New York Mets Barely Favored In NL East Showdown

USA TODAY Sports

Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN plays host to a showdown in the National League East between the Atlanta Braves and the New York Mets. The Mets find themselves in dire need of a win — losing seven straight and both games versus the Braves in the weekend series. Currently, atop the division, the Braves look to continue their winning ways leading into the All-Star Break. Here’s a sports betting breakdown of tonight’s matchup.

The Mets held a 4-3 lead going into the top of the eighth inning yesterday versus the Braves. After a game-tying Nick Markakis home run, Austin Riley stepped to the plate.

Riley’s fourteenth homer was enough to put the game away for the Braves — 5-4 — who moved to a 6.5-game lead in the National League East with the Phillies’ loss to the Marlins.

Tonight, the Mets hope to snap a seven-game skid, sending Noah Syndergaard to the hill against the burgeoning Max Fried. At the time of this writing, FanDuel Sportsbook sets the Mets as short -112 favorites with the implied-run total set at 8 runs.

Stat of the Night

Over the last 30 days, the Braves find themselves amidst a torrid streak at the plate. The Braves’ 55 home runs, 184 runs, and 178 RBI lead all of Major League Baseball.

FanGraphs describes ISO as a statistic used to measure a hitter’s extra bases per at-bat. Basically, ISO measures a hitter’s power. Over those same 30 days, the Braves lead baseball with a .239 team ISO. For perspective, the Indians and Dodgers are tied at second at .219.

Temperature Meter: Mets’ Bullpen Ice Cold to Start Summer

As previously mentioned, the Mets are amidst a seven-game losing streak seemingly inventing new ways to lose baseball games. The Mets were only favored to win two of the contests with tonight’s currently line representing only the third time the Mets are favored during the skid.

A big factor contributing to the losing streak is a beleaguered bullpen over the last couple of weeks. The Mets’ relievers possess a league-worst 5.32 xFIP over that span with a second-worst 4.9 BB/9 and putrid 2.3 HR/9. Syndergaard will need to go deep into the game for the Mets to book a win.

Pitching Primer

With the bullpen woes a major concern, the Mets look to Noah Syndergaard to stop the bleeding. Now 13 games behind the Braves in the division, the Mets are quickly approaching seller’s territory as fans will likely wait another season for a playoff berth.

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Syndergaard’s 2019 season can best be described as serviceable. Noah’s xFIP is 4.02 this season — an appreciable increase from his 3.29 xFIP from 2018. The strikeout rate is down to 23.7% — a decrease for the third straight season. Noah is giving up 1.0 HR/9 — likely due to an increase in both FB% and Hard%. The Braves represent a particularly difficult matchup for Noah but — believe it or not — Syndergaard represents the Mets’ best elixir for their current woes.

The Braves look to Max Fried to continue their winning ways. The young southpaw has impressed in 2019 — pitching to a 3.51 xFIP while adapting to the big leagues. Fried possesses an average K-rate of 22.4% to complement a very strong 55.1% groundball rate. He just faced the Mets at home on June 19th — pitching six innings of two-run ball to collect a win. He struck out six in the process.

The Pick

Noah Syndergaard does not have a start against the hot-hitting Braves this season. His initial foray on a national stage will be a tough test as the Braves’ offense continues to fire on all cylinders.

Syndergaard’s last start did not go well — the pseudo-ace gave up four runs in six innings against a below-average Cardinals offense. That will not get the job done today against the Braves especially when Noah is backed by a currently struggling bullpen.

The Braves are currently -102 at the time of this writing. I will be paying close attention to this line throughout the day hoping somehow the public bets the Braves down further. I prefer the Braves with better odds but, for the sake of the article, give me the Braves to win at -102 on FanDuel Sportsbook.

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