- Bovada has the Atlanta Braves listed at +265 to win the National League East
- Ronald Acuña Jr. and rookie Austin Riley give the Braves one of the league’s most potent lineups
- Mike Soroka and Max Fried highlight one of baseball’s youngest starting rotations
Despite only sitting a few games back of the Phillies with two-thirds of the season still to play, Atlanta is still available at +265 to win the NL East.
Let’s take a look at the odds at Bovada and break down why the Braves are primed to repeat as division champions.
2019 NL East Odds
|Team||Odds to Win NL East at Bovada|
*Odds taken 05/31/19
Before the Memorial Day weekend, Atlanta came out of a grueling stretch of 33 games in 34 days with an impressive 19-14 record. With their schedule finally settling down, the club’s poised to make a run before the All-Star break.
Now ranking among the better offenses in all of baseball, the Braves bats finally heated up when budding superstar Ronald Acuña Jr. was moved to the top of the lineup on May 10.
Austin Riley has 20 RBIs, the most by a player thru the first 14 games of his MLB career since Jim Greengrass had 21 after debuting in 1952 pic.twitter.com/HwSNC83Gtj
— Baseball Reference (@baseball_ref) May 30, 2019
Complementing last year’s NL Rookie of the Year is impressive rookie slugger Austin Riley, who batted .375 with seven homeruns and 20 RBIs is his first 14 games in the big leagues. This is after bashing 10 dingers in his final 50 at-bats in Triple-A.
First baseman Freddie Freeman continues to put up elite numbers, and free-agent signee Josh Donaldson recently commented, “I don’t think I’ve scratched the surface yet,” despite being no worse than the third-best hitter for the Braves.
Atlanta’s starting rotation has also more than held their own, maintaining a sterling 2.97 ERA in the month of May. Young lefty Max Fried is 7-3 with a 3.19 ERA and 56 strikeouts in 62 innings pitched, and is somehow still being outclassed by rookie teammate Mike Soroka.
These Mike Soroka graphics to open tonight’s Fox broadcast of the Braves and Cardinals… whoa! pic.twitter.com/4EVYa3JmYo
— Darren Haynes (@DarrenWHaynes) May 25, 2019
After missing the first two weeks of the season, the 21-year-old Canadian phenom is 5-1 with a 1.07 ERA, a 0.89 WHIP and 46 Ks, allowing one earned run or fewer in all seven starts this season.
The Braves biggest weakness by far has been their bullpen, which has already blown nine saves through the first third of the season. However, Atlanta general manager Alex Anthopoulos recently expressed “real interest” in signing both Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel, two free-agent relievers who are expected to sign contracts following the MLB Draft.
Braves prospect Kyle Muller could also give the club’s pen a much-needed boost, as the towering lefty flame-thrower is currently tearing it up in Double-A.
Ronald Acuña Jr. played the 162nd game of his career last night, giving him one “full season” in MLB.
— Andrew Simon (@AndrewSimonMLB) May 25, 2019
Standing in Atlanta’s way are the Phillies, who have spent 35 consecutive days in first place in the NL East and have either won or split nine of their last 10 series. Bryce Harper is also showing signs of breaking out of his season-long slump, but I believe the Braves have the better overall club.
After surviving a rough early schedule, Atlanta’s young, talented roster has more room for improvement, and will reward bettors with their second-consecutive division championship.