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2024 NL East Preview: Braves Clear Betting Favorite

The Atlanta Braves, dominant since Ronald Acuña Jr.’s 2018 MLB debut, are again the favorites in the National League East, eyeing their seventh consecutive title. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Phillies made MLB news by knocking out their division rivals last October and are targeting their first division crown since 2011. Under Skip Schumaker, the Miami Marlins seek to repeat last year’s surprise success with a strong record in one-run games. After a costly flop, the New York Mets, with new management, hope for redemption with a weaker starting lineup. The Washington Nationals, developing their young talent, aim for positive strides amidst tough MLB competition.

 

2024 NL East Preview: Braves Clear Betting Favorite
Austin Riley #27 of the Atlanta Braves - Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images/AFP

1. Atlanta Braves

The Atlanta Braves once again won the division title in 2023 and the margin was substantial. The Spencer Strider and Max Fried duo stands as the most reliable starting pitchers in the league, forming a potent one-two punch that sets the tone for the team’s success. Their effectiveness is complemented by a strong bullpen, which compensates for the less consistent performance of the rest of the rotation.

Despite potential setbacks, the Braves’ batting lineup remains formidable. Even with a hypothetical decline in performance from each player, they would still lead as the top offense in baseball. The depth and talent within their lineup make it nearly inconceivable that they would miss out on the postseason.

The often unpredictable postseason will be the actual test for the Braves. However, they are a formidable contender with the combined strengths of Strider, Fried and a lineup brimming with ambition and skill. The October playoffs are known for their unpredictability, akin to spinning a roulette wheel, yet the cohesive strength of this Atlanta team makes it hard to bet online against the Braves. They possess the ingredients not just for playoff appearance but for securing a World Series title in 2024.

 

  • Odds to Win Division: -245
  • Odds to Win NL Pennant: +250
  • Odds to Win World Series: +450

 

2. Philadelphia Phillies

The Philadelphia Phillies, narrowly missing back-to-back NL pennant wins last season, showed strong potential to reach the World Series again. Their late-season surge was highlighted by leading offensive metrics from August to the season’s end, including the fifth-best team-weighted runs created plus (wRC+ of 121), third-best weighted on-base average (.352), and highest Isolated Power (.229). Coupled with exceptional pitching, they clinched another NLDS win against the Braves as underdogs on the MLB odds board.

Key players Bryce Harper, Trea Turner, Kyle Schwarber, JT Realmuto, Bryson Stott and Nick Castellanos are returning, maintaining the team’s core. Additions like Whit Merrifield, Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola contract extensions reinforce the squad. Despite this consistency, challenges remain.

While the team excels in postseason performance, doubts linger about their regular-season durability. Retaining the core lineup reflects a strategy betting on proven October success and acknowledges the recurring challenge: navigating the regular season’s demands.

Note that Harper is a legit contender to win the MVP, with his MLB betting odds sixth-best at +1200.

 

  • Odds to Win Division: +300
  • Odds to Win NL Pennant: +700
  • Odds to Win World Series: +1400

 

3. Miami Marlins

The Marlins faced a tumultuous offseason, failing to build on their 2023 playoff appearance, which left fans disenchanted. General Manager Kim Ng exited after a reshuffling at the top, replaced by former Tampa Bay executive Peter Bendix, who focused more on internal restructuring than impactful signings, as evidenced by the late acquisition of Tim Anderson. Anderson looks to rebound after the worst season in his career, including a slump at the plate and nearly getting his head ripped off by a Jose Ramirez right hook.

 

 

For the Marlins, the loss of Sandy Alcantara to surgery is significant, with Jesús Luzardo stepping up as the new ace. The team’s pitching appears robust, particularly with prospects like Eury Perez showing promise. However, their offense, one of the NL’s weakest last year, sees minimal improvement, banking on better seasons from players like Jake Burger and Jazz Chisholm Jr. to offset the departure of Jorge Soler. Their success in one-run games last season poses a question of sustainability into 2024.

 

  • Odds to Win Division: +1600
  • Odds to Win NL Pennant: +3500
  • Odds to Win World Series: +6500

 

4. New York Mets

The New York Mets present a conundrum. Their batting lineup, featuring Brandon Nimmo, Jeff McNeil, Francisco Lindor, Pete Alonso, Francisco Alvarez and Starling Marte, has championship potential. Similarly, their bullpen could be exceptional, with talents like Adam Ottavino, Brooks Raley, Drew Smith and Edwin Díaz. However, the pitching staff, particularly the starting rotation, raises doubts.

The loss of Kodai Senga to a shoulder issue is a significant setback, transforming the rotation into a questionable mix with Jose Quintana, Luis Severino, Sean Manaea, Adrian Houser and Tylor Megill. The group shows promise at a glance but falls short upon closer inspection.

 

 

In my assessment, the Mets are likely to secure third place in their division. Their potent offense will make some noise, but the shortcomings of their pitching rotation will keep them away from playoff contention.

Nevertheless, there’s a silver lining: Their farm system shows signs of growth. The offseason could be exciting, with the financially robust owner (Steve Cohen) potentially pursuing a significant acquisition like Juan Soto. This bold move could significantly alter the team’s future trajectory.

 

  • Odds to Win Division: +1000
  • Odds to Win NL Pennant: +1600
  • Odds to Win World Series: +3500

 

5. Washington Nationals

The 2024 outlook for the Washington Nationals is grim, with FanGraphs assigning them a mere 0.2% playoff chance. Their rotation is led by Josiah Gray and MacKenzie Gore, promising yet inconsistent pitchers who are flanked by Patrick Corbin, Jake Irvin and contenders Trevor Williams and Zach Davies for the fifth starter spot.

Offensively, the Nationals are lackluster but offer development opportunities among young talents like CJ Abrams, Joey Meneses and Keibert Ruiz. Abrams, notable for his 18 home runs and 47 stolen bases last year, suffers from high chase rates and poor contact quality. Joey Gallo, a new addition, brings power and a high strikeout rate from his time with the Twins.

The lineup is completed by Lane Thomas, Nick Senzel and Victor Robles, with Eddie Rosario and Jesse Winker as potential additions from the non-roster invitees. Despite these players’ potential, the team’s overall prospects appear dim, reflecting a rebuilding period rather than contention. This season is set to be more about individual growth and less about immediate success for the Nationals.

 

  • Odds to Win Division: +8000
  • Odds to Win NL Pennant: +10000
  • Odds to Win World Series: +25000

 

 

Questions Of The Day

 

Who is favored to win the World Series among NL East teams?


The Atlanta Braves have the best Vegas betting odds to win the World Series among NL East Teams at +450.

Are there any MVP candidates in the NL East?


Ronald Acuna Jr. leads the MLB lines to win the MVP, with Bryce Harper second among NL East players and Matt Olson third.

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