Braves vs. Reds MLB Pick: Play the Total on Tonight's Series Opener

David Lawrence

Monday, May 11, 2015 11:39 AM GMT

Braves and Reds are both in need of a positive second half of the month so that they can enter the middle 3rd of the season with hopes that they can get something done. Find inside our free MLB pick.

The Atlanta Braves Can Win Because…
They have a strong starting pitcher on the mound, one who was solid the last time he faced Cincinnati. Shelby Miller came over to the Braves in the offseason as part of the trade which sent Jason Heyward to St. Louis. He has started the 2015 season well in his new home. He is 4-1 with a 1.66 ERA so far. He is coming off a complete-game shutout of the Philadelphia Phillies in his most recent start on May 5. Miller also pitched fairly well against Cincinnati on April 30. He limited the Reds to two earned runs on just six hits in seven innings. He got caught by the home-run ball, but didn’t give up any big innings. He is in good position to contain Cincinnati’s bats in this game. Atlanta is not getting blown out; the Braves lost a number of close decisions over the weekend against the Washington Nationals, who were the preseason favorite to win the National League. This team just needs small improvements in offensive production to supplement Miller and get to where it wants to be.

One extra detail to keep in mind is that Miller pitched a lot against Cincinnati in previous seasons when he was with the Cardinals, in the same division as the Reds. He knows these hitters extremely well and should be able to figure out how to get Cincinnati’s batting order off balance.

 

The Cincinnati Reds Can Win Because…
Their starting pitcher is almost as good as Miller this season, with the key difference being that he’s better than Miller in head-to-head competition between these teams this season. Mike Leake is the Reds’ starter for this game. He has a strong 2.47 ERA, which is certainly good enough to place him in the upper tier of National League starting pitchers so far this season, which is why the Reds are placed as MLB odds home favorite for this game. But will they get the job done against Atlanta? Leake was masterful in a recent start on April 30. He went into Atlanta and shut out the Braves in eight dominant innings, giving up only two hits. He walked two hitters, a couple of very brief blips on the stat sheet. In general, Atlanta hitters didn’t know how to approach him. Having this kind of start under your belt should give Leake a great deal of confidence, and it should enable the Reds to feel comfortable as they come home after a weekend series against the Chicago White Sox. Atlanta just lost a bunch of close games against Washington, and when teams are in the middle of a road trip, going from one road city to another, they can very easily lose heart. Cincinnati might be getting the Braves at the right time.

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Outlook
Both pitchers are strong in this setup. Leake’s mastery of the Braves has him 4-2 against them with a 2.03 ERA. And with Miller posting a 3.24 ERA against the Reds in seven starts, the under figures to be a solid choice for your MLB picks here.

MLB Pick: Under at GTBets