Focus MLB Picks on Dodgers vs. Braves Total Monday

David Lawrence

Monday, July 20, 2015 12:27 PM GMT

Free MLB picks for tonight's matchup between the LA Dodgers and the Atlanta Braves. Find out why we look to the total, as oddsmakers might have set the bar a bit too high.

The Los Angeles Dodgers have two of the hottest starting pitchers in Major League Baseball right now, but Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke will both miss this upcoming three-game series against the Atlanta Braves. It’s a chance for the Braves to get back into the wild card race in the National League after a really bad stretch that began before the All-Star break. We take a look at the MLB odds for this matchup and decide where our best chances lie.

 

Momentum
The Dodgers aren’t surging, but they are quietly winning more games than they’re losing. The Dodgers were this close to losing a series at home to the Milwaukee Brewers just before the All-Star break, but a two-run homer by Adrian Gonzalez in the bottom of the eighth lifted Los Angeles to a come-from-behind victory in that rubber game of the series. After the All-Star break, the Dodgers lost the first game of their three-game set in Washington, but won the next two games to take the series. Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke both pitched eight shutout innings, Kershaw on Saturday and Greinke on Sunday. The two pitchers have combined to give up only one earned run in their last 47 innings of work combined. That’s staggering, and it’s not only winning games for the Dodgers; it’s keeping the bullpen fresh, which matters as we move toward August and the grind of the season. The Dodgers are only 3.5 games ahead of San Francisco in the National League West, but they’re moving in the right direction.

The Braves were just one game under .500 and very much in the wild card race. Then they lost four out of four games to the Colorado Rockies just before the All-Star break and lost two out of three to the Chicago Cubs coming out of the break this past weekend. The problem is all offense for the Braves. Atlanta has scored more than three runs in only one of its past seven games, and it has not scored more than four runs in any of those seven games. Atlanta is 1-6 in that stretch. This team badly needs a few big hits to get the rest of the dugout attuned to the idea that players can come through in big situations. It’s been a long time since Atlanta hitters have done that regularly.

 

Pitching Matchup
With this pitching matchup, it’s very hard to tell which team will have the edge. The Dodgers are going with former Brave Brandon Beachy. He’s made only one start in 2015, on July 11 against Milwaukee. The results were not good. Beachy gave up three runs in four innings. It’s early on the road back from injury, but Beachy can’t be counted on to deliver here. The Braves go with Matt Wisler, who has just a 3.10 ERA but has made only five starts this season, and not one since July 11, before the break. Wisler has a 1.31 WHIP, and he did give up only two runs in six innings in that last start on July 11. He did pitch well in Coors Field, though, which is hard to do.

 

What’s The Pick?
When setting up your MLB picks, focusing on the pitching matchup will not tell you a whole lot, so we’ll have to go with how the teams are playing. The Dodgers are the better team here but trusting Beachy on the road seems like a dicey scenario. And the Dodgers haven’t seen Wisler before, so that could be an advantage to the Braves. Instead, I’ll bet the under. Even though it’s two questionable pitchers, the Dodgers haven’t gone over eight – today’s total – in eight straight games while the Braves haven’t gone over that number in four of their last five.

Pick: Under at The Greek