It’s never easy to be the favorite. The Braves just had a historically great season. Everyone recognizes them as MLB’s best team. Anything less than a World Series would be a colossal disappointment.
Unfortunately, this isn’t football. The best team doesn’t always end up holding the Commissioner’s Trophy at the end of the season. It’s actually more likely that the Braves are upset along the way than they aren’t, but don’t tell ESPN’s panel of experts that.
In the divisional round, 22 out of 27 voters picked the Braves to advance to the NLCS. On the other side, a similar amount picked the Dodgers to beat the Brewers, as they received 20 out of 27 possible votes, setting up a National League Championship Series that everybody is dying to see.
However, not many panelists are buying the Dodgers advancing to the World Series. Of the 22 people that picked the Braves to advance, 21 of them had them beating Los Angeles, and it was a clean sweep when discussing the World Series. All 21 voters that had the Braves advancing to the Fall Classic have them also winning the World Series.
That’s an overwhelming majority. The team that actually received the second-most votes to win the World Series was the Philadelphia Phillies with four. That means 25 out of the 27 panelists believe this year’s champion will come from the NL East. The Dodgers and Orioles each received a vote apiece.
That’s outrageous when considering how random baseball can be in October, but as I’ve said all along, the Braves and Phillies are the two best teams in the game. The NLDS will be the Braves’ toughest test, if the Phillies do advance past the Wild Card Series. If Atlanta can get to the NLCS, it’s hard to imagine anyone else testing them in a seven-game series, and it seems the panelists over at ESPN are in agreement.
Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire