Bet the 'Over' on Braves vs. Pirates Series Finale

Willie Bee

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 1:08 PM GMT

Another early lead led to another Braves win, their 5th-straight while the Pirates lost their seventh in a row. Can Atlanta finish a sweep in the MLB odds series on Wednesday?

No matter how hard they try, the Atlanta Braves can't close on the smokin' hot Washington Nationals in the NL East race. The Braves are, however, gaining ground in the NL Wild Card standings, and it's coming at the expense of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Atlanta posted its 5th-straight win Tuesday, once again jumping out early in Pittsburgh en route to an 11-3 rout. Justin Upton powered the Braves with a homer and five ribbies while Aaron Harang pitched into the ninth to hand the them their 7th-straight setback.

The two teams close things out Wednesday night when young hurlers Alex Wood and Gerrit Cole collide on the mound in the 7:05 PM (ET) contest at PNC Park. That is, they'll try to close things out amidst rain in the Pittsburgh forecast. As they have been in the first two games, the Pirates are favorites on a moneyline near -120, SBR's live MLB odds showing mostly 7.5 for the total.

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Cole Rejoins Pirate Rotation Following DL Stint
Wood will be seeking his first road win since June 25 when he tossed seven scoreless innings against the Astros. The Braves dropped his subsequent three assignments away from home despite the former Georgia Bulldog posting a sub-3.00 ERA in those outings. The southpaw is coming off back-to-back victories, the most recent last Friday against the Oakland Athletics (6 IP, 2 ER).

Wednesday will be his first career start vs. the Pirates, and first-ever at PNC Park. Wood's only experience vs. Pittsburgh came in a 2-inning relief stint last season, the Bucs reaching him for a run on two hits.

Cole's first outing in about six weeks will also be the first time the former UCLA Bruin has faced the Braves. He made four rehab starts at Triple-A, posting a 2.01 ERA over the course of 22.1 innings, and was pitching to a 3.56 ERA in seven starts (43 IP) at PNC Park before being placed on the DL with a lat strain.

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Umpire Notes, Final Thoughts & A Free Pick
Paul Nauert wraps up this series for the umpires behind the dish, and the Louisville native brings a 12-9-1 O/U/P record into the contest.  Most of the high-side winners have come when totals are 7.5 runs or less (8-3 O/U), but both of his plate assignments in Iron City a year ago never made it to the scoreboard mark.

A good chance exists this game won't be played. The Pittsburgh area is going to get some pretty heavy rains throughout the day, and the weatherman is calling for a 50%-60% chance of it continuing into the evening hours. There's only one shared day off between the Pirates and Braves from here on out (Sept. 4), and it's really not an ideal date considering the Bucs would have to fly home in the middle of a 10-game road trip.

Assuming we can get nine innings in tonight, I'm looking for enough offense to push this match past the total, and that's where my free pick is being made.

MLB Pick: Braves-Pirates Over 7.5 at 5Dimes

Season: 102-106 (-4.85)