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Breaking down NL West division race heading into final month of MLB season

The Giants and Dodgers are in a heated race in the West to see who wins the division. We take a look at who has the edge.

Brandon Crawford and Mike Yastrzemski of the San Francisco Giants celebrate after defeating the New York Mets at Citi Field on August 26, 2021 in New York City. The Giants defeated the Mets 3-2. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The fight for the National League West title has been as expected coming into the season. But it’s the San Francisco Giants, not the San Diego Padres, who are battling the Los Angeles Dodgers for division supremacy. Those two teams are right next to one another and at least 14 games clear of everyone else. Let’s examine how you should approach betting this race with odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook.


San Francisco Giants (84-47)
Los Angeles Dodgers (83-49) — 1.5 GB
San Diego Padres (70-62) — 14.5 GB

The Padres fell out of contention in August as they experienced three separate four-game losing streaks and were swept by the D-backs, Rockies and Dodgers. The Giants held a five-game edge on Aug. 13 and although they have played fairly well since then, the Dodgers have been red-hot, winning 13 of their past 16 games as of Aug. 31.

Odds to win division

Dodgers -195
Giants +155

The Giants or the Dodgers for the National League West? It’s a fantastic situation for baseball fans, although it’s a shame these bitter rivals face one another only three more times this season (Sept. 3-5 in San Fran). But this situation is a bit of a tough one for bettors. You’re obviously getting a little more juice with the first-place Giants, and getting plus money with a 1.5-game cushion is obviously tempting. However, I wouldn’t take that route.

The Dodgers should be able to finally erase that gap soon just because of their overwhelming talent. Mookie Betts is looking healthy again. Clayton Kershaw could be back as soon as this weekend. Walker Buehler appears to be the NL Cy Young winner right now, and Max Scherzer has been a total gamebreaker since he was acquired along with the fabulous Trea Turner at the trade deadline. Their recent hot streak, while extreme by most standards, is not really surprising; they are just that good. Meanwhile, the Giants are navigating a bit of a COVID breakout right now. Alex Wood and Donovan Solano recently tested positive while Johnny Cueto is feeling ill.

The schedule also lays out a little better for the Dodgers. Their remaining opponents’ winning percentage is .507. For the Giants’ it’s .516. Something to keep in mind: The Dodgers will visit the Rockies three more times this season while the Giants will play six more games in Denver. That is significant because the Rockies are honestly one of the best teams in baseball when they are at home. They have a 43-22 record and pace MLB in runs at Coors Field.

Although the payout won’t be quite as lucrative, avoid the Giants and take the Dodgers at -195.

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