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Atlanta Braves Betting – Braves Look To Bounce Back In Suddenly Crowded NL East

Posted by Dale “Skip” Lalonde on 3/22/2012 2:54:48 PM
atlanta braves betting

To think that if the Atlanta Braves had won even just one more regular season series, the St. Louis Cardinals would have never even made the playoffs, much less take home the World Series, isn’t far from a certainty. The Braves suffered an awful collapse at the end of the 2011 season, finishing a year filled with such high expectations by missing out on the postseason altogether.

Perhaps with the Boston Red Sox suffering an even greater collapse with even higher expectations in the American League, some of the attention was diverted from Atlanta, but the fact that the team didn’t make any major changes to its roster this past offseason is a signal from management that they haven’t lost faith in their lineup. However, with the Philadelphia Phillies coming in as the preseason sports betting World Series favorites, Miami Marlins throwing a ton of cash at every notable free agent on the market, and the future potentially arriving for a Washington Nationals club that has both Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper ready for the big leagues, the jury is out on the Braves standing pat.

Atlanta finished the 2011 season 16 games above .500, and could have been at least four games better if they had performed better in a handful of key situations. The Braves finished just 10th in the National League with 641 runs scored, and 13th in team batting average at .243, but they still feel as though there is enough in-house talent to work with to improve on those numbers. Dan Uggla and Jason Heyward are at the top of that list, with Uggla hitting just .185 before the All Star break and Heyward fighting through a sophomore slump. Uggla rebounded to hit .296 over the second half of the season with a .340 mark and 10 home runs in August, and Heyward should be able to return to his 2011 NL Rookie of the Year runner-up form. Brian McCann still ranks among the most dangerous catchers in the NL offensively, and if Uggla and Heyward can bounce back, as well as one more solid year from Chipper Jones, Atlanta’s offense should improve.

One issue that could plague the team’s starting rotation is the ankle of Jair Jurrjens, who went 13-6 with a 2.96 ERA a year ago but has dealt with ankle problems in spring training. Tim Hudson’s health has always been an issue for Atlanta, and with the top two arms in the rotation both bringing potential injury concerns in to the year, that is not a good sign for a staff that was pretty solid in 2011. When you consider some of the other rotations in the NL East however, there could be enough concern not to play them as a sportsbook option.

Overall, the Braves should be in a position to contend for an NL Wild Card spot this season, but they will have to be better than they were a year ago and with some added company in the form of the Nationals and Marlins both being better. Atlanta was on pace to make the playoffs a year ago before their awful collapse, and now Braves’ fans are hoping they have what it takes to bounce back and not carry over that decline in to a new sports bet season.

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