- The average NL Pennant odds of the Atlanta Braves went from +440 to +340 following the passing of the MLB trade deadline
- The Braves were among the more successful teams on deadine day, shoring up their weak bullpen with three additions
- Among the acquisitions was Detroit Tigers closer Shane Greene, who has an 88 percent success rate in save situations this season
There’s a Braves new world in the National League pennant race.
In desperate need of help for their ailing bullpen, the Atlanta Braves found it by the July 31 Major League Baseball trade deadine. The Braves acquired three relievers – closer Shane Greene from the Detroit Tigers, and veterans Mark Melancon from the San Francisco Giants and Chris Martin from the Texas Rangers.
In doing so, their average National League pennant odds dipped from +440 to +340 across an array of leading sportsbooks.
2019 National League Pennant Odds
|Team||NL Pennant Odds|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||EVEN|
|St. Louis Cardinals||+900|
|San Francisco Giants||+3000|
|New York Mets||+4000|
*Odds taken on 08/03/19.
The Braves are defending NL East Division champions but they haven’t appeared in the NL Championship Series since 2001.
Addressing an Area of Need
The closer on baseball’s most dreadful team, Greene, 30, saved 22 of Detroit’s 32 victories this season. His earned run average is an astonishing 1.18. That’s second among all MLB relief pitchers this season.
He’s converted 88 percent of his save situations. Greene was an American League All-Star Game selection this season.
Melancon was employed mainly as a set-up man by the Giants this season but he was a three-time all-star as a closer with the Pittsburgh Pirates and shows 183 saves on his big-league resume.
Martin is also a late-inning specialist. He finished the game in 15 of his 38 appearance for the Rangers this season and converted four saves.
Late Inning Letdowns
The changes were necessary. FanGraphs rates Atlanta’s bullpen 30th in the majors with a WAR of -0.8. They’ve surrendered an MLB-worst 4.38 walks per nine innings.
The Braves have blown 18 of 66 save opportunities this season. That leaves them with a 62.50 success rate, 18th in the majors.
Interestingly, even without the additions to their relief corps, Atlanta still owned a better save conversation rate than three of the other four current NL playoff teams.
The Los Angeles Dodgers (61.22), Washington Nationals (58.33) and Chicago Cubs (56.52) all trail the Braves in this department and only the Nats made a major trade-deadline effort to shore up their bullpen.
In a short playoff series, the teams that win are the ones that can count on their bullpen to lock down a game. Atlanta just gave itself a much better opportunity to do so on a nightly basis and that could be a difference maker in October.
The Braves have been all over the spectrum in terms of their NL pennant odds this season. Twice – on April 1 and May 6 – they sat as high as +1200.
— FOX Sports: Braves (@FOXSportsBraves) July 31, 2019
By early June they were down to +850. Going 20-8 in June, by the beginning of July they’d dropped all the way to +380. But a scuffling 4-8 stretch at the end of the month pushed Atlanta’s odds back up to +430.
None But The Braves
The Dodgers will stay the clear favorites in the NL pennant race but there’s no sense in betting LA at even money. The Braves offer the best chance to bump off the Dodgers.
"It feels really good. It's a powerful club."
— FOX Sports: Braves (@FOXSportsBraves) August 2, 2019
Hopefully, you got action on Atlanta before the odds dipped. If their reamped bullpen pays dividends, the Braves could win the NL.
They’re worth a small investment at this price.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.