The Atlanta Braves awoke Wednesday with the second-best record (behind St. Louis) in baseball and the biggest lead (seven games over Washington, which is only a half-game ahead of Philadelphia) in any of the six divisions. That’s not bad.
Neither is this. The Braves are becoming something of a Vegas darling: According to Bovada, the local nine is tied for second with the aforementioned Cardinals as having the shortest odds to win the World Series. At 13/2, Detroit is listed first. Atlanta and St. Louis are 8/1. Texas is 17/2. San Francisco, Cincinnati and Washington are 12/1. Boston is 15/1. And where, you ask, are the Yankees? They’re 18/1.
This means nothing, as we know. Predictions aren’t easy in any sport, and they’re hardest of all in baseball. And betting – repeating this for late tuners-in – aren’t so much predictions of who’s going to prevail as to how the public is apt to bet. So Vegas believes as much money will be coming in on the Braves as on the Cardinals, who are really good. Which suggests that the Braves aren’t perceived as the Bad News Bears themselves.
There’s also this: Our friends at Baseball Prospectus list the Braves as having an 89.5 percent chance of making the playoffs, an 82.9 percent chance of winning their division and a 9.5 percent chance of winning it all. They’re third behind Detroit and Texas in the latter category.
Again, none of this means the Braves will do anything in October. Where that month is concerned, no team carries a money-back guarantee. But it’s something to ponder as we await first pitch in the finale of the Pirates’ series, in which the Braves have taken the first two from a pretty fair opponent.