After a slow start to this season Washington now leads the NL East. But this handicapper is thinking the Nationals are favored by a bit too much for Wednesday's game against Atlanta.
Braves-Nationals Wednesday Betting Odds
Most of Wednesday's MLB betting market opened Washington and Jordan Zimmerman at around -160 over Atlanta and Shelby Miller, then bumped that price a dime or so. As of this writing the best line we could find on the Nats was the -166 offered at BetOnline, while 5Dimes was giving the Braves +162. And most books were offering a total of seven runs on tonight's game.
Washington grabbed the opener of this series Tuesday night 3-1, behind five good innings from Stephen Strasburg (in his return from the DL) and a dozen base hits. Atlanta loaded the bases in the top of the ninth, but came up empty.
The victory extended the Nationals' winning streak to four games, while the loss snapped Atlanta's three-game winning run.
With its recent mini-run, and help from the Mets, 38-33 Washington now leads the NL East by 2.5 games.
At 35-36 Atlanta trails the Nats by three games in the divisional race, and sits five games back in the battle for the second National League wild-card spot.
The Nationals lead this season series six games to one, with the OVERS going 6-1.
Three starts ago Zimmerman (5-5, 3.75) got touched by the Cubs for four runs in five innings, and just after that the Brewers got him for six runs in less than four innings. But Zimmy bounced back, to a degree, last time out, holding Tampa Bay to three runs through seven innings, although Washington lost that game 5-0. On the season Zimmerman is 10-for-14 on quality starts, while allowing 96 hits through 84 innings. The Nats are 7-7 in Zimmy's starts, with the totals leaning OVER by an 8-6 margin.
Since the beginning of last season Zimmerman has started five times against Atlanta, allowing 11 earned runs through 31 innings; Washington won three of those games.
Miller (5-3, 1.99) has been pitching in a bit of tough luck lately; three times in his last five starts he's allowed just one earned run, but the Braves lost all three of those games. For the season Miller is nine-for-14 on quality starts, while allowing just 67 hits through 90 innings. Atlanta is 9-5 in Miller's starts, with the totals leaning toward the UNDERS by an 8-5 margin.
Last year, pitching for St. Louis, Miller started twice against Washington, allowing just one run and eight hits through 12 innings; the Cardinals split those two games, and both games played UNDER.
Wednesday's Batting Splits
Atlanta ranks seventh in the Majors this season against right-handed pitching with a .326 team OBP, while Washington ranks 11th against righties with a .323 OBP.
Ballpark Totals Factor
Games played at Nationals Park this season are 17-16 on the OVERS, even though they're averaging just 7.3 runs per. Apparently oddsmakers have been listing some low totals on Nats home games.
Keep in mind when preparing your MLB picks that Atlanta just lost a key stick when it placed 1B Freddie Freeman (12 HR, 41 RBI) on the DL with a sore wrist. Washington, meanwhile, is still playing without both 3B Ryan Zimmerman (foot) and OF Jayson Werth (wrist).
Braves-Nationals Free Picks
Atlanta is an underdog while throwing a guy with an ERA under two. The value on today's line resides with the Braves. Also, these two lineups both rank in the top third against RH pitching, so we're thinking OVER the low total.
MLB Picks: Atlanta +162 at 5Dimes and OVER seven runs (+100) at Heritage