It shouldn’t be surprising that the Philadelphia Phillies
have drawn huge money to win the National League pennant.
That’s what happens when Cliff Lee gets added to a pitching rotation that already included Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt.
Prior to Lee signing with Philadelphia, the Phillies were 9/4 to capture the NL pennant and 7/1 to win the World Series, according to odds at the Las Vegas Hilton. But after signing ace southpaw Lee, the Phillies currently are 10/11 to take the pennant and 9/4 to win the World Series.
One online sportsbook, TheGreek.com, even has a special ‘prop’ on the Phillies putting them at plus 345 to win the World Series against the ‘field.’
Halladay, Lee, Hamels and Oswalt rival any of the greatest pitching staffs put together in history. The Phillies also don’t have a bad No. 5 starter in veteran Joe Blanton.
Philadelphia doesn’t lack for offense either with slugging first baseman Ryan Howard, shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who won league MVP honors in 2007, along with outfielders Shane Victorino and Raul Ibañez.
Still, the Phillies may not be the pennant shoo-in many are expecting. Second baseman Chase Utley is out indefinitely with a knee injury, promising rookie outfielder Domonic Brown struggled in spring training before suffering a broken hand and closer Brad Lidge is on the DL with a shoulder injury.
The Phillies are far less intimidating offensively minus Utley. There also are questions in right field after Jayson Werth left for a big money contract with the Washington Nationals.
Milwaukee and the defending world champion San Francisco Giants are the two other teams who have drawn good National League future book support.
The small-market Brewers signaled their intention to go all out this season giving up their best young players for American League pitchers Zach Greinke, a former Cy Young Aware winner, and Shaun Marcum.
The Hilton has altered the Brewers’ World Series odds all the way down from 80/1 to 20/1 and Milwaukee’s pennant odds from 30/1 to 9/1.
Offense hasn’t been the problem for the Brewers with sluggers Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, Richie Weeks, Casey McGehee and Corey Hart. They helped Milwaukee hit the fifth-most homers last year with 182.
Now the Brewers finally have a respectable pitching staff with Greinke, who is beginning the season on the DL, Marcum, Yovani Gallardo, Randy Wolf and Chris Narveson.
The Giants opened 20/1 to win the World Series and 9/1 to take the NL pennant. Currently the Giants’ odds are 15/1 to repeat as world champions and 7/1 to win the pennant.
San Francisco had the best starting pitching with Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez and Madison Bumgarner until the Phillies signed Lee. The Giants have Barry Zito as their fifth starter and a top-notch closer in Brian Wilson.
Unlike the Brewers and Phillies, though, hitting is a concern with the Giants as their offense lacks star power with the possible exception of catcher Buster Posey.
The St. Louis Cardinals have experienced the biggest drop in National League odds going from 15/1 to win the World Series to 30/1 and from 8/1 to take the pennant to 15/1.
The big reason for this is the loss of stud pitcher Adam Wainwright for the season due to a right elbow injury.
St. Louis management also wasn’t able to sign star first baseman Albert Pujols to a long-term contract opening speculation that Pujols may get traded if the Cardinals fall out of contention.
The rest of the future book money on NL clubs was spread out enough to only warrant minor adjustments, said Jeff Sherman, assistant race and sports book manager at the Hilton.
Check out Don Best's season previews for all 16 National League clubs at the following links: Florida Marlins ... Atlanta Braves ... St. Louis Cardinals ... Houston Astros ... Arizona Diamondbacks ... San Diego Padres ... Los Angeles Dodgers ... San Francisco Giants ... Colorado Rockies ... Milwaukee Brewers ... Chicago Cubs ... Cincinnati Reds ... Pittsburgh Pirates ... Washington Nationals ... Philadelphia Phillies ... New York Mets