Give a Little Love to the Braves over the Padres in Game 1

Willie Bee

Friday, August 1, 2014 12:40 PM GMT

After getting broomed in Los Angeles by the Dodgers this week, the Atlanta Braves continue their western swing with a weekend MLB odds series in San Diego against the Padres.

What was a lead at the top of the National League Wild Card race to begin the week has disappeared for the Atlanta Braves. Atlanta is now third in that pecking order, and with a tough homestand on the horizon, the Braves know they need to quickly get back into form with the opportunity to do just that in a 3-game series against the San Diego Padres.

The squads crank things up with a 10:10 PM (ET) start at Petco Park, the initial mound clash pitting a pair of lefties who faced off against each other five days ago in Atlanta. Mike Minor answers the call for Fredi Gonzalez's gang while Eric Stults toils for Bud Black & Company.

SBR's live MLB odds have the Braves around -130 road chalk for Game 1, scoreboard bettors faced with a decision on a 7 run total that leans to the 'under' at many sportsbooks.

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Clubs Collide For 2nd-Straight Weekend
Getting swept in Los Angeles by the Dodgers was not how Atlanta (58-51, -2.3 units, 44-59-6 O/U/P) envisioned starting this 8-game road trip on the West Coast, but that is what happened to the Braves the last few days. They have to make up for that in San Diego and early next week in Seattle before returning home to face three playoff contenders in the Nationals, Dodgers (again) and Athletics.

San Diego (48-60, -13.6 units, 36-67-5 O/U/P) is treading water in the middle of the NL West pack after taking two of three from the Cardinals to begin this homestand. The Padres rank dead last in all of baseball scoring just 3.15 runs per game, more than half a run lower than the next team, and their .620 team OPS is well off the MLB average(.705).

It's the second get-together of the season for the clubs, the first taking place last weekend in Atlanta where the Braves and Padres played a 4-game wraparound series. Atlanta won three of the contests, 'over' bettors also picking up the cash three times.

San Diego took last season's series, five games to one, sweeping the Braves at Petco Park for the first time since 2005, a year after it opened. The totals split 1-1 with a push, those numbers closing in the 7-8 run range.

 

Minor Making 1st Start Of Career At Petco
Atlanta broke last Sunday's duel between Minor and Stults wide open with a 6-run third, Chris Johnson's 2-run double the key blow with two outs. Stults allowed six hits in his six innings of work, all in that one frame, Minor also throwing six and giving up three runs, including a pair of solo blasts.

Minor had struggled in his previous two assignments, allowing six runs in back-to-back starts vs. the Cubs and Marlins in a combined nine innings. Friday will mark his first appearance at Petco, and he is 2-1 with a 4.95 ERA in seven road starts this year.

The loss to the Braves last weekend was the third straight start by Stults that went into San Diego's 'L' column, and ninth in the last 10. The 34-year-old is 3-4 at home in nine tries this campaign, towing a 4.50 Petco Park ERA into this contest.

Gorgeous weather is expected for the weekend, leaving the teams and baseball bettors more time to concentrate on other things. A few clouds will be in the sky for Friday's opener, but nothing that will bring rain, the thermometer in the mid-70s for first pitch and a light westerly breeze (left to right).

There isn't anything about this matchup that sticks out and screams to play it one way or another with my free pick. Neither offense is a huge threat to bust loose with some crooked numbers, but San Diego's has been particularly quiet when Stults is on the hill. Let's give a little love to Atlanta in Game 1.

MLB Pick: Braves -130

Season: 94-94 (-0.30)