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Astros vs. Braves MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Value on Road Dog (Saturday, August 20)

Astros vs. Braves MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Value on Road Dog (Saturday, August 20) article feature image

Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: Astros pitcher Cristian Javier

Astros vs. Braves Odds

Astros Odds+140
Braves Odds-165
Over/Under7.5 (-105 / -115)
Time7:15 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

We're in for a treat on Saturday as two of the best teams in baseball throw their very best young pitchers in Atlanta.

Cristian Javier comes in off the back of a one-hit effort against the Oakland A's while Spencer Strider will look to bring his ERA back down under three runs as he pushes for a perfect close to his season.

Will any runs be scored off these two pitchers? Who will score more of them? Let's get into how to bet on this one.

Houston Astros Looking to Pick Up Lost Form

It was just a few days ago that we were gearing up for the Astros to push for the best record in baseball after they entered the week on a four-game winning streak.

Thanks to some incredible efforts from the White Sox' pitching staff and a great showing from the Braves' offense on Friday, Houston has now dropped three of its last five.

The Astros do technically rank second in wRC+ in the last week, but that's due almost solely to the fact that they put up 21 runs against Chicago.

Aside from that, runs have been hard to come by — but one thing we can say for sure is that the strikeouts have been at a minimum. Just 16.6% of Houston's plate appearances have ended in a punchout in the last week, which is the best mark in the league. That's been a theme for the Astros all year, who rank fifth-best in swinging strike rate.

Speaking of swinging strikes, Javier has been getting a lot of those this season. He's pitched to a 1.50 ERA with 17 strikeouts in 18 innings this month, allowing just 11 hits in the process.

Javier has allowed three runs – two of which were homers – which is just about the only area he struggles. His 32.2% strikeout rate ranks in the top 7% of baseball while his .174 expected batting average rests in the top 4%. He's also in the 92nd percentile in expected ERA according to Statcast. You can't make contact off this guy, and even when you do, it's unlikely it will result in a hit.

Atlanta Braves in Peak Form

Atlanta can do no wrong, winning 10 of its last 12 to get right back in the fight for NL East supremacy. Aside from a tough 9-7 loss to the Mets earlier in the week, the Braves have been excellent on the bump. They've now allowed two or fewer runs in all but one of their last eight games.

Strider will be tasked with keeping that up. He ranks fifth among all qualified pitchers with a 37.2% strikeout rate this season, and first among starters. Strider is also sixth in whiff rate among those who have thrown at least 90 innings this season.

He misses bats, and when he's not doing that he's pitching to a .187 expected batting average and a 2.61 xERA, both of which reside in the top 7% of the league.

The Braves have been running hot over the last week with a 137 wRC+ which ranks third in the league, but their strikeout rate still sits at a high 22.5% during that time. This is a theme for the Braves, who are number one in swinging strike rate for the season and who rank third in strikeouts per plate appearance.

Astros-Braves Pick

We have two extreme strikeout pitchers, but two offenses which are on complete opposite sides of the spectrum. Atlanta has been whiffing all season long while Houston has limited its swings and misses better than almost anyone.

In a battle of two strikeout pitchers, I think it's imperative that we look at the swing-and-miss numbers.

There really isn't much between the two pitchers and not much between the quality of the offenses in terms of production. This is a huge, huge discrepancy and one we need to take advantage of even though this game will be played on the road.

Pick: Astros ML (+140)

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