Phillies & Marlins contending in National League East

Shane Lambert looks at Baseball's National League East and he thinks the Miami Marlins and Philidephia Phillies are big contenders against the Nationals and the Mets.

The Miami Marlins and the Philadelphia Phillies remain close to the top of the NL East through the first week of May. Considered the respective third and fourth favourites to win the division, the Marlins are priced at 16/1 with Ladbrokes to win the east while the Phillies are very lengthy at 75/1 with bet365 in the same market. The long odds are at least partly due to the Washington Nationals and their start to the 2016 season, one that saw them go 11-4 out of the gates.

However the Nats have hit mediocrity of late. Not long ago Washington suffered a sweep at the hands of the Phillies. Entering Sunday, where the Nationals are set to face the Chicago Cubs and Jake Arrieta, Washington were 18-11 on the year. This is a franchise that started hot last season only to yield the lead to the New York Mets over the longer term. Perhaps that experience might help Washington; however the Mets, the defending division champs, are also a force in the NL East that can't be ignored. At 18-11 on the season they entered Sunday at just a half-game back of the Nationals.

While the division seems likely to be won by either New York or Washington, both Miami and Philadelphia are just 2.5 games back entering Sunday. They are both worth taking at the very long odds provided. For sure both Washington and New York are tough sells at their respective odds, which are just 20/21 with 888Sport and EVEN odds with bet365.

The last team in the NL East, the Atlanta Braves, is currently well off the radar. With just one home win so far this season, Atlanta are already 11.5 games back of the lead while playing egregious .241 baseball on the season. They are priced at 700/1 to win the division with bet365, some of the longest odds you'll ever see on a Major League Baseball divisional race in early May. I'm inclined to believe that a team actually overcomes an 11.5-game deficit more than once in every 700 tries; however I would still want to see some kind of life out of Atlanta before taking their odds. Presently the Braves are 1-14 at home and losers of three straight overall.

Recommendations:

1-pt bet on Miami at 16s with Ladbrokes to win the NL East

1-pt bet on Philly at 75s with bet365 to win the NL East

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