Mets & the NL East Title: Sorry, but Las Vegas has this thing all wrong

Mets 2020 (Photo:

Once again, the Mets have non-believers in Las Vegas, setting the odds to win the NL East title in 2020. They’ll need a wake-up call once the season starts.

The Mets, and perhaps it’s only fitting, find themselves in a familiar position as underdogs in the race to win the NL East Division title in 2020.

The latest Las Vegas odds say the Mets are only better than the Miami Marlins, and they might as well fold the tent now because the Nationals and Braves will finish ahead of them – while the Mets and Phillies have an even chance to battle it out for a third-place finish.

Las Vegas Says…

The actual odds look like this, according to Wager Talk.

Odds to win the NL East 2020 (Source:
Odds to win the NL East 2020 (Source:

A Sidebar First…

As a sidebar, take note that MLB is actively engaged in ensuring that Las Vegas will not be the only enterprise seeking to make the money we wage on sports betting.

MLB shakes hands with the devil (Photo: Calvin Ayre)
MLB shakes hands with the devil (Photo: Calvin Ayre)

According to SportsPro, Major League Baseball (MLB) has expanded its agreement with fantasy sports betting platform DraftKings, in a move that sees it become the competition’s authorized gaming operator.

So, under the guise of – if someone is going to profit from this, it might as well be us, MLB has reached the acme of hypocrisy – while sending its best wishes to Pete Rose.

Mets: Back to business…

Sorry, this is about the Mets and the non-believers. Back to business.

There are four teams in the National League East pegged to win 85 or more games, making the division the most competitive in the major leagues.

All four teams (National, Braves, Mets, and Phillies) have had good offseasons. But some teams have done better than others.

Nationals: Old and Overrated

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The Nationals, for instance, were forced to choose between Stephen Strasburg and Anthony Rendon because they couldn’t afford both. They went with Strasburg to anchor their starting rotation along with Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin.

A smart move, but the loss of Rendon, who went on to sign with the Angels, is a big hurt in run production. The Nationals hope to recover by signing Josh Donaldson, but competition for his services is severe.

Couple that problem with the Nationals being the second-oldest team in baseball, and you have cause to wonder if Vegas has the Nats in that spot only because they are the defending World Champions.

Phillies: Like last year, something’s missing

Things break more in favor of the Mets when you compare them to the Phillies. Joe Girardi is a definite plus, but he is still dependant on his players to win games. Didi Gregorius is an excellent signing, but there are valid reasons why the Yankees let him go.

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The Phillies pitching, beyond Aaron Nola, is suspect. They invested a lot of money in Zack Wheeler solely based on two-months work in the second half of 2019.

Jake Arrieta will be 34 in March, and somewhere along the line, the win total has to equal his reputation. Reliever David Robertson‘s ability to bounce back from a lost season is also a question mark.

Of the Phillies position players, once you get past J.T. Realmuto, Jean Segura, and Bryce Harper – what do they have?

Braves are legitimate – Mets beware

Now, the Braves, that’s a whole other question. This team is good top to bottom, and the Braves haven’t been shy about adding talent this offseason.

Mike Foltynewicz, Cole Hamels, and Mike Soroka form the nucleus of a pitching staff capable of challenging the Mets tandem of Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Marcus Stroman.

The Braves bullpen received a substantial boost with the signing of Will Smith, who is there to supplement Mark Melancon, Darren O’Day, and Shane Greene.

The Braves offense is well-stocked and ready to repeat their run-producing ways this year. Ronald Acuna Jr.and Freddie Freeman leads the charge, but Dansby Swanson, Nick Markakis, and guess who – yup, former Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud fill out the Braves lineup.

Stop right there…

Mets One-Two Punch deGrom & Syndergaard (Photo:
Mets One-Two Punch deGrom & Syndergaard (Photo:

Excuse me, but I don’t see where any of these teams deserve a status above the Mets.

While there’s no way MLB, Draft Kings, or Las Vegas is going to lure me into wagering money, I wonder why the Mets lineup (let alone their rotation) doesn’t seem to count so much.

A batting order that includes Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, J.D. Davis, Michael Conforto, Robinson Cano, and who knows – maybe even Yoenis Cespedes – doesn’t seem to count for much?

They always say in baseball that paper doesn’t count. It’s only the games a team plays on the field: the W’s and the L’s. And where your team shows in the final standings.

When we watch the All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium in July, we’ll have a better way to separate the men from the boys in the NL East.

But I have a feeling that by then, the Mets will have provided a reason for Vegas to adjust their numbers…

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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.