MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Brewers vs. Braves: Atlanta is Overvalued on the Road (Friday, July 30)

MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Brewers vs. Braves: Atlanta is Overvalued on the Road (Friday, July 30) article feature image
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Todd Kirkland/Getty Images. Pictured: Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Touki Toussaint.

  • The Atlanta Braves welcome the Milwaukee Brewers to Georgia for Friday's MLB showdown.
  • Touki Toussaint gets the ball for the Braves, who are slight home underdogs.
  • Michael Arinze breaks things down below and explains why he's backing Atlanta to triumph.

Brewers vs. Braves Odds

Brewers Odds -145
Braves Odds +125
Over/Under 8
Time 7:20 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds as of Friday afternoon via DraftKings.

The Milwaukee Brewers are riding high on a three-game winning streak after sweeping the Pittsburgh Pirates, outscoring them by a 28-3 margin in the process.

Although it was a dominant performance bookended by shutout wins in the series, they’ll likely face a stiffer test against an Atlanta Braves team that still has its sights set on making a run at the NL East crown.

After all, Atlanta sits just four games out of first place behind the division-leading New York Mets.

Milwaukee will send Corbin Burnes to the mound, with Touki Toussaint set to oppose him for Atlanta. This will be the first start for both pitchers against the other, though each has made at least one appearance out of the bullpen.

Let’s take a look to see if there’s anything to glean from those head-to-head splits as we preview Friday’s series opener.

Losing All-Star Frazier Created Letdown in Milwaukee

As impressive as the Brewers looked against the Pirates, one has to wonder if Pittsburgh was suffering from a bit of a letdown following the trade of All-Star second baseman Adam Frazier to the San Diego Padres.

The trade was announced Sunday as the Pirates were facing the Giants in San Francisco.

The San Diego Padres are acquiring second baseman/outfielder Adam Frazier from the Pittsburgh Pirates, sources tell ESPN.

Frazier, 29, leads baseball in hits this year and is not a free agent until after the 2022 season. One of the best bats on the trade market.

— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 25, 2021

Pittsburgh actually looked good, though, winning two of three games against a San Francisco team with the best record in baseball.

It’s almost as if Frazier’s trade took a little bit of air out of the Pirates’ clubhouse. It could explain why they looked so lethargic when they returned home to face the Brewers.

That’s just some food for thought before diving into this matchup.

It’s hard to argue with anything that Burnes has done this season. The first-time All-Star is 6-4, with a 2.12 ERA and 0.90 WHIP. His advanced numbers show he’s been even better, considering his 1.82 xERA and 1.35 FIP. He’s allowed just three runs in 27 1/3 innings in July and had a quality start in four of his last five outings.

However, sometimes some teams tend to perform well against certain pitchers. I might have to count Atlanta as one of them when it faces Burnes.

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I previewed the Milwaukee All-Star earlier this year, and I was spot on with my tactics as part of my analysis was centered on his head-to-head splits with the Cardinals in the matchup.

It could prove sensible to use that same approach in this game.

While the Braves lineup only has 13 at-bats against Burnes, I’m not sure you can ignore their seven hits and eight RBIs during that span. Atlanta has a .538/.538/1.385 slash line with a .846 ISO against him.

Three of its seven hits were home runs, and that should give the Braves plenty of confidence heading into the game.

Atlanta Getting Promising Starts From Toussaint

Toussaint needed to wait until July to make his season debut, but has looked sharp in both of his outings. The Florida native has registered a quality start in each appearance, going 1-1 with a 1.32 ERA and a 0.73 WHIP. What’s impressive about those starts was that Toussaint showed good command of his pitches against two teams (Padres and Phillies) in the top 10 in walks drawn this season.

In the past, the right-hander has been guilty of handing out free passes to first base. His lowest BB/9 ratio in three seasons was 5.62 in 2019. However, that number is down to 1.32 this year.

According to FanGraphs, Toussaint’s average fastball has actually dropped from 94.3 mph last season to 92.6 mph this year. I’m not sure if this is by design or whether the dip in velocity has to do with the shoulder strain that landed him on the 60-day injured list. It’s certainly possible that the drop in velocity has helped him locate his pitches better.

Another interesting thing about Toussaint is that he’s featuring his sinker more often in his two starts. Baseball Savant shows that he’s thrown it 58.6% of the time this year compared to 5.1% last season. This definitely seems like a conscious decision as his 2.29 GB/FB ratio is almost double that of last year.

The Brewers’ lineup only has nine at-bats across five hitters against Toussaint. Only one of those encounters resulted in a base hit as Milwaukee carries a .111/.273/.222 line into this matchup.

However, this version of Toussaint might be even better than the one they faced in the past, and that’s something that shouldn’t be overlooked going in.

Brewers-Braves Pick

It won’t surprise me if the Brewers are a bit overvalued for this series opener. I’m not going to place too much emphasis on their performance against a Pirates team that frankly looked shellshocked after the Frazier trade.

Atlanta is still the better hitting team, as evidenced by their wRC+ value of 99, while Milwaukee has 91 during its campaign.

In my research, I was able to find an interesting tidbit to encapsulate this Brewers’ recent run. Coming off a stretch of allowing no more than three runs in three consecutive games, Milwaukee is 103-125 for -34 units.

That said, I’ll take my chances here with the home underdog and perhaps a new, improved Toussaint on the mound.

DraftKings has the best price on the board with Atlanta at +125, so I’ll look to place my action there.

Pick: Atlanta ML (+125)

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