In professional sports, it is always good to be the leader of the pack, especially when you reach the point of the season where time is fast beginning to run out. While there is immense pressure on every team at this stage, the reality is that the heaviest burden is the one being shouldered by the teams who are in the chasing pack as opposed to those with the division lead. For the teams playing catch-up, every loss is amplified, while the opportunities to close the gap begin to diminish with each passing day. One of the best ways to make a dent in that gap is to win when you go head to head with the team in front of you. That is what the Washington Nationals will be looking to do in their series against the Atlanta Braves, which begins on Monday night. The Braves have the lead, but the NL East is far from decided at the moment, so this series is potentially a huge one for both teams. The Nationals are favored by 1 ½, with the run total set at 9 ½.
When: Monday, July 29 at 7 PM EST
Where: Nationals Park, Washington
Starting Pitchers: Keuchel Vs Corbin
MLB Odds: Get the latest odds at YouWager.lv
Why bet on the Atlanta Braves
The Atlanta Braves are seeking their second consecutive NL East title and are in a rather solid position of power at the moment. Atlanta is sitting at the top of the division with a 62-44 record, which has them 5 ½ games up on the Washington Nationals. These two actually met just last week, with that 4-game series ending in a split, which was a result that certainly better suited the Braves. Atlanta is just 4-6 in their last 10 games, but they are coming off a weekend series against the Phillies, where they took 2 of 3 to open up a little bit of a bigger lead on Philly. Overall, Atlanta is trailing the Nationals 5-4 in the season series, with 9 games still to come against them. The Braves are 32-21 SU on the road and will have Dallas Keuchel (3-3, 3.50 ERA) on the mound on Monday.
Why bet on the Washington Nationals
Whether the Nationals eventually end up catching the Braves or not, you do need to give them credit for putting up a solid fight. This was a team that looked totally out of sorts in the early part of the season, but they started to go on a positive run late in the first half of the season, and they have now surpassed the Philadelphia Phillies for second in the NL East. The Nationals are now sitting at 56-49 on the season, but they are also just 5-5 in their last 10 games, which is not good enough for a team in the chasing pack. While the division is still in their sights, it is the Wild Card where their best opportunity exists. The Nationals are in a 3-way tie for the WC. They will send Patrick Corbin (8-5, 3.25 ERA) to the mound for this one.
Expert Pick and Final Score Prediction
Neither of these teams has been particularly great over the last 10 games, and while the Braves appear to be better on paper, I think they lose this one, although I do believe that the best bet here is Atlanta ATS.
Atlanta Braves 4 Washington Nationals 5