Braves can hang in NL East race

Although Nats seem to have stronghold on division, Braves aren't far behind

Updated: July 21, 2014, 2:17 PM ET
By Paul Swydan | ESPN Insider

Bryce HarperAP Photo/Evan VucciBryce Harper hasn't been great, and the Nats will need more to hold off Atlanta.

The Washington Nationals are supposed to be running away with the NL East. At least, that was the story at the beginning of the season. Twenty-eight of 31 FanGraphs authors picked the Nationals to win the division, as did 40 of 44 ESPN.com experts. Yet here we are, nearly 100 games into the season, and it's a dead heat. Is there reason to change course and think that the Atlanta Braves are now the favorites?

Well, not according to the Playoff Odds. FanGraphs still gives the Nats 81 percent odds to take home the division crown. That's one way of looking at it. Another way would be to note that only 13 teams still have at least 10 percent odds of winning their division, and the Braves are one of them.

So let's not slam the door on Atlanta just yet.