The Braves and Miami Marlins might be headed in different directions this season, after Atlanta's 2-1 victory in Miami Monday. Can the Bravos cash in as an MLB odds underdog again Tuesday?
Tuesday's Betting Odds
Most books we checked with opened Tuesday's game with Miami and newcomer Mat Latos favored by around -130 over Atlanta and AlexWood, with a total of seven runs. In the early betting most shops then dropped the Marlins to around -120.
Atlanta took the opener of this series Monday 2-1, cashing in as a +135 underdog. Julio Teheran came up with a quality start, allowing just one run through six-plus innings, and the Braves bullpen fashioned three perfect innings, escaping a bases-loaded, no-out situation in the bottom of the seventh, to close out the victory.
Miami starter Henderson Alvarez gave up just two runs through seven innings, but got no help from the Marlins bats.
Miami slugger Giancarlo Stanton played his first game since that horrific beaning last September, and went one-for-four at the plate.
Atlanta took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first with help from a Henderson balk. Later, the Marlins had two runners thrown out on the base-paths.
Jason Grilli, the new closer for the Braves after the trade of Craig Kimbrel, threw a perfect ninth for the save.
Monday's game played UNDER its total of seven runs, as the teams combined for just two extra-base hits, both doubles.
Big-picture, Atlanta is in complete revamp mode. The Braves went 79-83 last year, and have made massive personnel changes since. At the moment some books are offering odds of 40/1 on Atlanta winning the NL East this season.
Miami, meanwhile, is supposed to be on the improve. Two years ago the Marlins lost 100 games; last year they went 77-85. With the addition of 2B Dee Gordon and Latos Miami hopes to contend for playoff spot this season. MLB futures bettors can get the Marlins at around +650 to win the NL East this season.
Latos will be making his first start for his new team, after coming over in a trade from Cincinnati over the off-season. Latos went 5-5 with a 3.25 ERA for the Reds last year, missing time with a knee injury.
By our tough accounting Latos went nine-for-16 on quality starts last season for Cincinnati. He gave up 92 hits in 102 innings, walked 26 and struck out 74. Cincy only went 6-10 in Latos' starts last season, but not all that was his fault. The Reds struggled offensively all season, missing key bats throughout.
Also, the MLB odds totals leaned toward the UNDERS in Latos' starts last year by an 8-6-2 margin.
Latos started once against the Braves last year, holding them to one run through six innings of a 3-1 Reds loss in August.
Wood is coming off a fine 2014 campaign, in which he blossomed to go 11-11 with a 2.78 ERA, going 18-for-24 in quality starts, including his last 11 starts in a row. He gave up fewer hits, 151, than innings pitched, 172, walked 45 and struck out 170.
Atlanta only went 10-14 in Wood's starts last year, but little of that was his fault.
Also, the totals trended toward the UNDERS in Wood's starts last season by a 15-6-3 margin.
Wood started four times against Miami last year; three of those outings went very well, while one did not. Overall Wood gave up 10 earned runs in 29 1/3 innings against the Marlins last season, walking just three while striking out 31. The Braves split those two games.
Miami took the season series from Atlanta last year 10 games to nine. Also, the totals on those games leaned toward the UNDERS by a 10-6-3 margin.
Miami finished eight games under .500 overall last season, but went 20-16 against left-handed starters.
Atlanta went 60-68 against right-handers last season.
Free Braves-Marlins Pick
We're not sure who's going to win this game, but we get the feeling that, just like Monday, runs might be hard to come by. So we'll go with the UNDER for our Tuesday night MLB picks.
Free MLB Pick: Miami/Atlanta UNDER seven runs at Pinnacle