The Phillies will win the NL East but they won’t dominate it like they did the past two seasons according to Al Dannity.
The case for a four-peat Philadelphia (-286) has built itself up as the dominant power in the NL East since 2007 and it has the tools required to continue that run in 2010. It’s no surprise the Phillies are runaway favorites for the division in MLB betting. The offensive playmakers just roll off the tongue, Rollins, Utley, Howard, Victorino. Take a look at their pitching rotation and your jaw drops further, Halladay, Hamels, and the impressive JA Happ. Forget about the NL East, this is a line-up which could potentially dominate the National League as whole and make its third straight trip to the Fall Classic. In many respects this ball club is the Yankees of the National League.
The case for an upstart In one major respect the Phillies are anything but the Yankees. Mariano Rivera is closer for New York while all the Phillies can count on is Brad Lidge. While one question mark in a line-up never cost a team this loaded a place in the playoffs, it’s far from a perfect situation. Philadelphia could also be caught if catcher Carlos Ruiz suffers a drop in form.
Atlanta (+400) and Florida (+800) look best placed to put up a fight. The Marlins have a small payroll but don’t lack talent, with Hanley Ramirez and Josh Johnson the stand-out names. Florida is probably a player or two away from making a run this season but if outfielder Mark Stanton can live up to his promise if and when he comes in from the minors they could be worth an outside bet. The Braves will play above their talent level in 2010 as with it being Bobby Cox’s last year there will be a concerted push to give him at least a shot at the post-season.
Don’t completely rule out the Mets (+600), actually you probably should write them off but only after thinking it through. Jason Bay is a solid addition and K-Rod could rebound from his unimpressive start in Citi Field. Talent is not the reason the over-paid Mets will fail, they simply haven’t been built into a team that can win and until that happens they will be nothing more than over-paid also-rans.
Can the Nats avoid last? No. Washington really can’t hope for anything this year other than maybe taking some baby steps away from the 100 losses mark. They will finish nowhere near fourth place, never mind posting a 0.500 season but at least there’s Stephen Strasburg to look forward to.
For the best MLB odds as opening day nears check out Sport’s Interaction’s online sports book.