Fresh off a sweep of the Marlins on the road, the Braves make their home debut this weekend, starting with Friday's opener against Jonathon Niese and the Mets. Let's run over the MLB odds for this one.
The Braves are actually underdogs for tonight's game, as they're quoted at +105 to get the straight up victory. That means the Mets are short -115 favorites on the MLB Odds.
The O/U is at seven runs right now, and it looks like both the OVER and UNDER are getting even action, with Eric Stults and Jonathon Niese set to try to one up each other on the mound.
Atlanta Braves (Stults)
What a start it's been for the Braves. They are widely expected to be one of the worst teams in baseball after offloading a lot of their best talent, but you wouldn't figure that following their hot start, which saw them sweep the Marlins in Miami earlier this week.
Atlanta wrapped up the sweep by shutting out the Marlins in a 2-0 victory, with Shelby Miller's excellent five innings setting the tone for the road team. He surrendered just four hits and struck out four with two walks, and in the process he got his Atlanta career off to the perfect start. A.J. Pierzynski provided all of the offense for the Braves, hitting a two-run homer in the seventh inning. That's all the Braves would end up needing.
We'll have to see Eric Stults can match that showing tonight. For the Padres last season, Stults went 8-17 with a 4.30 ERA, so he didn't have the best of 2014s, but he also got little run support from the awful San Diego offense throughout the year. Unfortunately for the left hander, it's not going to be much better with Atlanta.
New York Mets (Niese)
The Mets have also had a successful start to their season, as they took two of three on the road in Washington. Matt Harvey returned in style in the finale yesterday, tossing six scoreless innings while striking out nine, and the Mets were able to chase Stephen Strasburg out of the game en route to a 6-3 victory.
David Wright, Michael Cuddyer and Travis d'Arnaud all hit big days at the plate against Strasburg, and will look to inflict similar damage on Stults tonight. For New York, it's Jonathon Niese's turn in the rotation. The left hander went 9-11 with a solid 3.40 ERA, and he sported a nice 2.61 ERA in three matchups with Atlanta last season. Clearly, he feels comfortable going up against these Braves, which may explain why the MLB betting odds are what they are.
We've also seen Niese get off to fast starts, especially last season. He had a 2.20 ERA in five April starts, so we'll be eager to see if he's able to be effective right from the beginnning in 2015 as well. The Braves' batting order isn't exactly anything to fear either, so the situation sets up nicely.
Folks, there's a reason the Mets are favored here. Many are going to be suckered in by getting a plus price on the Braves, who are still unbeaten this season, thinking that it will be easy money.
However, we have a lot more faith in Niese than we do Stults, and we also like New York's bats more too, despite Atlanta's solid start to the 2015 campaign.
We think the Mets will come out very focused at the plate tonight, and it's also hard to ignore Niese's solid showings against the Braves last season. He knows how to pitch against this team and we expect him to be locked in and guide New York to a second straight victory, which would put them at 3-1 on the year. Confidently back the Mets with your MLB picks.
MLB Pick: New York Mets -115 at Bookmaker.