Sunday MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Giants vs. Braves: Expect Offensive Struggle in Crucial NL Clash (August 29)

Sunday MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Giants vs. Braves: Expect Offensive Struggle in Crucial NL Clash (August 29) article feature image
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Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani.

  • The San Francisco Giants take on the Atlanta Braves in a key National League matchup on Sunday's card.
  • San Francisco sends Anthony DeSclafani to the mound, where he'll face fellow hurler Ian Anderson in a battle of intriguing pitchers.
  • Analyst Kenny Ducey breaks down the confrontation below and details why he isn't expecting many runs.

Giants vs. Braves Odds

Giants Odds +105
Braves Odds -125
Over/Under 9 (-105 / -115)
Time 1:20 p.m. ET
TV TBS
Odds as of Sunday morning via DraftKings.

Two of the hottest teams in Major League Soccer meet in a thrilling rubber match Sunday when the San Francisco Giants take on the Atlanta Braves.

San Francisco comes in having won six of its last seven, while Atlanta is just a handful of days removed from having a nine-game winning streak snapped.

Despite the great form on both sides, could we see a pitchers’ duel in Atlanta? Let’s look into the matchup and see if the total is worth targeting.

San Francisco Feeling Pressure From Los Angeles

Just to get one thing out of the way. The Giants’ lead in the NL West is just 2 1/2 games. It seems all but certain that they’ll make the postseason, but their chances of avoiding the wild-card game are becoming slimmer by the day. Despite six wins in seven tries, and eight consecutive series wins, the Dodgers continue to close the gap in the division.

So, while plenty of other teams in the league are hitting cruise control as we drive into September, the Giants are not. Every win matters and a ninth series victory in a row is right on the table.

Anthony DeSclafani will get the start here, and it’s a mystery as to how he’ll look. Not only did he exit his last start against the Mets with ankle inflammation, he’s also been incredibly volatile this year. He has looked like a well above-average starter at times, but has had his fair share of strange performances like a clunker against the Diamondbacks earlier this month where he allowed five runs in 4 1/3 innings.

DeSclafani still grades out as an effective starting pitcher with his 3.78 xERA, and his .358 xwOBA on contact is right in line with previous seasons. His 40.1% hard-hit rate is probably most concerning of all, given he’s pretty average in the strikeout and walk departments.

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Atlanta Hoping Anderson Delivers Big Start

On the other side, Ian Anderson will get the ball for Atlanta. He’s been a very confusing player, bursting onto the scene in 2020 with a spectacular fastball and absolutely shoving in the postseason before going through it in 2021. While he’s leveled out a little bit with a 3.56 ERA, it’s a far cry from the season he last last year, posting a 1.95 ERA in 31 1/3 innings with superb expected stats and a 29.7% punchout rate.

Anderson is allowing many more hard-hit balls and barrels this year, which on the surface probably isn’t the most worrying thing. His sample size from last year was small, after all, and a strikeout pitcher often allows hard-hit balls in exchange for plenty of swings and misses to cancel out the damage done in that department.

A 5.4% drop in strikeouts is something worth reading into, however, with a steep drop in whiffs on his changeup and curveball. Perhaps a fourth pitch would help his arsenal, but that’s talk for the off-season.

The 23-year-old right-hander has still turned in some solid outings this year, racking up 29 strikeouts in 26 2/3 innings last month and trading two good starts this month for a bad one in his last trip to the hill in Miami. He should be backed by the better offense here as well, seeing as the Braves have posted a respectable .742 OPS over the last two weeks.

Giants-Braves Pick

The one thing that hasn’t changed with Anderson is his bout with control. He walked 10.1% of the batters he faced in 2020, and again has walked 9.7% of them this season. He walked five Marlins last time out, and his performance in the walk column has more times than not dictated how his start will go.

Well, I did just mention how the Braves would be the stronger offensive side here, but by no means is that .742 OPS that great. It still ranks 13th in the bigs over the last 14 days with San Francisco trailing behind in 19th place. I’m also really interested to see how Anderson’s start goes against a team with just a 6.3% walk rate in that same time-frame. San Francisco’s lack of patience could help Anderson to a much-needed rebound start.

DeSclafani has been very dependable for San Francisco and should have the tools to slow Atlanta’s roll here and turn this one into a low-scoring affair.

Pick: Under 9 (-115)

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