If I told you that the home team in today's game had a lineup with hot hitters from top to bottom, including the hottest hitter in the game right now, and their starting pitcher was a proven vet with better stats this season than the road team's pitcher, is there any way you would think that home team would be an underdog?
That is exactly what we have with the Braves versus the Mets. Tim Hudson starts for the Braves and he has been fantastic all season with his 6-3 record, 3.06 ERA and 1.07 WHIP. He also has only given up three home runs this entire season, yet he is an underdog.
Hudson and the Braves are the underdogs because of one thing: Johan Santana. Santana has gotten so much press and so much money lately, that the public opinion of him is that he is unbeatable. His stats say otherwise. He has a 5-2 record, 3.30 ERA, 1.12 whip and he has given up a whopping 11 home runs so far this season.
Four of those home runs were given up in Santana's last two games in which he also gave up 17 hits; hardly the stuff of invincible.
If I were a bettin' man, I would take the home team at +106 underdog price, the home team which happens to have Chipper Jones hitting .409 right now. Of course it all hinges on Jones. If for some reason, he wasn't playing in this game, I wouldn't bet the Braves.
On top of Jones, they have Mark Teixeira and Jeff Francoeur heating up. Francoeur nearly hit for the cycle last night, and Teixeira went 3-5 to extend his hitting streak to five games, getting multiple hits in three of those five games.
Nobody knows who will win this game, including me, but if I had to choose, I would expect the Braves to win. I think most baseball fans who have watched the Braves kill the Mets for the last three games would agree with me. The odds makers, however, cannot set Santana as an underdog, or everyone would bet on him because of his name. All the money would lean too heavily on the side of the Mets.
All in all this makes the Braves a great value bet. They probably should be favored slightly, but they are not.