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MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions for Braves vs. Brewers: Bet on Max Fried & the Superior Atlanta Bullpen (Wednesday, May 18)

MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions for Braves vs. Brewers: Bet on Max Fried & the Superior Atlanta Bullpen (Wednesday, May 18) article feature image
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Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images. Pictured: Max Fried.

  • The Brewers are home favorites on Wednesday afternoon against the Braves.
  • With two strong starters on the mound, does the bullpen give one team an edge?
  • D.J. James breaks down the matchup and shares his best bet below.

Braves vs. Brewers Odds

Braves Odds +115
Brewers Odds -135
Over/Under 6.5 (+100 / -120)
Time 1:10 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Max Fried of the Atlanta Braves and Corbin Burnes of the Milwaukee Brewers face off on Wednesday afternoon in a battle of aces.

Fried has been solid, excelling in Chase Rate, as he has done in the past. He ranks in the 97th percentile in that metric. Meanwhile, Burnes has even had more success with a 1.77 ERA, but his xERA is over a point higher at 2.96. This says he has been getting unlucky, but that number is still exceptional.

Neither team has hit too well against this side of the pitching rubber in the month of May. However, with the total hovering around 6.5, taking the Braves looks like the correct call because of Fried’s ability to limit hard contact and a small edge in bullpen performances.

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Fried Looking to Continue His Strong Play for the Braves

As touched on above, Fried has a 39.2% Chase Rate. The Milwaukee Brewers have one of the lowest Chase Rates in baseball at 25.3%. With Fried’s curveball/slider mix and Milwaukee’s 24.4% Strikeout Rate in May, they may be off balance for the entirety of his start.

The Brewers are missing Andrew McCutchen, who has been one of their best bats against lefties. They still do have six other hitters with a .361 xwOBA when facing southpaws, but the drop-off is significant for Fried to take advantage of.

Fried has also only walked 2.3% of hitters this season. Milwaukee holds a 9.3% Walk Rate off of lefties this month, but this should be limited considering whom they are facing. Not to mention, Fried holds opponents to 86.3 MPH as an Average Exit Velocity. Even with Milwaukee’s relative success off of southpaws, Fried is an elite pitcher who matches up well with this lineup.

The Atlanta bullpen has been top of the line this month, too. They own a 28.2% Strikeout Rate. Their 3.42 ERA and 3.38 xFIP are right in line, so luck is not in play in May. With these performances, neither team has a massive edge in relief.


Can Burnes Limit Hard Contact for the Brewers?

Burnes is as strong as a starter can be. He will not get shelled, but this Braves lineup could squeeze a few runs across the plate in this game against him. They have five batters over the .350 xwOBA mark this month off of righties. They have pretty similar numbers to those Milwaukee has posted. A 90 wRC+ for the Braves versus an 89 wRC+ against these types of pitchers does not give either team a massive advantage.

That said, Burnes will allow hard contact. Hitters are averaging 89.8 MPH off the bat with Burnes’ pitching. His Hard-Hit Rate is high at 43.7%, as well. He may not walk opponents either (4.7%), but these hard-hit balls will be concerning when facing hitters like Ronald Acuña.

However, the Milwaukee bullpen has a 2.93 xFIP against a 4.70 ERA. This says they haven’t been getting the expected results despite pitching well. This ERA might continue in this game, though. The end of the game for the Brewers has proven to be a guarantee this season for the most part, but their middle relief is more of a question mark this month.

Outside of Josh Hader, Trevor Gott, Devin Williams, and Brad Boxberger, they could allow some runs. This is one of the important factors that lends value to taking the Braves on the moneyline.

Braves-Brewers Pick

The Brewers should be favorites, but the line right now is steep. Take the Braves at +120 and play them to +105. Fried can limit hard contact better than Burnes.

He may not necessarily be the better starter, but the pitching discrepancies for both of these pitchers, matchup-wise, are negligible. Pair that with even bullpens this month and similar lineup expectations, and the Braves should have value.

Pick: Atlanta Braves +120 | play to +105

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