Baseball Odds Preview: Braves Must Win vs. Cardinals to Keep Pace in NL East Battle

Who would have thought that the NL East powerhouse Atlanta Braves would enter the second half of September out of the baseball odds playoff picture?.

Just several weeks ago this team was on top of the NL East with a comfortable lead over division rival Philadelphia Phillies and the NL wild card spot in the post season wasn’t even remotely on the radar.  This team was going to cruise to the NL East title and home field advantage in the playoffs.

But what a difference a few weeks in September can make as the Braves (89-61) have gone just 4-6 in their past 10 games and been overtaken by the Phillies (81-60) in the NL East race.  The Phillies now a have a slim 1.0 game lead in the division and worse still,  the Braves are in danger of missing the baseball betting odds post season all together as they NL West teams come alive and it leads by just 1.0 game over the hard charging San Fran Giants for the Wild Card berth.

If there’s such a thing as a must win game in the baseball odds competition this is it for the Braves.

On Saturday night Atlanta hosts the reeling St Louis Cardinals (73-65) whose own post season hopes have been ripped asunder by a Big Red Machine in Cincy that has built a commanding 5.0 lead in the NL Central.  But just because the Cards have struggled of late (4-6 record in their past 10 games) doesn’t mean this team will be an easy win.

St Louis still has one of the best starting rotations in baseball and is capable of putting together a winning streak and pulling back into playoff baseball odds contention.
Unfortunately for the Red Birds they won’t have one of their aces on the mound versus the Braves but rather Jake Westbrook (7-10, 4.46 ERA).  Westbrook is hardly the feather in the Cardinals pitching cap and has lost three of his four starts.

The Braves won’t necessarily have their best pitching foot forward either as they’ll send Tommy Hansen (9-11, 3.58 ERA) to the mound.  Nonetheless they’ll have home field advantage and the Braves are the best team in the baseball odds competition at home (49-20).