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As usual, the Braves are a favorite in a rather lopsided matchup. Despite Atlanta losing back-to-back games, the Braves are still a relatively safe bet to win and cover. Before Atlanta’s back-to-back losses, the Braves had won 10 of 11 games with eight of those 10 wins coming by more than one run. With Spencer Strider starting for Atlanta, it may not even take that many runs for the Braves to win comfortably.
Strider leads the big leagues in both wins and strikeouts. He’s 16-4 on the season and has been the winning pitcher in four consecutive starts. Dating back to May, the Braves are 14-3 in his last 17 starts, winning 13 of those 14 games by multiple runs. Despite giving up four runs against the Dodgers in his last start, Strider is in the middle of one of his best stretches of the season. He’s allowed one run or less over seven innings in three of his last four starts. In those four starts, Strider has allowed just five runs on 11 hits over 27 innings. He’s just not giving up enough hits for opposing teams to have much of a chance to score runs against him, so Strider should have no problem handling the last-place Cardinals.
On the flip side, it’ll be up to Dakota Hudson to slow down the Atlanta lineup. To his credit, Hudson has allowed two runs or less in three of his last four starts. But that success has come against poor offensive teams. When he faced the Phillies last month, Hudson allowed five runs on six hits over 5.2 innings, hurting himself with five walks. That doesn't bode well for his chances against a lineup that boasts two MVP candidates. In fact, the trio of Ronald Acuna Jr., Ozzie Albies, and Matt Olson are a combined 7 for 16 (.438) in their careers against Hudson, which is a sign that the Braves will provide Strider with plenty of run support.
Odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.
This might be the game of the week in baseball, as the Astros and Rangers are in the midst of a tight AL West race alongside the Mariners. Wednesday’s matchup also brings together Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer, who will start for opposing teams in this game after being teammates with the Mets earlier this season and longtime teammates in Detroit earlier in their careers. Unfortunately for the Rangers, they’ve struggled lately, including a 14-1 loss to Houston on Tuesday. With that win, the Astros own an 8-4 edge over the Rangers in head-to-head games this season. They’ve also been on a good run lately and have a ton of value in this game against a Texas team that can’t be trusted right now.
The only caveat is that Verlander got roughed up by the Yankees in his last start. However, he had been outstanding prior to that, earning four straight wins, so he’s more than capable of bouncing back. In fact, dating back to his time with the Mets, Verlander has been the winning pitcher in seven of his last nine starts. One way or another, he's getting the job done. Equally important, the Astros have bounced back with consecutive wins after getting swept by the Yankees over the weekend. Despite getting swept in that series, the Astros have won seven of their last 10 games.
Meanwhile, Scherzer has to face a Houston lineup that’s scored 27 runs over the first two games of this series. The Astros are actually averaging 8.6 runs per game in their last 10 games. While Scherzer has also come on strong since being traded, he’s still been prone to the occasional stinker. Just three starts ago, he failed to get out of the fourth inning against the Brewers. Scherzer has also had the fortune of facing some bad teams since his move to Texas. Quality starts against the Twins, Angels, A’s, and White Sox aren’t the same as doing it against the Astros, who have some heavy hitters. With the way the Astros have been swinging the bats lately, they are the better bet in this game.
Odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.
Believe it or not, the Orioles and Angels scoring more than 8.5 runs in this game is a safer bet than Baltimore winning its fifth in a row and the Angels losing their sixth in a row. Keep in mind that the Orioles are the third-best team in baseball at hitting the over, doing so 55% of the time while the Angels are also top 10 in O/U record. The Orioles are even better at hitting the over while on the road. Given Baltimore’s offensive firepower and Kyle Gibson’s recent struggles, this game should have plenty of offensive fireworks.
Despite winning 13 games this year, Gibson is still rocking a 5.15 ERA. Things got worse for him in August when he pitched to a 7.89 ERA across five starts. Somehow, Gibson got the win in three of those five starts, but he also allowed at least three runs in each of them. Gibson didn't even get out of the fifth inning against the White Sox in his last time out, allowing seven runs on nine hits. He also allowed either home runs over his 29.2 innings in August. Obviously, the Angels aren’t the most potent lineup in baseball right now given their injuries. But they’ve scored 13 runs over their last three games and should be able to scratch out a few runs against a struggling Gibson and take their chances with the Baltimore bullpen.
On the other side, Patrick Sandoval starts for the Angels. The lefty lasted just 3.2 innings in his last start, giving up five runs on five hits against Oakland. If he couldn’t handle the A’s, the Orioles should be able to do some damage against him. In fact, Sandoval has failed to finish five innings in three of his last four starts. He’s also hurt himself with 16 walks in 17 innings of work across his last four starts. Those numbers are beyond ugly and don’t bode well for him against the Orioles, who have scored at least five runs in four consecutive games and 14 of their last 17 games. As long as the Angels can contribute a couple of runs, the Orioles should do the rest to push the total beyond 8.5 runs.
Bryan Zarpentine is a 2008 graduate of Syracuse University and has been working as a freelance writer and editor since 2010. During that time, he has contributed to countless sites while covering baseball, soccer, the NFL, college football, and college basketball.More info on Bryan Zarpentine
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