Bet The ‘Over’ In Braves vs. Red Sox As Your MLB Pick

LT Profits Sports Group

Wednesday, April 27, 2016 2:37 PM GMT

Bud Norris of the Braves has been hit hard since pitching well in his Atlanta debut and we are not sold on Steven Wright of the Red Sox, so go ‘over’ as your MLB pick in Boston.

MLB Record: 9-13-1, -3.02

There could be a relatively high scoring game in Beantown Wednesday night when Bud Norris and the Atlanta Braves (4-16, 3-4 away) this time pay a visit to fellow right-hander Steven Wright and the Boston Red Sox (11-9, 4-6 home) at Fenway Park in Boston, MA as the venue shifts in this four-game home-and-home series at 7:10 ET in a game available on NESN.

The posted total at BetOnline is 8½ for this contest with the current MLB odds boards on the ‘over’ set at -110.

 

Red Sox Won Twice in Atlanta
This series opened in Atlanta where the Red Sox did what they had to do by winning both games, struggling a bit while winning the opener 1-0 on a late home run by Jackie Bradley, Jr. and then winning much more decisively 11-4 last night. Now the scenery shifts to Boston tonight and tomorrow, and as you would expect the Red Sox opened up as prohibitive favorites here at home for this game.

The Red Sox were a popular preseason choice to go from “worst to first” after finishing in last place in the American League East last year, but for that to happen they will have to improve on their 4.48 team ERA to compliment their usually fine offense that is fifth in the Major Leagues in runs scored with 5.10 per game and third in batting at .276.

The Braves meanwhile have been the worst MLB picks in the majors at 4-16, which is not surprising considering most preseason forecasts had Atlanta battling Philadelphia for the worst record in the National League.

 

Norris Regressed After Promising 2016 Debut
The Braves had holes all over the roster entering this season, with Freddie Freeman being the only reliable offensive threat and Julio Teheran being the only reliable starting pitcher, so the Braves are in rebuilding mode right now and do not expect to improve all that much the rest of the season. They did add a veteran serviceable starter in Norris to help man the fort, but he has not been what Atlanta expected as of yet.

Yes, Norris had a decent debut in an Atlanta uniform recording a Quality Start vs. the first-place Washington Nationals allowing three runs in seven innings, but he has been brutal in three starts since then, allowing a total of 13 earned runs on 21 hits plus seven walks while lasting only 14.1 innings, going beyond five innings only once and that was by just one out. He needed 88 pitches to go four innings vs. the Mets Friday, allowing five runs on five hits and two walks.

We have always felt that Norris is a bit overrated as we are talking about a pitcher that now has a career 4.49 ERA, 4.24 FIP and a rather high walk rate of 3.54 per nine innings while posting just a 57-71 record, and he was lit up by the Red Sox for five runs on seven hits in just 5.2 innings the last time he faced them last season as a member of the Orioles. As we alluded to earlier, this Boston offense is not any easier to pitch to.

Wright Doing it with Smoke and Mirrors?
Wright has been a pleasant surprise for the Red Sox with his 1.40 ERA through three starts covering 19.1 outings, even if he was the unlucky loser in his first two outings both vs. Toronto before finally breaking through for a win vs. the Astros last time out allowing just one unearned run on four hits in 6.2 innings, although he did issue five walks.

However, do not expect that ERA to stay where it is for the 31-year-old, who may rue not getting more wins during his hot early season form. That is because we only see one direction to go for a pitcher that even at this moment owns a 3.56 FIP and 4.16 xFIP, as it is never a good sign for those sabremetric statistics to exceed the ERA by that much.

Remember also that while Wright has been around for a while, most of his toiling has come in the minor leagues as he has made just 29 lifetime Major League appearances, posting a nondescript 4.30 FIP and 4.36 xFIP over those starts in the big leagues. He also has a high-ish career walk rate of 3.42 per nine innings lifetime, and the five walks last time out raised that figure to 3.72 so far this season.

 

Trending the ‘over’
Finally, the ‘over’ is now 20-7-1 in the Braves’ last 28 road games including 19-6-1 in their last 26 road games vs. right-handed starters. The ‘over’ is also 19-7 in the Red Sox last 26 games vs. teams with a winning percentage below .400 as well as 7-3-1 in their last 11 interleague games.

We do not expect Norris to suddenly regain his form now vs. the Red Sox offense while we do expect some regression to kick in for Wright, so look for those ‘over’ patterns to continue when Atlanta visits Boston in interleague play on Wednesday.

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Free MLB Pick: ‘Over’ 8½ (-110)
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline