Braves and Blue Jays to stay ‘under’ Total is the MLB Pick

LT Profits Sports Group

Friday, April 17, 2015 2:12 PM UTC

Friday, Apr. 17, 2015 2:12 PM UTC

Each day the LT Profits Sports Group seeks out a total that simply does not add up and therefore offers the most value that day. Here is their Total Value Play of the Day for Friday.


Do not expect a plethora of runs north of the border in Friday night interleague action when Julio Teheran and the Atlanta Braves (6-3, 3-0 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander Drew Hutchison and the Toronto Blue Jays (5-5, 1-3 home) in the first game of a three-game weekend series from the Rogers Centre in Toronto, ON Canada at 7:07 ET in a game available on FOX Sports - South.

The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 8 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -113.

Both Teams in Batting Slumps
The Blue Jays remain home after losing three out of four games here to the Tampa Bay Rays, no thanks to a sudden hitting slump that saw them score two runs or less in all three losses, much to our chagrin after backing Toronto in the series finale last night. Granted the Blue Jays are still fifth in the majors in scoring with 5.50 runs per game, but that has not been apparent this week and their team batting average is down to .234 overall.

The Braves were the winning MLB picks in six of their first seven games this year but they now hit the road after losing the last two games at home to the Miami Marlins while scoring exactly two runs in each game with the four total runs all coming on solo home runs, meaning the offense is not manufacturing any runs right now. Thus the Atlanta team batting average is just a smidgeon ahead of Toronto at a disappointing .236 on the season.

Teheran Now the Atlanta Ace
This was supposed to be a down year for the Braves as they traded away a lot of offense in exchange for some promising young players and draft picks, which bodes very well for their future while probably paying a temporary price this season. Thus the 6-1 start was a bit surprising although the poor team batting average is more in line with what was expected and makes that hot start look rather fluky.

Then again, the hot start was mostly attributable to very good pitching, and that is an area where the Braves remain strong headed by the 24-year-old Teheran, who is now regarded as the ace of the staff and is 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA in two starts so far, making the weak Atlanta offense a bit moot.

Teheran might be a Cy Young candidate if he pitched for a better hitting team, as demonstrated by finishing just 14-13 last season despite a 2.89 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and a nice ratio of 186 strikeouts vs. 51 walks.

He now gets a chance to continue his fine start vs. an interleague opponent that is not familiar with him, and vs. an offense that is struggling as mentioned earlier. On top of the Blue Jays not getting much from Jose Bautista (.152 for the season) and Edwin Encarnacion (.184), who are a combined 1-for-25 over the last three games, Toronto could also be without Jose Reyes after he suffered an oblique injury last night, further helping Teheran’s cause.

Hutchison Better than His Last Start
The Blue Jays need Hutchison to step up on the back end of the starting rotation this year and he had a promising 2015 debut allowing just one run and three hits in six inning while getting the win over the New York Yankees. However he was then roughed up for seven earned runs in just 4.1 innings by the Baltimore Orioles in his second start on Sunday, luckily escaping with a no-decision.

So which is the real Hutchison and which one will show up tonight? Well, we think it is somewhere in between but closer to the good pitcher we saw in his firs start. Hutchison was highly regarded when he was first drafted before having his career temporarily derailed by Tommy John surgery which forced him to miss the 2103 season.

He then went just 11-13 with a 4.48 ERA in his comeback season last year, but he did show some glimpses of greatness and did have a nice 184 strikeouts in 184.2 innings vs. only 60 walks, so his arm is still “live” and he could have a nice career once he gains some consistency. And remember part of his struggles last year was still due to working out some kinks, and he would not be the first pitcher to blossom two years after the Tommy John procedure.

And he too is facing an unfamiliar opponent with a struggling offense and he could get off to a quick start tonight considering the top two spots in the Atlanta batting order are batting a collective .167 this young season.

Pitchers Trending ‘under’
Teheran is getting an extra day of rest here going on five days’ rest instead of the traditional four, and he has usually been very strong in this situation with the ‘under’ going 17-4 in the last 21 occurrences. The ‘under’ is also 4-0-1 in Teheran’s last five road starts, as well as 4-1 in Hutchison’s last five home starts.

Look for more of the same here with Atlanta and Toronto going ‘under’ north of the border on Friday.

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MLB Pick: Braves, Blue Jays ‘under’ 8 (-113)

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