The 2021 MLB season is in full swing, with the teams playing 35 of a scheduled 162 games. It is still relatively early in the season, with less than a quarter of the game completed, but the standings are starting to take shape.
Reigning World Series champions Los Angeles Dodgers are still the clear favorites to retain their title in the latest MLB betting markets. The Dodgers swept aside all that dare stand before them in the 2020 season and ran out worthy winners.
Dodgers finished with an incredible .717 winning percentage and were on course to tie with the 1906 Chicago Cubs and 2001 Seattle Mariners on 116 victories. The COVID-19 pandemic dashed those hopes because it ended the season prematurely.
The current season was meant to be one where the Dodgers broke records like they were going out of fashion. Signing the legendary Mookie Betts on a 12-year $365 million extension, an extension that came with a gargantuan $65 million signing bonus, was meant to bolster the ranks. The Dodgers, however, have been uncharacteristically inconsistent in the first quarter of the campaign.
A Great Start Followed By Disappointment
The Dodgers started the season like a house on fire, going 13-2 in their opening 15 fixtures. Only a 5-8 loss to the Colorado Rockies on Game 1 and a 3-4 defeat to the Oakland Athletics on Game 7 blotted an otherwise perfect start.
Since then, however, Dodgers have faltered and are 5-15 from their past 20 games. That poor run of form pushed the Dodgers down into third place in the National League West with a .514 winning percentage, which places them 14th in the entire MLB standings.
The following nine games are, on paper at least, winnable for the Dodgers; all nine take place on home soil at the Dodger Stadium. Back-to-back games against the Seattle Mariners should see two Dodgers victories. The lowly Miami Marlins follows in a series of three fixtures before the Dodgers entertain the Arizona Diamondbacks, who have also started the campaign disappointingly.
They need to get some more wins under their belts because the Dodgers take on the high-flying San Francisco Giants seven times before the month of May concludes. Three of those games take place on the road, with the other four at home. The second half of May could seriously shape the Dodgers’ season.
Yankees and Padres Still Much Fancied
New York Yankees and San Diego Padres are the second and third favorites for World Series glory behind the Dodgers. Neither side has lit up the MLB through the first 35 games. The Yankees are 18-16 (.529) while the Padres are 19-16 (.543), so they need to up their game in the coming weeks.
The Boston Red Sox are one of the surprise teams of the current season. Red Sox finished fifth in the American League East with a .400 record in 2020. They currently occupy first place with a 22-14 (.611 record). A scintillating offense is the main reason Red Sox is flying high. They are scoring runs for fun, including 45 over the course of five games before May 9. Any team has a chance of becoming champions if they continually put runs on the board.
San Francisco Giants are flying too, and moved up eight places in the latest MLB Power Rankings. The Giants are hitting home runs like there is no tomorrow, hitting 12 in their past six games! Eight of those homers have come from the Giants’ so-called old guard. Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford have three home runs apiece, while Buster Posey has hit the ball out of the park twice in the previous six fixtures.
Amazingly, online bookmakers do not fancy the Red Sox or the Giants to keep their impressive starts. The Red Sox are still only 11th favorites, with the Giants languishing in 22nd place in the current MLB betting markets. It goes to show how much of this season there is left.