MLB National League Championship

The National League Championship Series (NLCS), also known as the NL Championship, is the annual championship series of the National League (AL), one of the two constituent leagues that make up Major League Baseball (the other being the American League, or AL). Together, the NLCS and ALCS make up the semifinal round of MLB postseason play. The winner of the National League Championship is awarded the NL pennant and the Warren C. Giles Trophy (named for the former league president) and advances to the World Series to face the winner of the ALCS.

In the past, the NL pennant was simply awarded to the team that had accrued the best record at the end of the regular season. However, in 1994, the NL was restructured into three divisions, the NL East, NL Central, and NL West. As such, the three division winners, as well as a wildcard team, would advance to the National League Division Series (NLDS) in order to decide who advances to the National League Championship. The NLDS is played in a best-of-five format, while the NLCS is a best-of-seven format. The team that earns home field advantage plays games in a 2-3-2 format, in which the first two games and last two games are played at the home team’s park. The first to win four games wins the series and advances.

As opposed to the AL, the NL has experienced a higher degree of parity in its 119 years of existence. The St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers have the most wins, with each recording seven. The Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, Cincinnati Reds, New York Mets, and San Francisco Giants are tied for the second most amount of wins, with each club recording five National League Championship wins apiece.

Despite the NL’s 143 years of existence and claim to being the US’s first “major league,” since 1903, they have only won 49 of the 115 World Series championships. The NL team with the most titles held is currently the St. Louis Cardinals, who have won 11 championships in 19 total appearances (second most of all MLB teams behind only the New York Yankees).

Professional baseball may not have the viewership ratings that football does, but what they lack in viewership, they more than make up for in terms of revenue generated. It also helps that, as opposed to football which enjoys a relatively domestic audience, baseball is one of the most popular sports throughout the world, not just in the United States.

Similarly, baseball also does not generate the type of sports betting action that football or basketball do, but the market is there and it is expanding. One of the most popular ways to bet on the MLB are by futures bets. Given the prominence of the National League Championship, it is no surprise that it is one of the most common futures bets fans can make. Fans can also wager on the NLCS MVP award, which is given annually to the NLCS’s most outstanding player.

Those looking to get in the action of MLB betting, particularly futures, are encouraged to visit Sidelines to stay updated on MLB odds comparisons as well as league standings and news.