The Philadelphia Phillies are projected to be no worse than the third-best team in the National League going into the 2024 Major League Baseball season.

Seems like a pretty good starting point for the season, right?

FanDuel has the Phillies listed at +330 to win the NL East and +800 to be the NL champion. DraftKings has similar prices with the Phillies’ divisional-title odds at +310 and pennant odds at +800.

The Los Angeles Dodgers, who swim in a pool of money 1,000 times larger than Scrooge McDuck’s, are the NL favorite to reach the World Series. The Dodgers certainly have the lineup to win a boatload of games, but there are questions with their pitching.

Walker Buehler, Tony Gonsolin, and Dustin May are on the long-term injury list, Clayton Kershaw is old and the back end of the rotation behind Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Tyler Glasnow is full of young guys and injury-riddled veterans.

There’s always a chance that Yamamoto’s stuff does not adapt right away and Glasnow ends up on the injured list again. In that case, the Dodgers will have to win every game like they play at Coors Field.

The Braves, who notably spend far less because they sign stars to the cheapest contracts possible, are the second favorite to win the NL and the current NL East favorite. (Disclaimer: I’m a Braves fan and even I’m willing to admit the contract structure crap is bullshit).

Atlanta’s got some pitching concerns of its own because old man Charlie Morton and whatever is left of Chris Sale make up two-fifths of the rotation, but again, the Braves can just hit a shit ton of home runs and claim itfixes all of the issues.

You could argue (with a strong case at that) that the Phillies have the best No. 3 starter among the top three teams in Ranger Suarez.

Sure, the Phils have their own back-end rotation question marks too, but no one is expecting the reincarnation of Cy Young to be the No. 4 or No. 5 starter.

Outside of the top three, Arizona should be competitive again, Milwaukee traded away Corbin Burnes because they didn’t want to pay him, the Chicago Cubs will probably lose Cody Bellinger in free agency, San Diego dealt Juan Soto because they spent too much money and got no World Series in return and all five of St. Louis’ projected starters are 32 or older.

Of course, there will always be a surprise team, like Arizona last year, that emerges, but few of those potential sleepers can match the top-end talent the Phillies, Braves and Dodgers have.

When you’re sports betting in NJ, or sports betting in PA, the Phillies carry strong betting value on the futures market.  I detailed win totals last week, and it might be worth biting on the division and league numbers.