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MLB Playoffs Odds, Picks & Predictions: Miami Marlins vs. Atlanta Braves NLDS Game 3 (Thursday, Oct. 8)

MLB Playoffs Odds, Picks & Predictions: Miami Marlins vs. Atlanta Braves NLDS Game 3 (Thursday, Oct. 8) article feature image

Carmen Mandato/Getty Images. Pictured: Sixto Sanchez.

  • The Miami Marlins enter Game 3 of their NLDS series down 0-2 to their division rival Atlanta Braves.
  • Brad Cunningham sees a pitching edge in the Marlins' favor for this must-win game. Can Miami stave off elimination on Thursday?
  • Check out the full game preview, including how to bet tonight's matchup.

Marlins vs. Braves Game 3 Odds

Marlins Odds -131 [BET NOW]
Braves Odds +110 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 9 (-110/-110) [BET NOW]
First Pitch 2:08 p.m. ET

Odds as of Thursday at 12 p.m. ET and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.

The Marlins’ bats went quiet in Game 2 as Ian Anderson and the Braves bullpen pitched a three-hit shutout. Miami is now on the brink of elimination and will turn to its ultra-talented prospect Sixto Sanchez to try and keep the season alive.

Atlanta’s bats were also pretty quiet in Game 2, but did just enough to get the job done. The Braves will send their former first-round pick Kyle Wright to the mound in Game 3 to try pull off a sweep of their division rivals.

Advanced Stats Glossary

FIP or Fielding Independent Pitching measures what a pitcher’s ERA would look like if the pitcher experienced league-average defense and luck. xFIP  is a regressed version of FIP that adjusts or “normalizes’ the home run component based on park factors.

wRC+ or Weighted Runs Created Plus takes the statistic Runs Created and adjusts that number to account for critical external factors — like ballpark or era. It’s adjusted, so a wRC+ of 100 is league average, and 150 would be 50 percent above league average.

wOBA or Weighted On-Base Average is a catch-all hitting metric with more predictive value than on-base percentage. An average MLB hitter can be expected to post a .320 wOBA. xwOBA is a regressed version of wOBA that accounts for variables like park factors.

BaseRuns is a formula designed to estimate how many runs a team would be expected to score (or allow) given their underlying offensive (or defensive) performance. In other words, BaseRuns is a context-neutral run estimator used to evaluate teams. Major League average for an individual batter per game is 0.50 BaseRuns and a for a pitcher its 0.52 BaseRuns per inning.

Offensive Matchup

Atlanta Braves

Atlanta had the best offense in baseball during the regular season, and it showed in Game 1. The Braves led MLB in wOBA at .355 and maintained that over the last two weeks of the season at .354.

The Braves have the best 1-2-3 hitters in baseball in Ronald Acuna, Freddie Freeman and Marcell Ozuna, who have combined for 45 home runs and 138 RBIs and all have a wOBA over .400 this season.

Additionally, the Braves were the best team in MLB against right-handed pitching, with a .363 wOBA. Sanchez is one of the best right-handed prospects in the game, so Thursday’s matchup will be fascinating.

Miami Marlins

Since the fourth inning of Game 1, the Marlins have managed only six hits and one run in the last 14 innings. This was a continuation of the regular reason for the Marlins’ offense, for lack of a better word, stunk. The last two weeks of the regular season, the Marlins accumulated a .297 wOBA and 88 wRC+, which ranked 25th in MLB.

A lot of the Marlins’ success this year has come against left-handed pitching, but they’ve struggled versus righties. During the regular season, Miami hit for only a .298 wOBA and 89 wRC+ against right-handed pitching, which ranked 26th in MLB.

Starting Pitching Matchup

Kyle Wright vs. Sixto Sanchez

2020 Stats (via Fangraphs)

Kyle Wright, RHP

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Kyle Wright’s 2020 season hasn’t really gone according to plan. Wright has posted a 5.21 ERA and 5.33 xFIP and has had issues with his control. Wright has a staggering 5.68 BB/9 and 1.66 HR/9 rate, which isn’t great for a former fifth-overall pick.

Wright’s issues can’t be narrowed down to one pitch, as he’s struggled with his entire arsenal this year. His sinker has been his best pitch though, allowing only  a .200 average to opponents.

Watching Wright on film, his best two pitches are clearly his fastball and slider because his changeup and sinker don’t have a lot of movement. His fastball has good velocity, sitting around 96-98 MPH, but it’s straight as an arrow, which is probably why it’s been tagged for a .409 wOBA this year.

His slider is pretty slick though, with good late-breaking action and good velocity, so it can be disguised well with his fastball. However, he also hasn’t found much success with it, allowing a .363 wOBA to opponents. The Marlins’ offense struggles against right-handed pitching, so if Wright can get his arsenal under control, he has a chance to be effective in Game 3.

Sixto Sanchez, RHP

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Although Sanchez’s numbers aren’t fantastic, he throws some electric pitches. He usually sits in the upper-90s with his fastballs, he has a two-seamer that has crazy run and sinking action on it and a four-seamer that tops out above 100 MPH.

Even though his fastball has amazing action, his best pitch so far in the big leagues has been his changeup. He throws it more than any other pitch (26.7% of the time) and opposing hitters haven’t been able to touch it, accumulating a .148 average against it.

Sixto Sanchez, Gross 89mph Changeup. 👌

— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 18, 2020

Sanchez is going to face his toughest test yet, as the Braves tagged him for four runs in his final regular season start.

Bullpen Matchup

The Marlins’ bullpen has been an issue for them all season long, and it showed in Game 1. Miami has the 26th-best ERA (5.50) and 29th-best xFIP (5.39) in MLB. Its bullpen will likely be its Achilles heel in this series. Even though they shut down the Braves in Game 2, its only a matter of time before they implode against the league’s best offense.

Atlanta counters with a bullpen that ranks in the top half of MLB in both ERA and xFIP. The Braves’ pen has shut Miami down in the first two games of this series, allowing one run on three hits over 9.1 innings. The Braves have the clear advantage in the later innings in this series.

Projections and Pick

The Wright/Sanchez matchup is a huge mismatch in the Marlins’ favor, so much so that I project the Marlins as favorites for the first five innings of this game. So, I’ll take Sixto and the Marlins for the first five innings at +106 (DraftKings) and would play it up to -103.

The Pick: Marlins ML First Five Innings +106

[Bet the Marlins F5 at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

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