Neither team has been great as of late. Which way will we go with our free MLB picks for this series?
Sunday's Rubber Match
Atlanta evened this series with a come-from-behind 6-5 victory Saturday evening, tallying two runs in the bottom of the ninth to erase a 5-4 deficit.
We thought we might have a winner on our free MLB pick for Saturday with the Giants at a fat price of +180, until Sergio Romo blew the save.
Saturday's game also played OVER its total of seven.
So the teams will play a series rubber match on national TV Sunday night (8:05 pm ET, ESPN).
Sunday's Betting Odds
Most books we looked at Sunday morning opened Atlanta and Julio Teheran at around -150 over San Francisco and Tim Lincecum, with a total of eight runs. Most books then bumped the Braves to -160 or so, and cut the total to 7.5.
Sunday's Pitching Match-Up
Teheran (4-3, 3.62) is 6/12 on quality starts this season, and five for his last seven. Last time out JT got nicked for five runs in six innings vs. the Padres, but over his six starts previous to that he had allowed 10 ER in 42 2/3 innings.
For the season Teheran has given up 77 hits in 77 innings, and his K/BB ratio is pretty good, at 58/15.
Atlanta has won eight of Teheran's 12 starts this year, including a 6-3 decision over the Giants in San Francisco back on May 9 in which Teheran gave up three ER through seven innings.
Lincecum (4-6, 4.70) is just 4/13 on quality starts this season, and just one for his last five. Most recently Lincecum gave up four runs, two earned, in 4 2/3 innings vs. Pittsburgh, although just before that he held Toronto to one run through seven innings. But in his three starts previous to that Lincecum got knocked around for 15 ER in 16 1/3 innings.
For the season Lincecum has allowed 75 hits in 76 2/3 innings, walked 34 and struck out 78.
San Francisco won six of Lincecum's first eight starts of this season, but has lost four of his last five outings.
Lincecum's best start of this season came against Atlanta, back on May 12 at AT&T Park, when he tossed seven innings of two-hit, shutout ball in a 5-1 Giants victory.
Our Take on Sunday's Game
We give Teheran the edge in the pitching match-up, and Atlanta hasn't lost a series at home yet this season. But that price seems a bit steep. So we'll gamble and go with the Braves on the run line for our free MLB pick for Sunday.
By: Ron Patrick
The Giants opened this series with a 6-0 blanking Friday night, scoring single runs in the first, second, third and fifth innings to back up a great outing from Madison Bumgarner.
San Fran stuck it to us Friday as +125 underdogs and the game played UNDER its total of seven.
Atlanta has lost four games in a row, scoring just 11 runs.
The Giants, meanwhile, have scored 42 runs over their last six games, even with Pablo Sandoval on the DL.
San Fran is also 4-1 against the Braves this season.
The Giants will go with Chad Gaudin against Mike Minor for the Braves in Game 2 of this series Saturday afternoon (4:05 pm ET, Fox).
Saturday's Betting Odds
Most books we surfed Saturday morning opened this game with Atlanta chalked at around -175, then bumped that price significantly, to upwards of -200 at some joints. So a lot of bettors must be thinking the Braves are going to equalize this series Saturday.
Saturday's Pitching Match-Up
Minor (8-2, 2.44) is an impressive 10/13 on quality starts this season, and working on a string of eight in a row. Last time out he held the Dodgers to one run through six innings, and over his last four starts he's allowed just five ER through 26 1/3 innings.
For the season Minor has given up just 64 hits in 84 2/3 innings, walked 17 and whiffed 78; Atlanta is 10-3 in his starts, and has won his last seven in a row.
This will be Minor's first start this season against San Francisco; last year, in two starts vs. the Giants, he gave up four ER and seven hits through 12 2/3 innings; the Braves split those two games.
Gaudin (2-1, 2.32) will be making his third start of this season, in place of the injured Ryan Vogelsong, after 18 relief appearances, and will shoot for his third straight quality outing. Last time out he held Arizona to two runs through six innings, and just before that he did the exact same thing to St. Louis. The Giants won both those games.
On the season Gaudin, who posted a 4.54 ERA in 69 innings for Miami last year, has allowed just 33 hits in 42 2/3 innings, walked 15 and struck out 40.
In two appearances earlier this season against Atlanta Gaudin threw three scoreless innings. Last year, though, he gave up eight ER in 9 2/3 innings vs. the Braves.
Our Take on Saturday's Game
Minor has been great this season; we give him the edge in the pitching match-up. But Gaudin has been good in his first two starts, Atlanta's bats have been cold, and San Francisco's are clicking. And that price is way too high. So in going for the value on this game we'll take the Giants for our free MLB pick.
By: Ron Patrick
Friday's Giants-Braves Betting Odds
Most books we consulted Friday morning opened Atlanta and Kris Medlen at around -140 over San Francisco and Madison Bumgarner, with an OVER/UNDER of seven. Most books then also dropped the Braves about a nickel, to the -135 range.
Also, The Greek was chalking Atlanta at -220 to win this series, with the Giants getting +180.
Giants-Braves Series Set-Up
Atlanta just got swept three games out in San Diego, losing the series finale Wednesday 5-3. In going 2-5 during their just-completed road trip the Braves got held to three runs or fewer five times.
Nonetheless, at 39-27 Atlanta leads the NL East by 5.5 games over second-place Washington.
San Francisco just dropped two of three games in Pittsburgh this week, avoiding the sweep with a 10-0 victory Thursday. Just before that the Giants had taken two of three games in Arizona.
The San Fran bats have broken loose recently, plating 36 runs over their last five games.
At 34-31 the Giants sit in second place in the NL West, 2.5 games behind first-place Arizona.
This is the second meeting between these teams this season. Back a month ago in San Francisco the Giants took three of four games from Atlanta. Three of those four games played OVER on the totals, as the teams combined to score 36 runs.
Friday's Pitching Match-Up
Medlen (3-6, 2.87), by our strict standards, is 7/13 on quality starts this season, and three for his last five. Most recently he held the Dodgers scoreless through 6 2/3 innings, and over his last five outings he's given up six ER through 28 2/3 innings.
For the season Medlen has allowed 76 hits in 78 1/3 innings, walked 25 and struck out 60. The Braves won just two of Medlen's first eight starts, but they've won four of his last five.
Medlen has started once earlier this year against San Francisco, giving up five runs (three earned) and eight hits, including three homers, in 5 1/3 innings of a 5-1 Atlanta defeat back a month ago at AT&T Park.
Bumgarner (5-4, 3.58) is also 7/13 on quality starts this season, but 0 for his last three. Last time out he gave up three runs in five innings vs. Arizona, and over his last three starts he's allowed 12 earned runs in 17 2/3 innings.
On the season Bumgarner's numbers are pretty good; he's given up just 64 hits in 83 innings, walked 24 and struck out 79. But while San Francisco won six of Bumgarner's first eight starts, they've lost four of his last five.
Bumgarner has starter once earlier this season against Atlanta, allowing one run through seven innings, striking out 11, in a 10-1 Giants victory a month ago. Last year Bumgarner started twice against the Braves, giving up six ER in 13 1/3 innings; San Fran lost both those games.
In the battle of the bullpens for this series Atlanta ranks second in the Majors with a 2.81 ERA and has converted 19 of 27 save opportunities, while the Giants rank seventh with a 3.07 ERA and have converted 17 of 22 save opps.
Giants-Braves Betting Trends
Atlanta is a ML-best 21-7 at home this season.
San Francisco, a team that's three games over .500 overall, is 13-20 on the road.
These two teams are a combined 72-56 on the OVER/UNDERS this season.
However, the totals are a combined 10-16 in Bumgarner and Medlen's starts this year.
Giants-Braves Injury Update
San Francisco is playing without Pablo Sandoval, who's on the DL with a strained foot, and IF Marco Scutaro has missed recent action after getting hit on the hand Tuesday. But OF Angel Pagan is eligible to come off the DL Friday.
Our Take on Friday's Game
Atlanta is very good at home, while San Fran has struggled on the road; Medlen gets the edge in the pitching match-up because of the better recent form; And the Giants are a bit banged up. So we'll go with the home team to take the opener of this series for our free MLB pick for Friday.
For updated odds, pitching match-ups and more free picks bettors should check back at this page as this series plays out.[gameodds]3/236350/43-349-93/us[/gameodds]