The New York Mets have led the NL East practically all season. However it has been close at times. On July 23, their lead was down to a half-game.
The Mets have put some distance between themselves and the Atlanta Braves since then. They're up 5.5 games and this week they can put the Braves far behind them.
Atlanta hosts the Mets for a four-game series, and it could be the reigning World Series champs' last chance to make a real push for the division. The Braves are -150 favorites at BetMGM for the opener on Monday.
The Mets took three of four against the Braves in a series earlier this month, as they continue to play very well. The Mets are 35 games above .500 at 75-40. The offense has been very good and the pitching has allowed two or fewer runs in eight straight games. The return of Jacob deGrom has pushed the Mets to a different level; deGrom looks unhittable since he was activated off the injured list.
The Braves are a quality team too and on Monday they have NL rookie of the year favorite Spencer Strider on the mound. That's why they're favored. The Mets counter with Carlos Carrasco, who has also been very good. He had a 0.90 ERA in July. The Braves scored three runs off him in six innings on Aug. 4, but that's Carrasco's worst start since June.
It should be a fun four-game series. At this point, the Braves just want to slow the Mets down.
Here's a first look at the sports betting slate for Monday:
The rest of the MLB schedule
There are 14 games on a busy Monday in Major League Baseball. The only afternoon games is the Detroit Tigers at the Cleveland Guardians, who have taken over first place in the AL Central. Cleveland is a -225 favorite.
Another highlight on the schedule is Sandy Alcantara. The NL Cy Young favorite and his Miami Marlins face the San Diego Padres. The Padres are -135 favorites mostly because the Marlins' offense is awful, but Alcantara is going to keep his team in the game. Joe Musgrove starts for the Padres.
One EPL match
Liverpool, coming off a loss in its first match, takes on Crystal Palace in the lone English Premier League match on Monday. Liverpool, one of the two runaway favorites to win the EPL this season, is a -500 favorite on Monday. Crystal Palace is +1350 if you're looking for a big shot on an upset.
What's the best bet?
I'll take the Mets as an underdog. Spencer Strider has been excellent for the Braves, but Carlos Carrasco is having a very good season and the Mets have been excellent, especially in August. There won't be many chances the rest of the season to get the Mets at +125 or better, so I'll bite.