Braves vs. Reds Odds, Preview, Prediction: Bet Atlanta if Price is Right (Thursday, June 24)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images. Pictured: Ronald Acuna Jr.
Braves vs. Reds Odds
|Over/Under||10.5 (-114 / -107)|
|Time||7:10 p.m. ET|
The Cincinnati Reds will host the Atlanta Braves in some National League baseball this weekend.
Both teams have much in common in that they are marginal playoff contenders. Cincinnati sits in third place in the NL Central with a 36-36 record, and Atlanta is tied for third place in the NL East with a 35-38 record.
Both teams are similarly built, boasting strong lineups and weak starting rotations. Tonight’s game highlights this, as both teams are not relying on the top of the rotation. The Braves are using a bullpen strategy, while the Reds will on a rookie starting pitcher in Tony Santillan.
As a result, the oddsmakers who did not set a line until late morning have determined that today’s game will be a high-scoring toss-up. The question is whether or not the Braves can put together a win on the road with their bullpen on the mound.
Braves Struggling on the Mound
On the surface, the Braves’ rotation has not been that bad.
They own a 4.01 xFIP, which is slightly better than the median starting rotation of a 4.08 xFIP. However, when you factor out Charlie Morton and Ian Anderson, the Braves have an awful rotation. With a lack of pitching talent, Atlanta’s set to use a bullpen strategy for the second night in a row.
Yet Atlanta’s bullpen is worse than its starting rotation. This season, Braves relievers have a 4.47 xFIP which is the eighth-worst in MLB. Yesterday against the Mets — whose lineup averages only 3.67 runs per game — the Braves bullpen allowed seven runs.
While pitching is a weak spot for the Braves, their lineup is one of the best in the league.
Atlanta averages 4.67 runs per game, which is the fourth-best in the national league. With Ronald Acuña Jr., Freddie Freeman, and Ozzie Albies, the Braves have a strong offensive core.
The Braves should have a big offensive showing against questionable pitching from the Reds.
Reds Need Santillan to Show Up
Opposing the Braves’ bullpen disaster is another potential disaster in Reds starting pitcher Tony Santillan.
Coming into this season, Santillan had never pitched past Double-A. This season, Santillan had only six Triple-A starts before being thrown into the fire in the bigs.
In two MLB starts, Santillan has pitched for only 7.2 innings and has a 4.70 ERA and 6.12 xFIP. In his last start against the Padres, Santillan pitched for only three innings and allowed two home runs and three earned runs.
Santillan projects to have a 5.84 ERA this season and a -0.2 WAR, per FanGraphs. Cincy could essentially replace Santillan with a replacement-level pitcher and win more games than it could with Santillan.
Backing up Santillan is a Cincinnati lineup that averages 5.01 runs per game, the fifth-most in MLB. With Jesse Winker and Nick Castellanos, the Reds have a strong offensive core. However, according to my model, they should average only 4.63 runs per game, which is .38 fewer runs than they’re scoring now.
Tonight’s game between the Braves and the Reds is what Jamaican dancehall artist Super Cat would refer to as the good, the bad, the ugly, and the crazy. Both teams have good lineups, but the pitching is bad, ugly, and crazy.
Based on Cincy relying on a weak starting pitcher and Atlanta having a better lineup, I give the Braves a slight edge in tonight’s matchup.
However, I’m waiting on the Braves moneyline to get to +100 or better before I bet them.
Pick: Braves ML +100 or better.