Savy MLB Pick On The "Over" As Braves Visit Nationals Park

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, April 11, 2016 3:00 PM UTC

Monday, Apr. 11, 2016 3:00 PM UTC

Max Scherzer of the Nationals is one of the best pitchers in the game, but the Braves bullpen has been awful and Bud Norris may have pitched over his head last time, so go ‘over’.


MLB Record: 5-1, +5.01

There is a seemingly deflated total in a game featuring one of the best pitchers in baseball Monday night in a game where his team’s offense could approach the total on its own when Bud Norris and the awful bullpen of the Atlanta Braves (0-5, 0-0 away) pay a visit to the great fellow right-hander Max Scherzer and the Washington Nationals (3-1, 1-1 home) at Nationals Park in Washington, DC at 7:05 ET in a game available on MASN2.

The posted total at Heritage Sports is 7½ or this contest with the current MLB odds on the ‘over’ set at -110.


Only Winless Team in National League
At 0-5, the Braves are the only winless team in the National League after getting swept in a three-game series by the St. Louis Cardinals over the weekend, which came on the heels of getting swept two games by these Nationals to open up the season. Worst of all, all five Atlanta losses have come at home so far as the Braves now hit the road for the first time in 2016.

After winning those first two games in Atlanta the Nationals went home and split two games of a rain-abbreviated series with the Miami Marlins, salvaging the split by being the winning MLB pick yesterday 4-2 in the series finale. Washington is now able to start its ace Scherzer again in its fifth game of the year thanks to ending up with three off days over the first week of the year due to rain.

Anomalous Effort by Norris in Braves Debut?
The Braves were projected to have the worst pitching WAR  in the Major Leagues before this season, and although they are only five games into the season, they are already 28th in majors in ERA at a hideous 6.65, 28th in WHIP at 1.70 and 29th in bullpen ERA at a distressing 8.66! Thus, those pitching forecasts seem to be holding very accurate for now.

One notable exception was today’s starter Norris, who actually pitched well in his Atlanta debut vs. these Nationals allowing three earned runs on six hits in seven innings. However, that start seemed to come out of nowhere for a pitcher that was 2-9 with a 7.06 ERA, 1.64 WHIP and a .309 batting average allowed while pitching for the Baltimore Orioles last year, and also a pitcher that had allowed nine earned runs in nine innings in his two prior starts vs. Washington.

Thus, we basically dare Norris to duplicate his performance of last week, especially since he still has a 5.01 ERA in eight career appearances vs. the Nationals even with that one outlier. We look for a more “normal” performance from Norris today and an earlier call to the Braves’ bullpen, which will probably never be seen as good news this season.


The Mighty Max
Now, Scherzer is legitimately one of the best pitchers in baseball as he comes off of a season where he had an extremely deceptive 14-12 record considering his excellent 2.79 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and 276 strikeouts in 228.2 innings, not to mention tossing two no-hitters including one in his final start of the season vs. the National League Champion New York Mets.

Scherzer then held these Braves to two runs on only three hits with seven strikeouts in seven innings in his first start this year, with the two runs allowed both coming on solo home runs. The presence of The Mighty Max on the mound was the main reason fot that this total opened at a flat 7, but it has since been bet up undoubtedly due to the Atlanta pitching woes making that low total look very dicey.

And Scherzer is prone to giving up the long ball, allowing 27 home runs last year before allowing those two more on opening day, and if the Nationals build a lead here as expected, it would make him even more prone to allowing another homer or two due to continuously throwing strikes without wanting to put anybody on via the walk.


Trending The Over
Finally, the ‘over’ is 15-5-1 in the Braves’ last 21 road games, an identical 15-5-1 in their last 21 road games vs. right-handed starters and 10-4-1 in their last 15 games vs. starters with a WHIP of less than 1.15. The ‘over’ is also 26-9-4 in the Nationals’ last 39 home games.

Given how dreadful the Braves’ pitching has been, particularly the bullpen, look for those trends to continue for at least one more game with another ‘over’ when Atlanta takes on Washington in our nation’s capital on Monday.

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MLB Pick:  Over 7½ -110
Best Line Offered:  at Heritage

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