The NL East has been one of the most competitive divisions in the last five years, but somehow the Braves always seem to find a way to come out on top. This article will examine if that will be the case this year and what teams have the best odds to bet on.
Last year the Atlanta Braves were trying to replace the production of Freddie Freeman and were able to do so; this year, they will have to replace the production of Dansby Swanson. Orlando Arica will be tasked to do that, but the return of Ozzie Albies should also help with middle infield production.
Matt Olson was able to provide some power that left with Freeman but lacks the overall hitting ability; however, Austin Riley’s career year more than made up for corner infield hitting production.
The Braves also get a huge return to this already loaded pitching staff with Mike Soroka, who finished sixth in the Cy Young voting when he last pitched. With Max Fried also establishing himself as an ace in the rotation, the Braves have enough arms to match the loaded lineups of the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies.
However, in terms of betting, the Braves are only +135 to win the division, and with both the Mets and Phillies getting better than they did in the offseason and the fact the Braves had to have a monumental comeback to beat the Mets last year the odds don’t justify making a bet.
New York Mets
The New York Mets had a heartbreaking end to the season last year; after one of their best regular seasons in a while, they choked away the division title and then got bounced by the San Diego Padres in the first round.
However, the Mets are going all out to make sure that doesn’t happen this year. Signing Justin Verlander to team up with his former Detroit Tigers teammate Max Scherzer gives them one of the best one-two punches at the top of the rotation in the league.
The Mets also have one of the best lineups in the league, with contact hitters and power hitters that make them a menace to opposing pitchers. The key to this lineup will be what Francisco Lindor the Mets get this year; if it’s the Lindor of last year, the Mets should be at the top of the division when the season ends.
However, similar to the Braves, the Mets currently sit at +140 to win the division, and with so much competition in the division and the scare of age to their two best pitchers, the odds don’t make sense to place a bet on the Mets to win the NL East.
The Phillies were the surprise of the postseason last year and will be looking to bring that momentum into this year’s regular season and claim the division title. They also return almost everyone from last year’s team as well as adding a top-three shortstop in the game in Trea Turner.
The Phillies have the most complete lineup in this division, with Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto, and Trea Turner being the headliners. Don’t sleep on the rest of the lineup that contributed greatly in the postseason run last year.
Aaron Nola and Zach Wheeler are a great one-two combination at the top of the pitching rotation; the question will be the 3-5 guys in the rotation, as well as the bullpen. If the Phillies bullpen can hold up, the sky’s the limit for this team.
Overall, at +300, the Phillies would be the team I would put my money on as they have the best odds and went farther than the other two teams last year that had better odds than them. It may not be the popular pick, but with the return being three to one, the Phillies will be worth the risk.
Overall, The Miami Marlins and Washington Nationals would be absolute miracles to win this division and don’t come close to comparing to the teams mentioned above. The Braves and Mets are easily capable of beating out the Phillies for the division but since all three teams are so close in talent and ability; the best bet will be the team with the best odds and that is the Philadelphia Phillies at +300.