Free MLB Picks: Braves vs. Marlins

Jeff Grant

Monday, April 8, 2013 12:43 PM GMT

The Atlanta Braves dominated the Miami Marlins during last year’s season series, as the two teams prepare to open up a three-game series at Marlins Park Monday night.


Let’s take a closer look at the MLB betting odds for this National League East affair, with the opening pitch scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET.

Good start

Atlanta won five of six games in its season-opening homestand, including a 5-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs as minus-141 favorites Sunday afternoon, while going UNDER the posted total of seven. 

The Braves are 30-25 in April the last two-plus seasons, with the OVER going 29-23-3 in that situation.

Offensive woes

Miami has scored just 14 runs in its first six games, which has led directly to a disappointing 1-5 record to open up the 2013 MLB season, including a 4-3 setback to the New York Mets as plus-120 road underdogs Sunday.

The Marlins have produced a respectable .251 batting average thus far, which ranks 16th in the majors, but they’ve gone just 10-for-50 (.180) with runners in scoring position.

Series domination

I’m not really interested in laying the type of price that the Braves are being offered by most online sportsbooks, but it’s hard to ignore that they won 14 of 18 meetings with the Marlins a season ago—outscoring them by a 93-39 margin.

Atlanta is 5-3 (+35) as a road favorite of minus-150 to minus-175 the last two-plus seasons.

Both starting pitchers enjoyed a successful spring

Braves starting pitcher Paul Maholm (1-0, 0.00 ERA) earned a 9-2 home victory over the Phillies last Wednesday, as he allowed just six hits over 5.2 shutout innings, while issuing just a single walk and collecting six strikeouts. 

The left-hander carried over his strong performance from Spring Training, as he finished with a 4-1 record and 1.53 ERA in seven outings in Grapefruit League play.

Braves starting pitcher Kevin Slowey (0-1, 1.69 ERA) was handed a 3-0 road loss by the Washington Nationals in his first start, as he surrendered just a single earned run in 5.1 frames.

The right-hander is 1-1 with a 5.91 ERA in two career starts versus the Braves, with his last such outing coming on June 13, 2010.  Slowey owns a 25-13 career mark at home in 51 games (49 starts) with a 4.29 ERA.

[gameodds]3/224273/43/us[/gameodds]

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers play the total as one of their MLB picks Monday night, as the Marlins are hitting .333 versus left-handed pitching this season, while their bullpen ranks last in the majors with a 8.10 ERA.

MLB Pick:  Over 7.5 at Bookmaker