Diamondbacks vs Braves Prediction Today | MLB Odds, Picks for Thursday, July 20

Diamondbacks vs Braves Prediction Today | MLB Odds, Picks for Thursday, July 20 article feature image

Pictured: Corbin Carroll. (Photo by Matthew Grimes Jr./Atlanta Braves/Getty Images)

Diamondbacks vs. Braves Odds

Thursday, July 20
12:20 p.m. ET
Diamondbacks Odds
MoneylineTotalRun Line
-110 / -110
Braves Odds
MoneylineTotalRun Line
-110 / -110
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.
Check out our MLB Betting Hub for more previews from today's slate.

Is this the best series of the year? If it isn't the best series, it has to be the most fascinating. 

Zac Gallen and Spencer Strider are tied atop the odds boards to win the NL Cy Young (+250), but the total is 9 because the heavy favorite to win NL MVP (Ronald Acuña Jr., -650) and the heavy favorite to win NL ROY (Corbin Carroll, -600) will also be on the field.

Braves vs. Diamondbacks is also a reflection of the current game. 

Gallen and Strider show us that no pitcher is safe this year. Both can look dominant on one night and hopeless the next.

There’s so much to unpack in this series finale, but I have two main questions:

1. When do we get to watch these teams play again?
2. How do we bet on this game?

Read on for my Diamondbacks vs. Braves best bet.

Arizona Diamondbacks

A team can win only so many games with defense and speed, right? The Diamondbacks are far from dominant offensively (their batted-ball profile is mediocre) and have a bottom-10 pitching staff by most metrics.

Can they actually win the NL West without elite hitting and pitching?

Well, I think some regression has hit as Arizona is 5-8 in July and was swept by the Mets and Blue Jays

I’m also not sure how elite the defense is. The Diamondbacks are 11th in Defensive Runs Saved, although they’re fifth in Outs Above Average and first in fielding percentage (.990).

The Diamondbacks put the ball in play (only the Nationals have a higher Zone Contact rate, and only the Guardians have a lower Whiff rate) and have the second-most steals in baseball. In short, they make the opponent play their style and don't gravitate toward the three true outcomes.

Nobody exemplifies that more than Corbin Carroll, Arizona's heart and soul. Just look at how he sprays the field … 

Starting pitcher: Zac Gallen (RHP)

Only Kevin Gausman has more pitching fWAR than Gallen this year. 

When thinking of Gallen, great command often comes to mind. He locates his pitches well — specifically his fastball on the corners (32.7% CSW!) and his secondaries at the bottom of the zone. 

But maybe he hasn’t been locating those secondary pitches so well. The Hard Contact and Barrel rates on his curveball-change mix has skyrocketed year-over-year, resulting in a career-worst batted-ball profile (18th percentile in average exit velocity, 25th percentile in Hard-Hit rate, 44th percentile in Barrel rate and a career-low 38.5% ground-ball rate). 

Gallen is allowing fewer free passes than ever (5.3%) so his FIP is great (2.90), but I think he’s leaving stuff in the zone, and hitters are making him pay.

It’s all added up to a 3.66 xERA and Gallen looks more like the guy we saw in 2021 than in 2022. 

By Pitching+, Gallen is the seventh-best qualified starting pitcher in baseball. He still has elite fastball command, but I’d project him as a mid-3.00s ERA guy in the future.

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Atlanta Braves

I’m impressed with the Braves bullpen. The relief unit, led by Raisel Iglesias, A.J. Minter, Kirby Yates, Nick Anderson, Joe Jimenez, Jesse Chavez and Collin McHugh, ranks: 

  • Third in ERA (3.58)
  • Sixth in xFIP (3.98)
  • Second in fWAR (4.0)
  • Third in K-BB% (18.3%)
  • 11th in WPA (1.98)

However, I’m a little worried about the bullpen in the series finale. Minter, Anderson and Chavez are all on the IL, and the healthy guys have been deployed over the past few days.

But great offense fixes everything. 

The Braves are 38-9 since June 1 and have a .907 OPS, a .367 xwOBA, an 11.1% Barrel rate and a 138 wRC+ during that stretch.

That said, I'll go out on a limb and say the Braves are overvalued as they’ve been overperforming for a while. 

Starting pitcher: Spencer Strider (RHP)

Strider’s fastball is insane. The velocity, movement, location and release point are all one-of-one. 

Spencer Strider dominates pic.twitter.com/5G8H4AZtyT

— Nick Pollack (@PitcherList) July 17, 2023

That fastball is why Strider’s 38.9% strikeout rate is six percentage points ahead of the field, why he’s on track to post the third-highest strikeout rate of any qualified starter in history and why his 14.3 K/9 would be the highest of any qualified starter in history during a single season. 

But Strider only throws three pitches. The Stuff+ model rates his slider slightly above average and his changeup as below average. 

So, when that fastball isn’t obliterating batters, guys can jump on Strider. 

Strider lost some velocity and spin on his fastball earlier this season and the results were disastrous. He allowed four earned runs against the Rangers, eight earned runs against the Mets, five earned runs against the Dodgers and five earned runs against the White Sox. 

The good news is Strider’s velocity has come back up. 

The bad news is his spin rates haven't. 

Strider and Gallen are similar as each boast elite fastballs and questionable batted-ball profiles. 

In fact, Gallen and Strider have identical Hard Contact rates (35.9%). 

However, Strider allows fewer ground balls and many more fly balls, which has gotten him into trouble this year.

Diamondbacks vs. Braves Betting Pick

Strider is likely the best pitcher in the National League, but he's also highly volatile. Meanwhile, we know what we're getting with Gallen.

Also, I think the Braves are overvalued.

I don't think they should be -190 favorites with the NL's fWAR leader starting against them.

I'm also worried that the Braves bullpen is stretched thin, while Arizona has all its relievers available aside from Andrew Chafin (paternity leave).

BallParkPal's model projects the Braves as -128 favorites, which feels right.

Strider is better, but the starting pitchers are largely comparable. The Braves offense is better, but is due for significant regression.

So, I'll buy the Diamondbacks as big underdogs.

Pick: Diamondbacks Moneyline | Play to +140

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