Brewers vs. Braves Odds, Preview, Prediction: Atlanta Looks to Solve Brandon Woodruff (Saturday, July 31)
John Fisher/Getty Images. Pictured: Brandon Woodruff
- The Brewers look to seal a series win on Saturday night in Atlanta with Brandon Woodruff on the mound.
- Kyle Muller will start for the Braves, who blew a four-run lead in the first inning in the series opener.
- Kenny Ducey breaks down the matchup below and delivers his best bet for the game.
Brewers vs. Braves Odds
|Over/Under||8.5 (-115 / -105)|
|Time||7:20 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Friday night and via BetMGM.|
The Brewers are on a roll, entering Friday’s trade deadline red-hot and ending the day with a few nice additions and a win. They’re trendy, and with one of the National League’s finest starters on the hill, they’ll surely garner plenty of public tickets against a Braves team trotting out yet another young pitcher.
Could it be that the tides are about to turn for Atlanta? Let’s have a look at the matchup below.
While the Cubs sold off nearly every player of value they had and the Reds and Cardinals did virtually nothing to better themselves, the Brewers sat back with their seven-game lead in the NL Central and continued to add. They went out and acquired a much-needed bat in Eduardo Escobar, a couple nifty bullpen arms, all the while enjoying what the current team has been doing on the field. Milwaukee has now won six of eight games and doesn’t appear to be stopping anytime soon.
After walloping Touki Toussaint and the Braves on Friday to the tune of a 9-5 victory, Milwaukee will look to secure yet another series win and will hope not to need so many runs this time.
Right-hander Brandon Woodruff will try to work his magic again, entering with a 2.14 ERA and one of the lower xERAs in the league at 2.73. He’s succeeded just about everywhere this year, keeping hard contact to a minimum (30.3%), striking out hitters at a well above-average rate once again (30.4%) and limiting walks. His fastball has been unhittable this year, as has his curve and change, which he likes to throw away from lefties. His excellence against lefties is not really good news for the Braves, who feature Joc Pederson and Freddie Freeman at the top of the lineup, though it’s worth noting that should be the extent of the lefties he encounters.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that while Milwaukee is technically below-average this year against lefties (98 wRC+), some of that’s due to the fact that the team couldn’t hit for most of the season. A 119 wRC+ over the last two weeks shows you that this lineup is charged up and capable of a lot.
Speaking of the trade deadline, did any team do more, and accomplish less, than the Braves? They just kept adding outfielder after outfielder, bringing in Eddie Rosario, Jorge Soler and Adam Duvall when they didn’t appear to be starved for depth out there. It’s unclear if any of those guys will be in uniform for Saturday’s game, though adding any more lefties probably hurts against Woodruff and balances out the potential addition of Soler, as hot as he is.
Still, the Braves offense looked reinvigorated in the first inning on Friday against Corbin Burnes, and surely can bring that again against another good pitcher in Woodruff. This is a team that owns a .781 OPS over the last two weeks to rank eighth in baseball and has clubbed an impressive 35 homers.
That’s all well and good, but I really want to take a moment to talk about Kyle Muller here. The lefty was a forgotten prospect in a crowded farm system, but has turned in some great performances early in his career, pitching to a 2.55 ERA in six appearances (five starts). His peripherals don’t tell the best story, but he still strikes out enough guys and owns a decent 3.53 xERA to trust him the slightest bit here. His slider has proven to be a really strong pitch, and he only seems to get better and more poised with each outing.
I spent most of this time talking about how pretty the Brewers are sitting, but this line is a bit disrespectful to Muller and the Braves. Woodruff has unquestionably been one of the best pitchers in the NL, but the Braves have also been cooking at the plate of late and with a strong young lefty on the mound at home should have earned a line close to a pick ’em.
There’s also the advantage here of having a bunch of righties against Woodruff, who has preferred to pitch to lefties where he can use his change as a putaway pitch. I think the streak comes to an end here and Muller continues rolling.
Pick: Braves ML (+125)