These are the top National League candidates to cover their projected over/under MLB win total for 2019 – all given numbers daring bettors to take the over.
St. Louis Cardinals (O/U 88.5 wins)
Three years out of the playoffs is an eternity in St. Louis. The team suffered a slew of injuries last season, but still won 88 games. The trade for Paul Goldschmidt and expiring contracts of LF Marcell Ozuna and pitchers Michael Wacha and Adam Wainright have an “all-or-nothing” feel to 2019. With key position players Matt Carpenter, Dexter Fowler, Kolten Wong and Yadier Molina, the Cards have one of the best everyday lineups in the league and fireballer Jordan Hicks will dominate at closer.
Washington Nationals (O/U 88.5)
Bryce Harper is gone, but the Nats are still stacked with talent. The outfield of Juan Soto, Victor Robles and Adam Eaton is an intriguing group to watch, going along with veterans Ryan Zimmerman, Anthony Rendon, Trea Turner and Yan Gomes for a nice mix of power, speed and savvy. Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg are a dominant 1-2 punch in the rotation with acquisitions Patrick Corbin and Anibal Sanchez backing them up and Sean Doolittle and Trevor Rosenthal provide a 1-2 punch at the end of games – a recipe for post-Harper success.
Los Angeles Dodgers (O/U 93.5)
Nobody has won more games over the last six seasons. They lost 26 of their first 42 games last year before winning 76 of their last 110. The team traded Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp and Alex Wood and moved on from Manny Machado and Yasmani Grandal, but are still loaded. No team in the league has more depth and position versatility than the Dodgers. No team is better equipped to survive injuries. Pitching remains a strength with Walter Buehler, Hyun-jin Ryu and Kenta Maeda all capable of moving up a spot until Clayton Kershaw is ready. L.A.’s only failure has been bringing home a title. Until then, 93½ wins is an easily-attainable goal with this talent.
Chicago Cubs (O/U 88.5)
The Cubs have won 92+ games the last four seasons, but many have Chicago finishing third in the N.L. Central. But, the crew is still together (when Addison Russell comes back May 3 from suspension) with Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Ben Zobrist, Kyle Schwarber and Jason Heyward in the everyday lineup and a rotation that includes Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, Jose Quintana, Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels. The bullpen has questions, but, barring a rash of injuries, it’s hard to imagine the Cubs not winning 90+ games with this level of talent.
Colorado Rockies (O/U 84.5)
The Rockies have re-tooled the roster, but have won more games each of the last four years and made the playoffs the last two. But, they’re projected to take a backward step in 2019 (-7 wins). But, with Charlie Blackmon and Daniel Murphy, they have two of the best pure hitters in the league and excellent power from Trevor Story and Nolan Arenado. They have a strong 1-2 punch in the rotation with German Marquez and Kyle Freeland and closer Wade Davis likely won’t lose six games this year. In the weakest division in the NL, winning 85 games shouldn’t be a problem.