MLB season outright predictions & baseball betting tips
San Diego Padres can start challenging for major honours
Free Baseball tips, best bets and analysis for the 2021 Major League Baseball season.
San Diego Padres to win the National League
1pt 17-4 bet365, Hills
Atlanta Braves to win the National League
1pt 5-1 general
Atlanta Braves to win the National League East
2pts 7-5 Hills
Chicago White Sox to win the American League
1pt 9-2 BoyleSports
The MLB regular season begins on Thursday and, with fans returning to stadiums and 162 games set to be played, it will have a much more familiar look to it after last year’s disrupted and shortened version due to the pandemic.
The post season also returns to its usual format with ten teams - the six division winners and four best-of-the-rest wildcard teams - qualifying for the playoffs.
It is something of a risky strategy, but it is worth siding with the San Diego Padres to win the National League.
The Padres have increased their payroll from the 24th highest in MLB to the ninth inside two years, and they have the look of a team who are getting ready to challenge for major honours.
Of course, it will not be straightforward for them as competing alongside them in the NL West are the Los Angeles Dodgers, who could easily win over 100 games.
That means the Padres may have to settle for a wildcard berth but they could yet have a say in the division. At one stage last season the Padres had closed the gap to within 1.5 games of the men from LA, so this incredibly exciting Padres team have what it takes to make an impression this year.
The tightly-packed betting in the NL East underestimates just how good the Atlanta Braves are and they should be backed to come out on top of that division and to also challenge for the National League title.
The Braves won the NL East for the third consecutive season in 2020 and there is no reason why they will not be in the running for top spot again. Atlanta boasted an excellent +60 run differential last term and were only one run behind the highest run-scorers in baseball.
In the American League, another team who also appear ready to enjoy the fruits of a painful rebuilding process are the Chicago White Sox.
They score a lot of runs - 5.1 per game on average last year - while ace Lucas Giolito is one of the best young pitchers in the American League.
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