- The Los Angeles Dodgers have the best record in MLB and nine more wins than the Atlanta Braves
- The Braves have the second-best World Series odds in the NL, but are well behind the Dodgers
- Does Atlanta offer good value against a stacked favorite?
The Atlanta Braves have had a spectacular season. They are one of just six teams in Major League Baseball with 70 or more wins. And just two of those teams are in the National League.
Unfortunately for Brian Snitker and company, that other team is the Los Angeles Dodgers. With two-straight NL Pennants under their belt, the Dodgers are easily the favorites to reach the Fall Classic once again.
Is there any value in betting on Atlanta to knock them off? Here’s how the odds look at Bovada and BetOnline as of August 12th.
National League World Series Odds
|NL Team||Record||Bovada World Series Odds||BetOnline World Series Odds|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||79-41||+275||+350|
|New York Mets||61-57||+2200||+2500|
|St. Louis Cardinals||61-55||+2500||+2000|
*Odds taken 08/12/2019
In the NL, the teams can be broken down into three tiers within the World Series odds.
The first tier is the Dodgers. They’ve been the favorites all year, and it hasn’t been close.
The second tier houses the Braves and Cubs. In the middle of June, they flip-flopped for second and third, but are solid picks after LA.
And the third tier? Well that’s just everyone else for the time being. The Nationals are fourth and the Mets’ hot play has them in the top five.
NL West Gives LA Dodgers Advantage Over Atlanta Braves?
Let’s start with the strength of schedule for both clubs.
Over at FanGraphs, they’ve broken down the strength of every team’s remaining schedule and World Series chances.
There’s a significant difference in both between the Dodgers and Braves.
Strength of Schedule for Atlanta Braves & LA Dodgers
|Team||Projected Wins||Strength of Schedule||Chance to Win Division||Chance to Win World Series|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||104.3||.487||100%||17.9%|
*Statistics courtesy of FanGraphs AS OF 08/12/2019.
Without delving into each individual opponent, these numbers make a lot of sense.
Entering Monday’s action, the combined record of the rest of the NL West was 226-246. The NL East was 227-243. While those seem close, the East has three teams over .500.
— FOX Sports: Braves (@FOXSportsBraves) August 11, 2019
The 44-73 Marlins severally skew that Win/Loss ratio. In the race for home field advantage in the NL, the Atlanta Braves’ schedule won’t do them any favors.
How Do the LA Dodgers and Atlanta Braves Stack Up Head-to-Head?
If everything played out based on records, the Dodgers and Braves would meet in the NLCS.
A three-game series this weekend will give us a good look at both post-trade deadline. Their first three-game set in early May though was significantly one-sided.
Atlanta Braves vs LA Dodgers, May 6-8
In that series, Justin Turner was a monster. He went 7-for-14 with four homers, six RBI and five runs scored.
The Braves also saw their starting pitching get severely out-matched. Just one of their starters made it into the sixth inning. None of them gave up fewer than four total runs. LA meanwhile, saw each of their starters pitch into the seventh.
The highlight? A complete game four-hitter from Hyun-Jin Ryu.
Pitching Separates the Elite in the National League
Offensively these two are very similar. They are separated by percentage points when it comes to batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS.
On the mound though, the gap widens significantly.
Pitching Comparison: Dodgers vs Braves
|1.07||Ground Outs/Air Outs||1.13|
The Dodgers are at or near the top of the league in ERA, WHIP, Walks allowed and opponent’s batting average.
Atlanta slides in towards the middle of the pack in most of these categories.
And in a potential NLCS showdown, that’s what could determine things.
Can the Braves Win the World Series?
If you subscribe to the theory that pitching wins in the playoffs, then a collision course with the LA Dodgers doesn’t favor the Atlanta Braves. Depending how much stock you put in experience, the Dodgers have that too.
Cubs don't have the rotation, the Braves don't have the bullpen, Milwaukee I doubt they could ride Hader through the playoffs, the Cards & Phil's probably should be on the outside looking in, the Mets have been streaky.
The only NL team that may be able to stop the Dodgers: Nats.
— The Triple Play Podcast (@thetripleplay18) August 11, 2019
Atlanta will be dominant. One day. But if you’re going to bet against the Dodgers, then the Braves aren’t your team in 2019.
The Cubs and, if you believe in their recent run, Mets are better long shots.
But barring a catastrophe, the Dodgers are the National League’s best shot at reclaiming the World Series.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.