Both National League Division Series will pit division rivals against each other. The Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins will kick off their best-of-five series on Tuesday at Minute Maid Park in Houston.
Not surprisingly, the Braves are favored in the NLDS, according to DraftKings Sportsbook. Here are the odds:
- Atlanta Braves: -305
- Miami Marlins: +200
Why the Braves can win
Atlanta can rake. Led by MVP candidate Freddie Freeman, the Braves entered the postseason No. 2 in the NL in scoring and No. 1 in several categories like hits, walks and slugging percentage.
The Braves have a deep lineup that puts a lot of pressure on opposing pitching staffs. And if it matters, Minute Maid Park is a notorious hitter’s park whose short porch in left field is tailored for right-handed sluggers like Ronald Acuna Jr. and Marcell Ozuna.
On the mound, starters Max Fried and Ian Anderson are proving to be as good as any in the league and the Braves have plenty of quality bullpen arms if they want to try to shorten the game.
Why the Marlins can win
The Marlins have better rotation depth. After Fried and Anderson, Atlanta’s third starter is Kyle Wright, who posted a 5.21 ERA in eight starts in the regular season. They really miss Mike Soroka, who’s out with an Achilles injury.
By now everyone should know about Miami’s stellar 1-2 punch of Sandy Alcantara and Sixto Sanchez. They were dominant in the regular season and carried that into the Wild Card round against the Cubs. But the Marlins also have Pablo Lopez, who had a 3.61 ERA during the regular season, and Elieser Hernandez (3.16 ERA), who was filthy in six starts this year, striking out 11.9 batters per nine innings.
It’s just a matter of if the Marlins can generate enough offense. They were 11th in the National League in scoring.
Runs have been at a premium in the postseason and the Braves are a much better offensive team. So as long as the back end of their rotation doesn’t totally collapse, they should be in good shape to handle the Marlins, who haven’t scored more than five runs in a game since Sept. 19 and could be without star centerfielder Starling Marte due to a broken hand.
Atlanta is also playoff-tested, having reached the postseason each of the last three years, and went 6-4 against the Marlins in the regular season.
For that reason, I’m taking the Braves.