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Odds to Win the NL East: Phillies Look Locked N’ Loaded

NL East Betting Odds March 7, 2019

The National League East Division had some shuffling of the decks last season with the Atlanta Braves coming out on top after being pegged to be one of the worst teams in the majors. But oddsmakers think the Braves may be a one-hit wonder as they have the Philadelphia Phillies as the favorite to take the divisional crown.

Online sportsbook Bovada has the Phillies (+175) at the top spot followed by the Atlanta Braves (+240), Washington Nationals (+285), New York Mets (+330) and the lowly Miami Marlins (+20000).

Let’s preview each team, dive into the numbers and see what the best pick is to win the NL East Division:

Philadelphia Phillies +175

The team that made the biggest offseason splash by landing superstar Bryce Harper, the Phillies look to be all-in on going for it this season and beyond. Outside of Harper, the Phillies were able to sign OF Andrew McCutchen and trade for SS Jean Segura and the best catcher on the market in J.T. Realmuto from the Marlins. Last season, the Phillies ranked 30th in hits and 29th in doubles and were in the bottom half of MLB in homers and RBIs so those additions should surely move the needle to put more runs on the board, addressing what was Philadelphia’s biggest weakness last year.

On paper, this team should destroy most divisional teams with offense and the 1-2 punch of Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta will give teams fits but they need to take care of their divisional games. Last season, they were right there in the hunt to make the playoffs but they finished the year with a 36-40 SU record in 76 games against NL East teams. I don’t expect a repeat of that record but this division is more competitive than some of the others in MLB and there’s a smaller margin for error as I don’t expect a wild-card team to come out of this division.

Atlanta Braves +240

Last season’s biggest surprise in MLB, the Braves look stocked to make another run at the NL East title. The emergence of Ozzie Albies and Ronald Acuna was a key factor for the Braves getting off to such a hot start last year as they complemented the hitting of Nick Markakis and Freddie Freeman. One player who could make or break the batting order is former AL MVP Josh Donaldson, depending on how he fares in his first season in Atlanta. Donaldson has been a walking Band-Aid for the last few seasons and if he regains any of his form from his years as a Blue Jay, the Braves offense could be formidable.

Another concern for the Braves is their starting pitching as I’m not as high on Mike Foltynewicz and Sean Newcomb as others are and I think they could be prone for a letdown after such a good year. Atlanta’s pitchers held teams to a 3.75 ERA (rated seventh) and a .229 batting average (rated second) but I’m skeptical they can replicate that feat. The value at +240 isn’t good enough for me to back the Braves.

Washington Nationals +285

Last year’s NL East favorite and the team that will likely have the biggest bone to pick with the Phillies after they poached their star, this Nationals’ candidacy all comes down to health. The Nats had all-stars Ryan Zimmerman, Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg endure separate stints on the DL last year and it stalled their run to another division title while the Braves were cruising.

The Nats still have stud players throughout the lineup and got another star pitcher in Patrick Corbin to cushion the blow for the eventual DL stint for Strasburg but I’m skeptical they can regain the edge in this division with three other teams all having a decent shot to end up on top. I’m steering clear of the Nationals at +285 as I think their window of dominance is closed.

New York Mets +330

This team is all starting pitching and not much else. The Mets are always in the mix with their willingness to spend on free agents but that has blown up in their face as Yoenis Cespedes may not even play in 2019 and their biggest offseason deal was acquiring a known PED user in Robinson Cano.

But man, oh man, their top three starting pitchers are lights-out. Jacob deGrom won the NL Cy Young Award in 2018 and they still have Noah “Thor” Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler to throw at opposing batting orders. Good pitching can usually keep you in any ballgame but those three all have a checkered injury history and the likelihood of them staying healthy for 162 games is very low. The Mets aren’t ones to sit on their hands with the roster as currently constructed if they struggle to start the season, so they could be worth a punt at +330 if you’re banking on a New York resurgence. 

Miami Marlins +20000

Do we really need to dive deep into the numbers about this “team”? Tanking is usually not as obvious in baseball but the fact that the Marlins had the last two NL MVPs on their roster less than two years ago and gift-wrapped them to opposing teams for nearly nothing makes me sick to my stomach. Most casual fans likely can’t even name more than three players on Miami’s roster so I won’t be spending any more time/words on this embarrassment to baseball. Thank you, next!

My Best Bet to Win the National League East

Philadelphia Phillies +175

Even though I can still poke holes in this lineup, the remodel of this franchise has made me a believer. The top of their batting order can match up with any team in MLB and they were right in the thick of the playoff hunt last year before a horrible September. Basically, the main reason I’m on the Phillies is they give me the least cause for concern among the NL East contenders and to get a team with Bryce Harper at plus-money to begin a season is a quality wager.

Odds to win the 2019 National League East Division
TeamOdds
Philadelphia Phillies+175
Atlanta Braves+240
Washington Nationals+285
New York Mets+330
Miami Marlins+20000

Odds as of March 26 at Bovada

 

The Philadelphia Phillies entered the all-star break with a 0.5-game lead in the National League East over the Atlanta Braves and because of this, they are +150 favorites to win the division. The aforementioned Braves are slightly behind the Phillies at +160 and the ever-dangerous Washington Nationals round out the top three at +200. With just over 60 games remaining for each club, who has the edge to go on and claim the divisional title?

NL East Favorites: Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies are vying for their first divisional championship since 2011 and have been boosted by a great young rotation, including Cy Young Award candidate Aaron Nola. The Louisiana native has a 12-3 record with an impressive 2.30 ERA and was named as an all-star. Philadelphia has been great at Citizens Bank Park in 2018 holding a record of 30-16 while going just 23-26 on the road and it entered the break going 10-5.

Their success hasn’t come without difficulties as they have likely lost Ben Lively for the season after making just five starts and Jerad Eickhoff hasn’t touched the field this year and after continuous setbacks may not make a start in 2018. There are some red flags that surround this Phillies team, however, as they rank 26th in the majors with a .236 team batting average and are 21st in MLB in runs scored at 411. The Phillies have 37 games remaining against divisional rivals and have a .462-win percentage vs those clubs with their only winning record coming against the Nationals at 6-4. Last season, Philadelphia went 37-38 in the second half and will need to play above-.500 ball this year if it wants to win the division.

The Braves are Looming

Statistically, Atlanta is the best club in the NL East and that is why I believe they will prevail in the end. The Braves rank fifth in the majors with a .258 batting average and eighth in MLB in runs scored at 456. In addition, they have the third-best run differential in the NL at +68. Atlanta scuffled heading into the all-star break dropping eight of its last 11 games. The biggest advantage the Braves have going into the back half of the MLB season is they have 35 games within their division and through the first half, they had a .659-win percentage against NL East rivals through 41 contests.

Atlanta also had a winning record both on the road (27-22) and at home (25-20), making them the only squad in the division to have a winning record both at home and on the road. Last year, the Braves struggled in the back half going 30-45 and finishing 25 games behind the Nats. However, the Braves had a 4.72 team ERA in 2017 while they have 3.83 ERA in 2018 and have been bolstered by the young arms of Sean Newcomb and Mike Foltynewicz. Newcomb fell off prior to the all-star break with Atlanta going 0-5 in his last five starts, but the lefty is 8-5 with a 3.51 ERA in 2018. Meanwhile, Foltynewicz has been quite strong going 7-5 with an impressive 2.66 ERA this year. I think they have fixed their holes from last year and at +160 the Braves could be the team to take in the NL East.

Odds to win the 2018 National League East Division
TeamOdds
Philadelphia Phillies+150
Atlanta Braves+160
Washington Nationals+200
New York Mets+50000
Miami Marlins+100000

Odds as of July 18 at BetWay

Archived Articles 

The Washington Nationals opened the season toiling in mediocrity and though a recent stretch has helped the team climb up the standings, they still sit second in the National League East. Despite sitting behind the Atlanta Braves and just 1.5 games ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies, the Nationals are still -220 to win the division.

NL East Favorites: Washington Nationals

The Nationals own one of the best pitching staffs in the MLB. Max Scherzer is the likely NL Cy Young winner at the quarter mark of the season, both Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez are dealing, plus journeyman Jeremy Hellickson is pitching the best baseball of his life. That clearly gives the Nationals a massive edge over the rest of the NL East – with both the Braves and Phillies sporting younger, unproven rotations.

Washington’s issues this season stem from an offense that ranks in the bottom half in the league in runs, hits and batting average. Optimistic Nationals fans will point out that the team is still hanging around in the NL East despite getting almost nothing from the likes of Ryan Zimmerman while dealing with persistent injuries to Matt Adams and Matt Wieters. But it is still a major concern if Scherzer needs to be the one powering the lineup with his bat in order for the Nationals to win games.

Braves Continue To Be Overlooked In The NL East

There has been no bigger resurgence in baseball this season than that of the Braves. The Baby Braves have the third-best record in the National League, own one of the top five offenses in the senior circuit and have one of the most underrated pitching staffs around. Despite this, the Braves are +375 to win the NL East – tied with the third-place Phillies.

Though youngsters like Ozzie Albies, Ronald Acuna and Dansby Swanson are getting the headlines, veterans Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis have been arguably the two best players at the plate so far this season. Freeman is 10th in the MLB in batting average and third in OBP, behind only Mike Trout and Mookie Betts. Markakis is fifth in batting average, second in hits and eighth in doubles.

Having some concerns about the Braves pitching staff may be fair, considering their top two starters – Mike Foltynewicz and Sean Newcomb – are both young and playing better than most could’ve ever expected. But until the youngsters prove they can’t handle the pressure or the veterans’ arms start falling off, the Braves still possess one of the better rotations in baseball.

The Braves are simply being overlooked due to their age. Yes, they took the top spot in the NL East thanks to an unexpected surge and the early-season struggles of the Washington Nationals. But what other team in baseball can sit 10 games over .500, hold their division lead and still be an underdog?

Odds to win the 2018 National League East Division
TeamOdds
Washington Nationals-220
Philadelphia Phillies+375
Atlanta Braves+375
New York Mets+2000
Miami Marlins+75000

Odds as of June 5 at Bovada

Archived Articles 

Written By Gilles Gallant

The National League East might end up being one of the most anticlimactic divisional races in recent history. Three of five teams finished with losing records in 2017 and the Washington Nationals lead the charge at -350 odds to claim their fourth division title in five years.

Online sportsbook Bovada has released NL East divisional odds for bettors to cash in on. Below is a team-by-team breakdown to see which club deserves your hard-earned dollars and which ones aren’t worth a pinch of pine tar.

Washington Nationals -350

Probably the most overhyped team in baseball, the Nationals ran away with the division last season with a 97-75 record. The Nats have blue-chip players at every level of their lineup with four players hitting over .300 and mashing 20-plus home runs in 2017. And the talent isn’t just in the batter’s box as Washington’s rotation sports the reigning Cy Young winner in Max Scherzer along with the talented but injury-prone Stephen Strasburg.

If there’s any weakness for the Nationals, it’s the bullpen. Their pen didn’t get any upgrades in the offseason and it may be a priority in a trade by GM Mike Rizzo. If Rizzo isn’t able to bolster that part of the roster, it could open the door for the next team on the list.

New York Mets +450

Injuries may have played the biggest part of the Mets’ regression in 2017 when Noah Syndergaard only tossed 30 innings and Yoenis Cespedes missed 81 games.

Injuries may have played the biggest part of the Mets’ regression in 2017 when superstar pitcher Noah Syndergaard only tossed 30 innings and power hitter Yoenis Cespedes missed 81 games. Two players don’t make a team but considering how spectacular these two have been since coming to New York, their absence (along with those of Jeurys Familia, Michael Conforto and Steven Matz) was felt greatly when considering the team’s overall performance.

The good news, though, is the gang is all expected to come back healthy this season and the starting rotation is the envy of most teams in baseball. Their batting order should also get a boost from the additions of Todd Frazier and Adrian Gonzalez. For a team that finished in the bottom half of the NL in most offensive metrics, it’s hard to envision another season of futility in Queens.

Philadelphia Phillies +1000

The Phillies’ most glaring weakness is their starting rotation that only fields one above-average starter in Aaron Nola. Jared Eickhoff and Vince Velasquez were disappointments on the bump last season but since Philadelphia didn’t add any more starting pitchers, they will have an opportunity to bounce back and show they belong in the majors.

On offense, the Phillies added first baseman Carlos Santana to the lineup in hopes of improving a batting order that only managed 174 home runs last season, which ranked 26th in the majors. If Maikel Franco and super sophomore Rhys Hoskins can take a leap in their development, Philadelphia could make a push for the division if things don’t work out for the Nats.

Atlanta Braves +1800

Only one word defines the Atlanta Braves: Potential. The Atlanta farm system is loaded with up-and-coming prospects including No. 1-ranked Ronald Acuna. But just because your prospects are highly touted does not always translate to immediate success.

As a result, the Braves will probably lose a ton of games in 2018, be out of the playoff race by July and use this year as a building block for upcoming campaigns. Atlanta only had two players hit more than 20 home runs last season with their lone bright spot being Freddie Freeman, who still missed 45 games in 2017. The Braves had a losing record vs each team in their division last season and unless GM Alex Anthopoulos can swing some major trades to boost the lineup, this is a team building for 2019 and beyond.

Miami Marlins +10000

Miami dealt away three outfielders who combined for 114 home runs, 316 runs and 337 RBIs in 2017, and will easily be the worst team in baseball this season.

The apex of tanking may have hit a new level when CEO Derek Jeter held a fire sale on every decent player the Marlins had. Miami dealt away three outfielders who combined for 114 home runs, 316 runs and 337 RBIs in 2017, and will easily be the worst team in baseball this season.

The Marlins, who were already known for poor attendance and losing records, have made it clear to fans that 2018 will not be their year and they may lose 100 games. The lone bright spot left on the roster is Justin Bour, who had 25 home runs and 83 RBIs in 111 games in 2017. At +10000, bettors should focus on other teams in this division and let this team dwell in the basement.

Odds to win the 2018 National League East Division
TeamOdds
Washington Nationals-350
New York Mets+450
Philadelphia Phillies+1000
Atlanta Braves+1800
Miami Marlins+10000

Odds as of March 28 at BetOnline

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