Two teams stuggling to stay relevant in their respective playoff races meet as the Braves and Orioles begin a three-game series in Crabtown. Baltimore has been very good at home this season, while Atlanta is a troubled road outfit, but tonight's line seems a bit out of whack.
Braves-Orioles Monday Betting Odds
Most of Monday's MLB betting market opened Baltimore and Kevin Gausman at around -160 over
Atlanta and lefty Alex Wood, then bumped the O's a dime and more. As of this writing the best line we could find on Baltimore was the -170 offered at BetOnline, while Atlanta was getting +170 at 5Dimes. Also, every book we sampled was listing a total of 7.5 runs on tonight’s game, with most of the grease leaning toward the OVER.
Baltimore just took two of three games at Tampa over the weekend, winning Sunday's series rubber match 5-2. So the Orioles are 4-5 since the All-Star break.
At 48-49 Baltimore trails the first-place Yankees by seven games in the AL East, but sits just 3.5 games back of Minnesota in the battle for the second American League wild-card spot.
Atlanta, meanwhile, just dropped two of three games at St. Louis over the weekend, avoiding the sweep with a 3-2 victory Sunday. So the Braves are also 4-5 since the All-Star break, and 7-1-1 on the UNDERS, as their recent games have trended low-scoring.
At 46-52 Atlanta trails first-place Washington by 6.5 games in the NL East, and sits eight games back in the fight for the second National League wild-card slot.
Venue-wise, the Orioles are 27-18 at home this season, while the Braves are 20-32 on the road.
These teams haven't met since 2012, when the O's took two of three games from the Braves down at Turner Field.
Monday's Pitching Match-Up
Gausman (1-2, 5.18) is just one-for-four on quality starts since joining the Baltimore rotation a month ago. In his first two starts, following eight appearances in relief, Gausman held Toronto and Texas, two of the better lineups in baseball, to two runs through 11 1/3 innings. But in his last two start against Minnesota and the Yankees, separated by a short stint down in Triple-A, he's been touched for 11 earned runs through 9 2/3 innings. On the season Gausman has allowed 32 hits through 33 innings, with 11 walks and 29 strikeouts.
Baltimore is 1-3 in Gausman's starts, and yet the UNDERS have also gone 3-1, because the Orioles have scored a total of 11 runs through his four starts.
Wood (7-6, 3.78) is just six-for-19 on quality starts this season, and 0 for his last three. Last Tuesday he gave up three runs in 6 2/3 innings against the Dodgers (which in our book is not a quality start because it's a 4.05 ERA), and over his last three outings he's allowed 14 runs through 18 1/3 innings. For the season Wood has given up 129 hits through 112 innings, walked 34 and struck out 83.
The Braves are 8-11 in Wood's starts, with the totals leaning OVER by a 9-7 margin.
Neither of these pitchers has ever started against tonight's opponents, which could give them an advantage on the hitters tonight, at least for the first couple of times through the lineup.
Monday's Batting Splits
Atlanta ranks 12th in the Majors this season against right-handed pitching with a .258 team batting average, and 13th with a .319 team on-base percentage.
Baltimore, meanwhile, ranks ninth against left-handed pitching with a .258 batting average but just 23rd in team OBP at .304.
Ballpark Totals Factor
Games played at Camden Yards this season are 26-20 on the UNDERS, even though they're averaging 8.9 runs per.
Atlanta is without closer Jason Grilli, who's gone for the season with a torn Achilles. In his place Jim Johnson, who saved 101 games for the Orioles back in 2012-13, has gone four-for-four on save opportunities. But the Braves got some good news over the weekend with the return of 1B Freddie Freeman.
Braves-Orioles Monday Free Picks
We'll call the pitching match-up a wash, as neither starter inspires much betting confidence. Also, while Atlanta owns a short edge with the sticks (runs per game not withstanding), Baltimore owns the better bullpen. So in considering tonight's betting line we believe the value resides with the Braves. Also, the total on this game seems about a run too low, so we like the OVER as our MLB pick.