|Date & Time||Friday March 21, 2014, 8:30 AM (EDT)|
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Spring training is soon underway and the MLB regular season will be here before you know it. So, while you’re looking over the rosters and crunching in the numbers, you should be also throwing a few dollars on a few future bets. Of course, there are the favorites to win the World Series, but more times than not it’s a team that very few were paying attention to that ends up hoisting the trophy when all said and done.
Here are a few dark horses in the National League that could return a pretty penny:
San Francisco Giants: The Giants had a ton of bad luck last season with injuries and guys who just couldn’t break out of their funk. With a healthy Angel Pagan and a motivated Buster Posey, the lineup should finally start putting runs on the board. Remember, this is a team that had the eight best team batting average last year, they just couldn’t drive guys home. Pitching, there’s tons of potential with Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Tim Hudson. At +1800, you’d be a fool to turn down that price. It’s only going to get worse when the Giants start winning.
Atlanta Braves: Even though the Braves lost Tim Hudson and Brian McCann, there’s more than enough talent to win the lousy NL East and give themselves a shot in the playoffs. They finished 13th in baseball in runs scored and on-base percentage without a healthy Jason Heyward. The team ERA was also the best in baseball and features a couple of talented, young arms. The Braves will be on the radar all year, so get them at +1800 while you still can.
Pittsburgh Pirates: The Pirates gave the St. Louis Cardinals a run for their money in the playoffs last year and return majority of their team. Getting them at +2500 is an absolute gift. Sure, they lack pop in their lineup and can go long stretches without scoring, but their pitching rotation is still one of the best in baseball. They say great pitching wins championships, I’ll gladly take Pittsburgh at that price for a few Benjamin’s.
Philadelphia Phillies: The longest of longshots, sure. But this team won 102 games just two seasons ago with pretty much the same roster. If Ryan Howard and Chase Utley can stay healthy, while Jimmy Rollins continues to drink from the fountain of youth, the lineup is pretty decent. While the pitching rotation has taken a hit, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee are still more than capable of getting it done. The Phillies have potential to make a surprising run if everything goes right, which makes +3300 worth a shot in the dark.