Baseball Betting Picks, Braves vs. Nationals Predictions

Atlanta Braves vs. Washington Nationals Odds

Atlanta Braves vs. Washington Nationals MLB Betting Series Preview

By Mike Rose

Both the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals went into the All-Star break trailing the Philadelphia Phillies for NL East honors by a half game and 5.5 games respectively. The Nats figured to be the team to coast to the division pennant at the outset of the season. If they’re to live up to expectations, at the very least a series win over one of the teams ahead of them in the standings is a must! They got two of their aces going, so it’s hardly a shock to see them the decisive chalk to win this three-game set.

Atlanta Braves vs. Washington Nationals
Dates:
Friday, July 20 – Sunday, July 22, 2018
Location:
Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.

For all intents and purposes, the Braves are ahead of schedule. Not many predicted Brian Snitker’s team to be a factor in the NL East this season, but alas, they’re right in the thick of it. At 10 games over the breakeven point heading into Friday night’s series opener, Atlanta checks in as the fourth most lucrative bet in all of baseball ( $1208 ). They’re 27-22 on the road which has amounted to a solid $1065 return on investment.

It’s quite a different story in our nation’s capital where the Nationals have largely disappointed through better than half of their regular season docket. Dave Martinez has some work to do in their next 66 games if Bryce Harper and company are to live up to expectations. Though currently in third place of the division, Washington checks in with the second shortest odds to win the division ( +194 ) behind the Phillies ( +149 ).

Game 1 Probable Pitchers – Friday, July 20, 2018, 7:05 p.m. ET ( Local TV )

Anibal Sanchez vs. Stephen Strasburg

The veteran right-hander has found new life in the National League. After throwing nothing short of batting practice against AL bats his last three seasons in Detroit, Sanchez has rediscovered how to get opposing bats out. He’ll enter start No. 12 the owner of a 4-2 record and nifty 2.60 ERA. Opponents are only batting .204 against him to date, and he’s yet to allow an earned run in 10 innings thrown at the Nats this season.

Strasburg has proven to be a China doll year in and year out. This season has unfortunately once again been the case. Be that as it may, the righty is one of the best in the game when healthy and firing on all cylinders. This will be his first start in over a month since going on the DL due to shoulder inflammation. Before hitting the shelf, he went 6-6 with a 3.46 ERA and 1.09 WHIP. The Nationals only won two of his seven home starts, but he’s handled Atlanta’s offense with ease limiting Freddie Freeman and company to a .189 BAA and 3 ER over 14.2 innings.

Game 2 Probable Pitchers – Saturday, July 21, 2018, 7:05 p.m. ET ( Local TV )

Sean Newcomb vs. Gio Gonzalez

Newcomb was arguably the Braves best starting pitcher through the month of June. Then July hit and the feces hit the fan. In his three made starts before the All-Star break, the lefty is 0-3 with a bloated 9.75 ERA and 2.00 WHIP. He failed to pitch through the sixth inning in each, and didn’t make it through the fourth twice. Though the Nationals have struggled against lefties, he’s had issues with them in going 1-1 with a 5.56 ERA and 1.32 WHIP. This will be his second career start in D.C. He got rocked for 4 ER through four innings in the first.

Though not as dominant as he was a season ago, Gio Gonzalez continues to be the steady anchor that holds down the Nationals starting rotation. No, he doesn’t have the wipeout stuff of Scherzer or Strasburg, but he’s an innings eater and gets the job done more times than not. Relegated to more or less a six inning pitcher, only 36.8 percent of his starts have been of quality. He’s been his best at home where he sports a 3-2 record and 3.09 ERA, and took a no decision versus Atlanta earlier this season after tossing seven innings of 3 ER ball.

Baseball Betting Picks

Game 3 Probable Pitchers – Sunday, July 22, 2018, 1:35 p.m. ET ( Local TV )

Mike Foltynewicz vs. Max Scherzer

With a 2.66 ERA and a 10.6 K/9 average, Folty has been the Braves staff ace. Unfortunately, his 7-5 record doesn’t state as such, but that has more to do with the 4.4 runs per start he’s received from the offense. Still, he needs to work on his longevity evidenced by a 27.8 quality start percentage. The Braves stand 4-5 in his nine road starts where his ERA falls to 2.54 over 49.2 innings. None of his last six starts have been of quality, but he’s been hard on the Nats through three starts to date in allowing only 3 ER with a 22:5 K/BB ratio over 19.1 innings. He tossed a complete game shutout last time he opposed them back on June 1.

What else can you say about Mad max that hasn’t already been said. He’s without a doubt one of the best starting pitchers in the game, and that won’t change in Sunday’s finale when he toes the bump for the 21st time this season. He’ll be out to snag win No. 13 in this one against a Braves offense he’s limited to just right hits and 2 ER through 14 innings over a pair of starts. Lifetime against Atlanta, Scherzer stands 8-6 with a 3.61 ERA and .254 BAA over 17 starts. Washington’s won seven of his 10 made home starts where he’s only given up 20 ER through 70+ innings of work.

MLB Baseball Odds, Twins vs Cardinals Betting Predictions

Twins at Cardinals Picks

By Mike Rose

Interleague play gets the ESPN Monday Night Baseball treatment when Paul Molitor’s Minnesota Twins invades Busch Stadium for an abbreviated two-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals. These franchises last crossed paths back in 2015 when the Redbirds went into the Twin Cities and got the brooms busted out on them by the Twinkies at Target Field. Both meetings combined for low scorers pushing the under to a lucrative 9-0 in the team’s last nine skirmishes.

Minnesota Twins at St. Louis Cardinals
Date and Time: Monday, May 7, 2018, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Busch Stadium, St. Louis, MO
MLB Odds: Check Back Later
Probable Pitchers: Fernando Romero vs. Carlos Martinez
Twins at Cardinals TV Coverage: ESPN

The Twins got out to a semi-decent start to their 2018 campaign by rattling off wins in eight of their first 13 games. Then they went on to drop eight straight games and completely fell off the mat. Since snapping the losing streak, they’ve managed just one win in their last four tries. Overall, the Twins have proven to be one of the bigger money burners in the league costing MLB bettors upwards of $700 overall.

A bulk of that deficit has been incurred on the road where Eddie Rosario and his mates have secured just three wins through 12 tries ( -$591 ). This is a team that ranks No. 20 in the league in scoring runs ( 4.1 RPG ) and has produced the fewest quality starts ( 8 ). On top of all that, the bullpen sports a sickening 5.93 ERA while the defense has committed 17 errors ( No. 16 ). This team has no doubt taken a step backwards through the first five weeks after qualifying for the play-in game a short season ago.

Since dropping two of three to the Brewers back on April 11, the Cardinals have been one of the hottest teams in the league. Yadier Molina and his mates have rattled off wins in 11 of their last 17 opportunities. In doing so, they currently sit a half game in back of the Brewers for the NL Central lead and rank out as the twelfth most lucrative team to wager on in baseball ( $225 ).

However, nothing about this team jumps off the page when you break it down statistically. The offense is league average in scoring 4.6 runs per game while batting .235 overall ( No. 24 ). The pitching staff has thrown to the No. 4 ranked ERA ( 3.32 ) and amassed 14 quality starts, but the defense is below average in fielding percentage and I’m not sure you can trust the bullpen entirely regardless of Bud Norris currently in good form. Still, the team has protected its house in winning nine of 14 in front of the hometown faithful ( $167 ), and gets the advantage of playing there in the series opener.

Pitching Matchup

Fernando Romero –The youngster impressed in his 2018 debut by tossing 5.2 innings of shutout baseball at the Toronto Blue jays to log his first career win in the big leagues. Though he issued a trio of free passes, he also racked up 5five strikeouts. He’s proven to be a reliable strikeout pitcher at all levels, but will have his work cut out for him in this spot versus a Cardinals lineup that’s been the tenth toughest lineup to punch out. He does have the advantage of St. Louis hitting lefties better than righties.

Carlos Martinez – C-Mart is starting to once again pitch like the ace Mike Matheny had hoped for last season. He’ll enter his eighth start of the year 3-1 with a miniscule 1.40 ERA and 1.04 WHIP. Though his BB/9 average sits at 3.8, he’s offset the free passes by racking up 45 strikeouts in 45 total innings of work. Like his offense, Minnesota has been average against right-handed pitching ( No. 17 ). He’s been nearly untouchable at home where his ERA falls to 1.07 and BAA to .205. St. Louis has won all four of his home starts, and he’s only conceded 2 ER in his last three starts.

Baseball Betting Picks

Twins at Cardinals Picks

As much as I want to believe Minnesota has what it takes to take down the Cardinals ace, I just don’t see it happening. Pitching at home against Toronto is a much different scenario than tossing in hostile Busch in your very first road test at the MLB level. That’s something I don’t foresee Romero conquering in this spot. He looks to be a viable arm that will give Molitor and his staff solid innings down the road, but he’s simply not prepared for this challenge. All things being equal, Minnesota’s only shot of beating the MLB betting lines at the best online sportsbooks would be if St. Louis suffers a major letdown after taking on the Cubs the previous three days. While that’s entirely possible, I’m not willing to bank on it.

MLB Pick: Bet the Cardinals at BookMaker.eu
MLB Score Prediction: St. Louis 8 – Minnesota 2