So, LA will be looking to continue its recent good play, while Atlanta will try to shake off some recent doldrums, when the two teams meet for a three-game series at Turner Field this weekend, beginning with a series opener Friday night (7:30 pm ET).
Sunday's Game Three
By: Ron Patrick
Atlanta has taken the first two games of this series, after rallying for three runs in the bottom of the eighth Saturday for a 3-1 victory. The Braves won as -160 favorites Saturday, and the game stayed UNDER its total of 7.5.
The LA bullpen has allowed eight runs in less than four innings of work in this series, and gave up a pair of homers Saturday to cough up a 1-0 lead.
So the Braves, at 24-18, will shoot for a sweep of the 17-24 Dodgers when the teams meet for the series finale Sunday at Turner Field (1:35 pm ET, TBS).
Sunday’s Betting Odds
As of Sunday AM most books were listing Atlanta and Mike Minor at around -190 betting odds over LA with Matt Magill.
Sunday’s Pitching Match-Up
Minor (5-2, 2.75) is five-for-eight on quality starts this season, and the Braves are 5-3 in games he’s started. Most recently Minor held the Diamondbacks to one run through 6 2/3 innings, and over his last three starts he’s given up five ER through 20 2/3 innings.
For the season Minor has allowed just 41 hits through 52 1/3 innings, walked 10 and struck out 42.
Last year Minor started twice against the Dodgers, allowing four ER and 13 hits through 13 innings. Atlanta split those two games.
Magill (0-0, 6.92), a righty, is one-for-three on quality starts this year, but the Dodgers are 0-3 for him. Last time out he gave up three runs in five innings vs. the Marlins, and for the season he’s allowed 10 ER in 13 innings, walked 10 and struck out 11.
Three weeks ago Magill made his ML debut by holding the Brewers to two runs through 6 2/3 innings, but LA lost that game 6-4.
This Spring at Albuquerque Magill put up a 2.84 ERA through four starts, but the 14 walks in 19 innings is a bit disconcerting.
This will be Magill’s first-ever start vs. Atlanta.
Our Take on Sunday’s Game
Minor has been the Braves’ best starting pitcher for the last half-season or so, while Magill has struggled a bit his last two times out. So Atlanta’s gets a firm checkmark in the match-up between starting pitchers.
We won with Atlanta Friday and Saturday, and see no reason to get off that bandwagon now. But we also believe that price on Minor and the Braves is a bit too much. So we’ll gamble and take Atlanta on the run line for our free MLB pick for Sunday.
Pick: Take Atlanta -1.5 runs at the run line price of +116 for your sports picks.
Saturday's Game Two
By: Ron Patrick
Atlanta took the opener of this series Friday night 8-5, with help from a sixth-inning grand slam from Justin Upton, his 14th homer of this young season.
The Braves won as –125 favorites on the MLB betting odds, and the game cruised OVER its total of seven.
So Atlanta now owns a half-game lead in the NL East, while LA is six games back in the NL West, as the teams head into Game 2 of this series Saturday night (7:10 pm ET).
Saturday’s Betting Lines
As of Saturday AM most books we consulted were listing Atlanta with Kris Medlen at around -165 for Saturday’s game, with LA and Chris Capuano getting around +155.
Saturday’s Pitching Match-Up
Medlen (1-5, 3.44) is four-for-eight on quality starts this season. Last time out he gave up five runs (three earned) and eight hits, including three homers, in 5 1/3 innings against the Giants, and over his last three starts he’s allowed eight ER through 19 1/3 innings.
On the season Medlen has permitted 51 hits in 49 2/3 innings, walked 19 and struck out 33.
Medlen hasn’t started against the Dodgers since 2010.
Atlanta is only 2-6 in Medlen’s starts this season, but the totals have gone 3-5.
Capuano (1-2, 6.60) is one-for-three on quality starts this season, and while he is coming off his best outing of the year, giving up one run through six innings last Sunday, it came against the woeful Miami Marlins.
In his two starts previous to that Capuano had allowed 10 ER in just six innings against the Padres and Diamondbacks.
For the season Capuano has allowed 11 ER and 20 hits in 15 innings.
Last year, Capuano started twice against Atlanta and didn’t fare too badly, giving up four ER and 11 hits through 14 1/3 innings.
Our Take on Saturday’s Game
The Braves are as healthy as they’ve been this season, and some of that helped Friday night. Also, we give the edge in the pitching match-up to Medlen. So despite a price that seems a little steep we’ll add Atlanta to our list of free MLB picks for Saturday.
Free Pick: Take the Braves at the -160 offered at Will Hill.
By: Ron Patrick
Let's see; how might we profit with some winning MLB picks on the happenings down in the ATL this weekend?
Friday's Dodgers-Braves Betting Odds
In early betting on Friday's game most books were listing Atlanta with Paul Maholm at around -140 over LA with Hyun-Jin Ryu, with the total proffered at seven.
Also, TheGreek was listing the Braves at -175 MLB betting odds to win this series, with the Dodgers getting +155.
Dodgers-Braves Series Set-Up
LA just took two of three games at home from Washington, winning a rubber match Wednesday 3-1. So since suffering through an eight-game losing streak the Dodgers have won four of their last five games, thanks mostly to some solid pitching.
LA got good news when SP Zack Greinke, who had been on the DL because of that broken collarbone suffered in that brawl against San Diego a while back, looked good in his return Wednesday, throwing five-plus innings in picking up the win.
So through Wednesday's play LA sat at 17-22 and in last place in the NL West, 5.5 games behind first-place San Francisco.
Still, the Dodgers have been held to three runs or fewer in 25 of their first 39 games, including their last three.
Atlanta, meanwhile, started this season by winning 13 of its first 15 games, but has gone 9-16 since. The Braves just dropped two of three games in Arizona, losing Wednesday 5-3 to complete a 4-6 road trip.
So through Wednesday Atlanta sat at 22-18 but still owned a one-game lead over Washington in the NL East.
The Braves have also had some problems scoring runs, at least lately, getting held to three runs or fewer in five of their last six games.
Both these teams had Thursday off.
These teams split six games last year, each winning a series on the others' home field. Also, the totals went 1-5 in this series last season, as the games averaged exactly seven runs per.
Friday's Pitching Match-Up
Maholm (4-4, 3.94) got off to a super start to this season, not allowing a run until his fourth start. Since then, though, he's been knocked around a couple of times. Last time out Maholm got clipped for six runs in 4 1/3 innings by the Giants, and over his last three starts he's allowed 10 ER through 18 innings.
For the season Maholm has permitted 40 hits and 18 walks through 48 innings, with 41 strikeouts. Atlanta is 4-4 in Maholm's starts.
Last year, pitching as a Cub, Maholm started once against LA and got a win, giving up one run and three hits through six innings of a 5-4 Chicago victory.
The Dodgers are 6-7 vs. lefty starters this year.
Ryu, through his first eight career starts in the Majors, has come up with five of what we'd call “quality” outings. He's also gone at least six but never more than seven innings in each of his eight starts. Last time out the South Korean lefty held the Marlins to one run through 6 2/3 innings, and over his last three starts he's allowed seven ER and 16 hits through 18 2/3 innings.
For the season Ryu has given up fewer hits, 46, than innings pitched, 50 1/3, walked 15 and struck out 51. The Dodgers, a team that's five games under .500 overall, are 5-3 in Ryu's starts.
This will be Ryu's first-ever appearance against Atlanta.
The Braves are 9-5 this season vs. left-handed starters.
These two pitchers are a combined 10-5 on the OVER/UNDERS this season, mainly because the totals on their starts have been pretty low.
As for the bullpens in this series, Atlanta's leads the Majors with a 2.77 ERA and has converted 11 of 15 save opportunities.
LA's pen, meanwhile, ranks 25th with a 4.34 ERA, and is 11-for-16 in save opps.
Dodgers-Braves Betting Trends
Somehow, despite offensive struggles, these two teams are a combined 45-30 on the OVER/UNDERS this season.
The totals are 7-7 in games played at Turner Field this season, even though Atlanta home games have averaged only 7.3 runs per.
Dodgers-Braves Injury Report
LA is still playing without SS Hanley Ramirez, who's on the DL with a bad hammy.
Atlanta, on the other hand, just recently got back C Brian McCann, and they're hoping to activate OF Jason Heyward, who's been doing some rehab time in the Minors coming back from an appendectomy, for this weekend's series.
Our Take on Friday's Game
This is a tough one; Maholm has run a bit hot-'n-cold this season, but he's backed up by one of the best pens in baseball. Meanwhile, we love what we've seen from Ryu, but his backing group rates as “seriously iffy.” The Braves recently got back McCann, and now they might get Heyward back. And a healthy Atlanta lineup will win games. So we'll add the Braves to our list of free MLB picks for Friday.
Pick: Take Atlanta at the -140 offered at Bet 365 Sportsbook.
Baseball bettors should check back at this page for updated pitching match-ups and more free picks as this series progresses.