Why the Mets are such heavy favorites to win NL East over Braves

The Atlanta Braves entered Wednesday only one game back of the Mets in the NL East race but New York remains an oddly heavy favorite. Why is that?

Entering play on Wednesday, the New York Mets held a one-game lead over the Atlanta Braves in the National League East race. It’s been a dogfight down the stretch in the division and one of the most exciting battles to watch in baseball with both teams looking like potential World Series contenders.

Yet, if you happen to be looking at the betting markets, you might’ve noticed that the Mets are favored. That makes sense given their lead in the division, but what has been shocking is how heavy of favorites New York is to take the NL East from Atlanta.

On Tuesday morning, the Mets were listed as -230 favorites with the Braves at +170 for their odds to win the division. Yes, New York is the obvious favorite given their position, but those numbers don’t make sense for just a one-game lead at first glance. So what’s the deal with those odds?

Mets odds to win NL East over Braves heavily influenced by new tiebreaker rules

The reason as to why New York is such a heavy favorite is actually quite easy to explain and it comes down to MLB’s new tiebreaker rules for the playoffs.

In the past, if the Mets and Braves had finished the season in a tie for first place in the NL East, the two clubs would’ve played Game 163 to settle the score with the winner taking the division. That is no longer the case, however, as there will be tiebreaker rules based on the performance over the 162 regular-season game, as noted by ESPN’s Jesse Rogers.

The first tiebreaker under this new format is head-to-head record when it comes to determining a division winner. And that is precisely why New York is such a heavy favorite. Because when you factor that into the equation, their lead in the division entering Tuesday was essentially at two games.

With just a lone three-game series remaining this season, the Mets hold a 9-7 record over the Braves in the 2022 campaign. That means that if they win just one game in that series, they’ll own the head-to-head tiebreaker and would thus end the season as NL East champs if the two teams had identical records.

So while there is a more likely than -230 chance that New York is chased down by Atlanta, the Braves actually have to either sweep the three-game set against their rivals or make up two games in the division race to win the NL East.