Athletics vs. Braves Game 3 to go 'Over' 7

Willie Bee

Sunday, August 17, 2014 12:09 PM GMT

The Atlanta Braves take aim at a sweep of the A's in this weekend's MLB odds set that concludes on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball. Can Jon Lester stop Oakland's freefall?

It would appear Oakland has gone cold at just the wrong time, though Angels fans might suggest the Athletics' rut has come right on time.

Atlanta jumped on Sonny Gray and the A's early Saturday, then held on for a 4-3 victory as Julio Teheran and the Braves bullpen held Oakland to five hits. The setback dropped the Athletics percentage points behind the Angels in the AL West, Atlanta managing to just keep pace with Washington in the NL East after the Nationals won their fifth straight.

Sunday night's series finale in Atlanta will get the full treatment from ESPN beginning at 8 PM (ET), an all-southpaw mound duel giving the contest added star power. Oakland sends Jon Lester to the mound against Mike Minor of the Braves, and the A's are favored to avoid being swept with the current moneyline in the low -140s. SBR's live MLB odds shows 7 across the board for the total.

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Lester Looks To Move To 4-0 With A's
When the A's fortified their rotation in the deal with Chicago for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, that was seen as enough to make Oakland the favorite in the AL. Landing Lester from Boston at the deadline, however, might just prove to be the biggest coup of the entire summer. Potentially just a 3-month rental with his contract running out at the end of 2014, Lester has won each of his first three starts and ranks fifth in the American League in ERA (2.51), sixth in strikeouts (169) and 11th in WHIP (1.11).

Sunday will be his third career assignment vs. Atlanta, Lester splitting the previous two with the win coming at Turner Field during his rookie 2006 campaign (6 IP, 1 ER).

It has been a bit of struggle for Minor in 2014, causing the Braves to skip the Vanderbilt alum for a start earlier this month. He looked better last Tuesday vs. the Dodgers, working six while allowing three runs, but the end result was his and Atlanta's third loss in his past four outings. Sunday will be his first-ever appearance against the A's, with only Jonny Gomes (2-5) and Nick Punto (1-4) having faced Minor before.

Check Out the FIP Leaderboard as of August 15th!

Umpire Notes, Final Thoughts & A Free Pick
Two consecutive plate assignments that skipped past the total have left 20-year veteran umpire Ted Barrett with a 12-10-1 (O/U/P) record this year. He has called a couple of Braves road games this season that failed to reach the scoreboard barrier, while Barrett's two Red Sox matchups both came at Fenway and split the totals.

My rut continues, and is approaching epic levels since the all-star break (9-21, -13.25 units). Making a tough job even tougher are the mysterious changes to my previews and free picks once they leave my hands, weird punctuation movements and the extra juice added to my Oakland pick on Saturday when my -110 wager somehow shifted to -130.

Ah, but mine is not to reason why, mine is but to try and find a winner in these games, and I'm going to run with the high side of Sunday's total for my free pick to end this set.

MLB Pick: Athletics-Braves Over 7 at YouWager (-105)

Season: 99-105 (-7.20)