The National League might not get as much attention as the American League this year, after the latter saw three teams win 100 or more games last season. But there is plenty of talent to be found in the National League, with the Los Angeles Dodgers looking to get to their third straight World Series and the rest of the league trying to take the pennant from them.
National League Picks - Los Angeles Dodgers
Los Angeles lost some talented players this offseason, with the most notable being Manny Machado, who is being courted by multiple teams. But the losses of those players could help the team from a chemistry standpoint, making it a very attractive choice in World Series predictions. Machado didn't ever seem likely to stay with the Dodgers after last season, with the loss of Yasiel Puig also serving as a potential chemistry boost, one that has put the Dodgers at a best price of +700 to win the World Series, keeping them in the upper echelon of contenders.
Puig was a talented outfielder both at the plate and with his arm in right field. But he was often the source of controversy within the team, as he was routinely criticized both inside and outside of the clubhouse for his work ethic and attitude. Without Puig in the locker room, the Dodgers might be able to give their undivided attention to baseball, which is key in October.
The rest of their lineup makes the Dodgers one of the best MLB picks on the board, as they still have an all-star team's worth of talent. Young stars Max Muncy, Corey Seager, and Justin Turner highlight the infield, while Cody Bellinger and Joc Pederson anchor the outfield. And with one of the best pitching rotations in baseball, manager Dave Roberts' side has the best of both worlds. That pitching staff ranked second in Major League Baseball in earned run average last year with a 3.38 ERA, finishing behind only the Astros in that category, mainly thanks to breakout performances by Walker Buehler to go with their veteran talent.
Strengthening the position of the Dodgers as one of the National League's top World Series picks is the fact that the rest of the National League is experiencing a decline. The Washington Nationals (+900 to win the World Series), are in the process of losing Bryce Harper, and the Colorado Rockies (+2000 outsiders) are losing a key reliever in Adam Ottavino. While the Chicago Cubs (+1000) will always be a threat and the Braves (+1200) look like a dangerous young team, nobody else in the National League looks ready to take the throne from the Dodgers just yet.
If Clayton Kershaw can shake his struggles with pitching in the playoffs, the Dodgers might be a better choice to win the World Series than the favorites in the American League. Whether he gets his act together in October or not, the Dodgers should be able to cruise into the World Series yet again.