MLB Picks: Red Sox vs. Braves Series Coverage

Darin Zank

Monday, May 26, 2014 12:53 PM UTC

Monday, May. 26, 2014 12:53 PM UTC

Boston won its third straight game in this series Wednesday night 4-0, setting up a chance at a four-game sweep when the teams meet Thursday night (7:10 pm ET). Should we go with the Sox for today's free MLB pick? Or can Atlanta salvage one game?


29th May
Red Sox vs. Braves Game 4

By: Ron Patrick


Thursday's Line
As of early Thursday morning Boston and Jake Peavy were favored by around -115 over Atlanta and Mike Minor, with a total of 8.5 runs.


Wednesday Re-Hash
John Lackey scattered eight hits through 6 1/3 innings and the bullpen did the rest, helping Boston win its third straight, following a 10-game losing streak.

The Sox won as -140 chalk on Wednesday's MLB betting line, and the game played UNDER its total of eight.

Boston's bullpen now ranks fourth in the Majors with a 2.84 ERA.

Thursday's Starters
Peavy (1-2, 4.65), by our strict standards, is five-for-10 on quality starts this season, but 0 for his last four. Most recently Tampa got him for five runs in six innings, and over his last four starts he's been clipped for 19 runs in 22 1/3 innings.

On the season the former National Leaguer has allowed 62 hits in 60 innings, walked 28, which is too many, and struck out 48. Boston is 4-6 in Peavy's starts, with the totals, somehow, tilting toward the UNDERS by a 6-3 margin.

Peavy, pitching for the White Sox, started once against the Braves last year, allowing two ER in six innings of a 10-6 Chicago victory at the Cell.

Lefty Minor (2-3, 3.90), who started the season on the DL, is three-for-five on quality starts. Last time out he allowed three runs in 6 1/3 innings against Colorado, and over his last three starts he's given up five ER through 19 2/3 innings.

For the season Minor has allowed 30 hits in 30 innings, walked nine and struck out 27. Atlanta is only 2-3 in his starts, with the totals leaning toward the UNDERS 3-2.

Minor's only previous start against Boston came two years ago, when he gave up four ER in less than five innings of a 9-4 Braves loss, also at Fenway.


Free Pick for Thursday
We'd lean toward Boston to take this series finale, but Peavy has been terrible lately. So instead, we'll look toward the total for tonight's game, and go with the OVER 8.5 runs, at the -110 offered at Pinnacle, for our free MLB pick.


28th May
Red Sox vs. Braves Game 3
By: Ron Patrick

Wednesday's Line
As of Wednesday morning most books were listing Boston and John Lackey at around -140 over Atlanta and Gavin Floyd, with a total of eight runs. The Sox could also be your MLB pick for today at around +150 on the run line. 

 Tuesday Re-Hash
Boston trailed Tuesday 3-2 before plating four runs in the top of the seventh. Every Sox-regular had at least one hit, and Jon Lester and four relievers did the rest. So, after losing 10 games in a row, Boston has won two straight. Tuesday's game went off as a pick 'em on the MLB betting line, and played 'over' its total of seven runs. The Red Sox have now played seven 'overs' in their last eight games.

 Wednesday's Starters
Lackey (5-3, 3.58) is seven-for-10 on quality starts this year. Two starts ago he got nicked for five ER in 5 1/3 innings against Detroit, but he bounced back last time out to hold Tampa scoreless through seven innings. For the season, Lackey has allowed 67 hits in 65 1/3 innings, walked 14 and struck out 59. Boston is 5-5 in Lackey's starts, with the totals skewing toward the 'unders' by a 7-3 margin. This will be Lackey's first start against Atlanta since 2005, when he was with the Angels.

Floyd (0-1, 2.49) is two-for-four on quality start. Last time out, he held Colorado to two runs through 6 2/3 innings, and just before that he gave up four runs – just one earned – in 5 1/3 innings against St. Louis. On the season, Floyd has allowed 27 hits in 25 1/3 innings, walked just five and struck out 24. Atlanta is 3-1 in Floyd's starts, with the totals leaning toward the 'unders' by a  3-1 margin. This will be Floyd's first start against Boston since April of 2012, when as a member of the White Sox he gave up one run in 6 2/3 innings of a 4-1 Chicago victory. 

 Injury Update
Atlanta might be without a couple of starters; C Evan Gattis is dealing with a sore wrist, and missed Tuesday's game, while SS Andrelton Simmons left Tuesday's contest with a sore ankle.

 Free Pick for Wednesday: We give Lackey the edge in the pitching match-up, and it appears Boston has recovered from that losing streak. Hence, we'll go with the Red Sox, at the -135 offered at Pinnacle, for Wednesday's free MLB pick.



27th May
Red Sox vs. Braves Game 2
By: Ron Patrick

Tuesday's Line
In early betting Atlanta and Aaron Harang were favored by around -115 over Boston and Jon Lester, with a total of seven runs. But action on the Sox quickly moved this game toward a pick 'em. 


Monday Re-Hash
Atlanta grabbed an early 6-1 lead Monday, but Boston scored five runs in the fifth inning, then won the game with two runs in the eighth. The Sox cashed in as dogs of +120 on Monday's MLB odds board, and the game rolled OVER its total of seven.  

Boston only had eight hits Monday, but also drew an uncharacteristic nine walks from Braves pitching. Sox bats had been somewhat cold, but they've scored 18 runs over their last three games. 
Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz walked eight guys by himself Monday in just three-plus innings; his ERA for the season now sits at 7.02.

Tuesday's Starters
Harang (4-4, 3.32) is an impressive eight-for-10 on quality starts this season, and three for his last four. 

Most recently he gave up four runs in 5 1/3 innings against Milwaukee, but in his three starts previous to that he had permitted six ER over 18 innings.
On the season Harang has allowed 55 hits in 59 2/3 innings, walked 18 and struck out 64. Atlanta is 6-4 in Harang's starts, with the totals leaning toward the UNDERS by a 6-3 margin.
Last year, pitching for Seattle, Harang started once against the Red Sox, and got bombed for seven runs in five innings of an 11-4 Mariners loss.
Lester (4-6, 3.36) is six-for-10 on quality starts, although he's coming off a rough outing in which he got knocked around for seven runs in 6 1/3 innings against Toronto. But before that he had given up just four runs over his previous three starts, covering 20 innings.
So far this season Lester has allowed 61 hits in 67 innings, with an excellent K/BB ratio of 76/18. Boston is 4-6 in Lester's starts, with the totals tilting toward the UNDERS 7-3.
Lester's last start against Atlanta came two years ago, in a 4-1 Boston loss.

Free Pick for Tuesday
It seems like when teams break long losing streaks, they turn right around and embark upon winning streaks of 3-4-5 games. So we'll go with Boston, at the -104 offered at Bet365, for our free MLB pick on Tuesday's game.


26th May
Red Sox vs. Braves Game 1
By: Ron Patrick

The Line
As of early Monday morning most shops were listing Atlanta and Ervin Santana at around -130 over Boston and Clay Buchholz, with a total of seven runs. The Braves could also be played at around +160 on the run line.

 Series Set-Up
Boston just got swept three games at Tampa, losing Sunday 8-5. So the Sox have lost 10 games in a row, in part because they've been held to three runs or less in six of those 10 games. At 20-29 Boston sits in last place in the AL East, eight games behind first-place Toronto. Atlanta just took two of three games at home from Colorado, winning Sunday's rubber match 7-0. So the Braves have won six of their last eight games. At 28-21 Atlanta leads the NL East by three games over second-place Miami. These two teams last met two seasons ago, when Boston took two of three games in a series at Fenway.

The first two games of this series will be played in Atlanta, before the teams head to Boston for Games 3 and 4 Wednesday and Thursday.

 Monday's Starters
Santana (4-2, 3.42) is four-for-eight on quality starts this season, but 0 for his last two. Last time out he got nicked for six runs in seven innings against Milwaukee, giving up an early grand slam and later a two-run homer, and just before that he gave up five runs and 10 hits in five innings against St. Louis. For the season Santana has allowed 51 hits in 52 2/3 innings, walked 14 and whiffed 48. Atlanta is 5-3 in Santana's starts, with the totals leaning toward the 'overs' by a 5-1 margin. Pitching for Kansas City last year Santana started twice against the Red Sox, giving up eight runs and 15 hits in 10 2/3 innings; KC won both those games.

Buchholz (2-4, 6.32) is four-for-nine on quality starts this year, but 0 for his last three. Most recently he gave up five runs in less than five innings against Toronto, and over his last three starts he's allowed 13 ER and 29 hits in 15 innings. On the season Buchholz has allowed 71 hits in 47 innings (!), walked 16 and struck out 35. Boston is 3-6 in Buchholz' starts, with the totals leaning toward the 'overs' 5-3. This will be Buchholz' first-ever start vs. Atlanta.

In the battle of the bullpens for this series the Braves rank fourth with a 2.69 ERA and are 16-for-20 on save opportunities, while the Sox rank eighth with a 3.05 ERA and are 11-for-14 on save opps.

 At the Bat
Boston ranks 12th with a .324 team OBP and 16th in scoring at just under four runs per game.

Atlanta ranks 29th in both OBP at .296 and scoring at 3.4 RPG. That OBP drops to .281 against right-handed pitching.

 Sox-Braves Betting Trends
Boston has leaned toward the 'unders' this season by a 27-20 margin. Atlanta has skewed toward the 'unders' by a 29-17 margin. Also, games played at Turner Field this season have leaned toward the 'unders' 17-8.

 Injury Update
Boston is a little banged up at the moment, with OF Shane Victorino, 1B Mike Napoli and 3B Will Middlebrooks all on the DL with various ailments. That certainly isn't helping their cause.

 Free MLB Pick for Monday
We'll try not to over-think this one, and go with Atlanta, at the -124 offered at BetOnline, for our free MLB pick on Monday's game.


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