When you look at the 2012 future odds for the five teams in the NL West, it appears that it will once again be a two-team race between San Francisco and Arizona for the division title, but do not tell that to the Rockies or Dodgers. In reality, the West remains fairly wide-open as there is no clear-cut dominant team heading into the regular season.
The following is a brief preview of all five teams in the NL West along with their current future odds as provided by BetOnline.
San Francisco Giants
Projected 2012 Win Total: 87
Odds to Win the National League: +650
Odds to Win the 2012 World Series: +1500
The Giants’ overall roster remains both young and talented and, with the return of Buster Posey and Freddy Sanchez from devastating injuries last season, has all the pieces in place for another run at a world title.
Despite losing both players for a substantial number of games, San Francisco still managed to win 86 games primarily behind a pitching staff that had a 3.20 team ERA which was ranked second in the NL. As long as the Giants have Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain anchoring the starting rotation, they will remain competitive in the division.
Projected 2012 Win Total: 86.5
Odds to Win the National League: +800
Odds to Win the 2012 World Series: +2000
Last season’s NL West champions with 94 wins remain pretty much intact heading into the 2012 season and should once again contend for the top spot in the division. The core strength of this team is a lineup that his filled with players that can put the ball in play and score runs. The Diamondbacks were ranked 10th in the NL last season in hitting with a .250 team batting average, but fourth in runs scored with 731.
Arizona’s pitching staff had a respectable 3.80 team ERA in 2011, but it was its lack of depth in the starting rotation that led to an early exit from the postseason. This offseason, the D-Backs added Trevor Cahill from Oakland as their third starter to go along Daniel Hudson and Ian Kennedy at the top of their rotation. If Joe Saunders and Josh Collmenter can successfully anchor the back-end of the rotation, Arizona has a good shot to repeat.
Projected 2012 Win Total: 81
Odds to Win the National League: +1500
Odds to Win the 2012 World Series: +3500
Colorado won 83 games in 2010 and actually contended for the division title until late in the season, but took a major step backwards in 2011 with just 73 wins to wind-up 21 games out of first place. The Rockies went out and signed Michael Cuddyer to help bolster a line-up that scored 735 runs last season, which was tied for the second-most in the National League.
The primary problem with this team is a pitching staff that finished second-to-last in the NL with a team ERA of 4.43. The Rockies added Jeremy Guthrie and Tyler Chatwood to the starting rotation, but these moves alone hardly invoke any confidence that things will be any better this season. If Colorado is going to win the West, it is going to have to be able to outscore its opponents on a regular basis.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Projected 2012 Win Total: 81
Odds to Win the National League: +1700
Odds to Win the 2012 World Series: +4000
The off-field issues that plagued this storied franchise over the past few seasons are hopefully a thing of the past, allowing the Dodgers to strictly focus on the business of winning games this season. The pieces are in-place for a successful year, especially with a line-up that still features players such as Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, and James Loney.
Los Angeles also has the reining 2011 NL Cy Young winner, Clayton Kershaw anchoring the starting rotation to go along with a couple of solid arms in Chad Billingsley and new-comer Aaron Harang. This is the kind of team that needs to play up to its level of talent on a consistent basis, which was certainly not the case last season.
San Diego Padres
Projected 2012 Win Total: 73.5
Odds to Win the National League: +12500
Odds to Win the 2012 World Series: +15000
San Diego continued to sacrifice its chances to compete right now, in hopes of building a championship-caliber team down the road by parting ways with players such as starter Mat Latos and closer Heath Bell this past offseason. In return, it did add some power to its anemic lineup by signing Carlos Quantin.
The Padres’ roster is still filled with much more potential than proven ability and is probably another season or two away from seriously returning to the NL West race. In the meantime, the legitimate goal for this team is work its way back to .500 after posting just 71 wins in 2011.
DJ is a freelance writer that concentrates on his true passion in life; the world of sports. He produces a number of articles each week for BangTheBook.com as well as a select group of other websites that specialize in providing the most up-to-date information for the sports gaming industry. His goal is to write insightful articles on a wide variety of sporting topics that can provide an edge to today's sophisticated online player.