The advantage the New York Mets have in the NL East race is that every fifth day, when Jacob deGrom is on the mound, they should be able to count on a win.
The odds have reflected deGrom's dominance, with the Mets reaching longer than -400 odds a few times in his starts. And then Tuesday happened.
The Mets lost as a -455 favorite against the Chicago Cubs, the biggest MLB favorite to lose this season, according to ESPN Stats and Info. Chicago got three runs off deGrom, added another off the bullpen and the Mets didn't score until the ninth inning in the 4-1 loss. That's the kind of game you don't want to lose with the Atlanta Braves right behind you.
The Mets' lead is down to a half game over the Braves as they face the Cubs again on Wednesday. The good news is the Mets are -200 favorites at BetMGM for Wednesday's game.
The NL East is the rare division that hasn't been decided yet. The AL Central is the only other one in which the first-place team's lead is less than six games. The Cleveland Guardians lead the AL Central by three games.
The Braves have been excellent since a slow start and the Mets can't shake them. The Mets have been good most of the season but 4-6 in their last 10 including losses to the Washington Nationals, Pittsburgh Pirates, Miami Marlins and Cubs. They're letting the Braves hang around.
The best news for the Mets is their remaining schedule is incredibly soft. There are three games left at the Braves but if the Mets handle business against teams like the Pirates, Nationals and Oakland A's the rest of the way, they should be just fine. But Tuesday night was a sign it might not be as easy as it seems. A few big underdogs have cashed tickets against the Mets lately. Maybe the pressure of the pennant race is affecting them.
Here's the first look at the sports betting slate for Wednesday:
What else is on the MLB slate?
The best game is the Tampa Bay Rays at the Toronto Blue Jays. The Jays have taken two of three in the series so far including a doubleheader split on Tuesday. Considering both of those teams and the Seattle Mariners are all at least five games clear in the wild-card race, and the Rays and Jays are both at least six games back in the AL East, there's not a lot of drama in the standings. But at least it's two good teams facing off. The Jays are -120 favorites.
The other highlight on the schedule is the San Diego Padres at the Mariners. The Padres are two games up on the Milwaukee Brewers for the last wild-card spot and got a big 2-0 win on Wednesday. The Mariners are -150 favorites for Wednesday.
What else is on the schedule?
Not too much. There's no midweek college football yet. The WNBA Finals continues with Game 3 on Thursday. There are a bunch of Champions League soccer matches to bet on at least. But mostly we're all just waiting on that Los Angeles Chargers-Kansas City Chiefs game on Thursday night.
What's the best bet?
It has been hard to bet baseball, with so many teams way out of the playoff picture and the lack of drama in the playoff races. We'll try anyway. The Los Angeles Angels and Cleveland Guardians have a surprisingly fun game. Angels starter Patrick Sandoval has been very good lately, but so has Guardians starter Cal Quantrill. The Guardians are -120 favorites, and the Guardians are the far superior team regardless of Mike Trout's recent hot streak. I'll ride with the Guardians as a small favorite.