The last few weeks have been a little wacky in the National League East, with the bottom feeders playing well and the leaders inharmonious. For baseball bettors making MLB picks, this creates anguish.
It is probably best to do research like baseball handicappers and astute followers of the betting odds do and understand where these clubs could be headed.
Washington might only have the third-best record in the NL, but they have been manufacturing their own momentum in winning 10 of 14 (+4.25 units), to take over first place in the division.
Most sportsbooks offer sports picks on the Nationals as the second choice in the NL to become champions behind the L.A. Dodgers. With Washington as healthy as they have been all year, many are forecasting a stellar remainder of the season for manager Matt Williams’ squad.
The entire pitching staff has been terrific all year, ranking among the best in all the key elements. With the offense becoming more consonant, the Nats have a real opportunity to build a lead and they already have the best run differential in the National League (+60).
Washington remainder of the schedule is not overbearing, suggesting those nine battles left with the Braves will matter.
In some ways, one can view Atlanta as a team to be reckoned with and at the same time find them extremely flawed. As mentioned all season, a barometer of the strength of a team is their skill in outcomes of four or more runs and the Braves are merely 14-14 in this area.
While their hurlers frequently supply Atlanta to improve on this record, the players swinging lumber do not, averaging 3.8 runs and being third in strikeouts.
As per usual, the Braves have more home than road games at this juncture of the campaign and they have a tremendous opening to start fast with an 11-game homestand versus losing teams in Philadelphia, Miami and San Diego.
New York Mets
The wolves hollering for the firing of manager Terry Collins have been briefly silenced, with New York off an imposing 8-2 homestand (+660). The Mets are a baffling 25-man group, because they are 18-10 in games determined by four or more runs and 27-40 in all other finishes. Should New York really be better and if so is the skipper to be blame?
The first answer is “yes” as their run differential should mean a 50-45 record, not 45-50. And as is most often the case, the bullpen is the culprit or catalyst and the Metropolitans pen guys are tied for the most losses (19) and blown saves (15) in the NL.
New York will have a chance to prove they are truly better than their record with three stops to San Diego, Seattle and Milwaukee, beginning this weekend. It might take courage to use sports picks on the Mets on this trip.
After a quick start to the season, Miami has settled in closer to their talent level at 44-50 (-3.4). Take away some good fortune in one-run games (21-16) and they are 23-34 in all other conflicts.
With rare exception, the Marlins have been brutal on the road at 17-28 (-6.3) and mediocre in divisional play at 18-25 (-7.6). To commence the latter portion of the schedule, it is not simple, facing the two leaders in their division plus San Francisco. Back to normal in Miami and an easier choice as a MLB pick.
The Phillies five-game winning streak (+7.90) last week was something even bad teams do, which fits Philadelphia. With the rumor mill circulating names like Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley could all be moved; the only bright spots on the Philly horizon are the Eagles starting fall practice.