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Braves Prohibitive -850 Favorites to Win NL East Despite Recent Dip and Nationals’ Surge

Josh Donaldson
Despite a recent losing skid, Josh Donaldson and the Braves are still the favorites to win the NL East. Photo from @SNstats (Twitter).
  • The Atlanta Braves remain a massive favorite to win the NL East, but the Washington Nationals are within striking distance just 5.5 games back
  • The Braves and Nationals will play 13 more times this season
  • Are the Braves a lock to win the Division?

The Atlanta Braves are in a funk. They’ve lost three straight, by a combined score of 31-9, and their lead atop the NL East has been cut to 5.5 games. Despite their recent skid, oddsmakers remain bullish on the Braves, and their price to win the division crown has actually gotten shorter in the last 10 days.

2019 National League East Odds

Team 2019 NL East Odds at Bovada
Atlanta Braves -800
Washington Nationals +500
Philadelphia Phillies +1100
New York Mets +10000
Miami Marlins +300000

*Odds taken 07/19/19
Their average Divisional odds have gone from -630 to -850 even though their disappointing week coincides with the Washington Nationals’ hot fire stretch, that has produced 14 wins in 18 games.


The Nationals and Braves are in the middle of a four game series this weekend and will play each other 13 more times before the season is over. Fangraphs gives Atlanta a 77% chance of winning the division, which begs the question: How big a threat is Washington to Atlanta in the NL east?

Are the Nationals Overrated?

The Nationals are one of the hottest teams in baseball, but if we dig a little deeper we can start poking holes in their recent success.

Since June 1st, the only team with an above .500 record that they’ve won a series against is the Philadelphia Phillies, and 11 of their past 14 victories have come against teams with a combined winning percentage of .343.

Since June 1st, the only team with an above .500 record that they’ve won a series against is the Philadelphia Phillies, and 11 of their past 14 victories have come against teams with a combined winning percentage of .343.

Their starting pitching is elite, but their bullpen is a mess. Their relievers have combined to post a 5.97 ERA, and they rank 24th in the majors in relief WAR.

At the plate, they’ve regressed from 9th in offensive WAR in 2018, to 13th this season and their 474 runs scored is 46 fewer than the Braves. They’re a strong bet to push for an NL Wild Card spot, but they’re nowhere near the complete team Atlanta is.

The Braves Own the East

The Braves have no glaring weaknesses and boast an impressive pitching staff and an overpowering offense. Six Atlanta hitters have a WAR above 1.7, while three are on pace for 35+ home runs, and another two are on pace for 22+.

They’ve produced the third most runs in the NL and their staff features four quality starters, which is ideal for a deep playoff run. Their recent poor play is just a blip on the radar, the kind of thing every team goes through during the course of a 162 game schedule. They have the fourth shortest World Series odds of any team in baseball, and if oddsmakers are this high on the Braves you should be too.


If the opportunity cost to bet them to win the NL East is a bit too steep, consider their odds to win the NL Pennant instead. They’re currently +400 to make the World Series which screams value given their talented roster and their impressive home/road splits.

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