL or buying GameStop stock, I am going to make a few MLB divisional bets.

NL East: Mets 2/1 (DraftKings)

The NL East features four respectable, competitive teams and the Miami Marlins. The Phillies are a tempting long shot to win the division at 7/1, but I also think the Mets are close to a 90-win team with or without Trevor Bauer. I’m betting the Mets at 2/1 to win the NL East, risking one unit. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Mets are the NL East favorites by the time spring training arrives.

AL East: Blue Jays 7/2 (BetMGM)

The Blue Jays have done as much as any team to upgrade their lineup with the additions of George Springer and Marcus Semien, both of whom should slot into the top of an already dangerous lineup. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., noticeably out of shape in 2020, has spent the offseason getting healthy and looks ready to take the next step. The Blue Jays also acquired lefty starting pitcher Steven Matz from the Mets. I don’t think this 7/2 will last long, and I think the Jays are at worst the second-best team in the AL East behind the Yankees. I’m betting two units on the Blue Jays at 7/2 to win the AL East.

George Springer was signed by the Blue Jays.

AL and NL Central divisions

I don’t have much interest in either division right now. I think the White Sox are this year’s hype team, and I don’t see any value on the Twins or Indians. The still-being-finalized acquisition of Nolan Arenado by the St. Louis Cardinals has rightfully moved them to NL Central favorite status at DraftKings (+180). I didn’t play the Cardinals before the Arenado trade news, and I’m not jumping on them at +180, either.

NL West: Dodgers -167 (DraftKings)

This bet is simple. The Dodgers are still the best organization in baseball, and this is probably the best price we’ll see on this all season. I’m fine locking this up.

AL West: Angels 5/1 (FanDuel)

Semien’s signing with the Blue Jays not only helps the Jays, it hurts the A’s. Oakland also lost Liam Hendriks, and it will be hard to replace the production of a starting shortstop and an elite closer without spending money. I don’t think I’d make the A’s the favorites to win the AL West, but they are at FanDuel (+115), BetMGM (+120) and DraftKings (+125).

I don’t think the Astros have gotten much better. They lost Springer, and while they are getting back a healthy Yordan Alvarez, the rotation has holes. And I’m not excited about expecting 150 or more innings out of Zack Greinke and Framber Valdez at the top of my rotation.

I’m betting on the Angels at 5/1 because they have Mike Trout and neither the A’s nor the Astros look impressive to me, and the Mariners are still probably at least a year away.

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