The New York Mets beat the Atlanta Braves on Opening Day, but have since lost five straight to their NL East rival and seven of nine overall entering Monday's matchup.
This marks the end of a four-game series that the Braves are on the precipice of sweeping. Perhaps Mets superstar pitcher Jacob deGrom can bail them out, and more importantly, generate some momentum before time runs out on the 2020 season.
In abe Insights' preview, get a better feel for this matchup from a betting perspective, with the best odds available across all major sportsbooks, analysis of how wagers should trend around those lines, and other information such as advanced stats you'll want to take into account before deciding your bet.
Date: Monday, August 3
Time: 7:10 p.m. ET
TV: Fox Sports 1
Implied Probabilities: Mets 55%; Braves 47%
Spread: NYM -1.5 (+130); ATL +1.5 (-149)
Moneyline: NYM -122; ATL +115
Having deGrom on the mound is about all the Mets can hang their hat on. They're also missing slugger Yoenis Cespedes, whose home run accounted for the only scoring in New York's 1-0 victory over Atlanta in the opener. The club couldn't get ahold of Cespedes before Sunday's 4-0 loss, and he later declared his intentions to opt out of the season.
Like deGrom, Braves ace Mike Soroka has conceded only two earned runs in two starts thus far, but has no wins credited to his record. Soroka has one less big bat to worry about with Cespedes out of action.
.333 vs .319: New York does have the second-highest batting average on balls in play among all teams, but Atlanta is fourth-best in that category. deGrom is the NL's reigning Cy Young Award winner and strikeout leader, so this area seems probable to favor the visitors on Monday.
29.8 vs. 24.7: So yes, the Braves may have a hard time making contact against deGrom, as they have MLB's second-highest strikeout percentage. New York's fan rate is 11th-worst, though, so its batting order must do better.
4.99 vs. 6.69: We've written about the Mets already in 2020, so let's check back in on this key stat. It's New York's 2019 bullpen ERA in 2019 (26th in MLB) versus that number for this year. Oh no — it's worse, behind only the Reds and Cubs to this point.
Who doesn't love the New York media? The Cespedes situation created a brilliant tabloid headline and illustration from the back page of the New York Post, but that lighthearted fun aside, it's a really dire situation in the Mets clubhouse.
Cespedes' unceremonious likely end to his stint in the Big Apple is just a microcosm of the chaos happening in the Mets organization. His abrupt opt-out amid COVID-19 concerns — and probably due in part to the team's woeful 3-7 start and his .161 batting average — only briefly distracts from the very real bullpen issue. The combination of these elements is causing impassioned local media and fans to become disillusioned.
After not giving deGrom a winning decision in his maiden start, he went six innings in his last appearance and gave up only two runs on 88 pitches. He could've pitched longer, given that relatively efficient pitch count. Alas, the Mets deployed their relievers and proceeded to lose 6-5 to Boston.
It's a recurring nightmare for New York: either starting strong and blowing late leads, or trying to grind out low-scoring affairs, only to see its deficit balloon in later innings. Exhibit A in the former scenario: Atlanta scored five runs in the bottom of the eighth this past Friday to rally for an 11-10 victory.
Until there's a reversal to this losing dynamic, similar results are to be expected for the Kings of Queens.
Combing through Over/Under data on TeamRankings.com is especially useful in this instance, since the Braves and Mets have faced each other so often this year. They're both sub-.500 in hitting the Over, and especially with deGrom on the mound, look for wagers to skew toward the Under, despite the 7.5 total being really low.
Again, New York's relievers will go a long way in determining the fate of this game. Unless deGrom can go the distance or thereabouts, it's probably not going to turn out well for the Mets, so expect the Braves' moneyline and spread to see the majority of action.
Note: Odds current as of 2:15 p.m. ET on Monday, August 3.
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