Diamondbacks vs. Braves MLB Odds & Picks: Back Offenses vs. Bumgarner & Smyly (Saturday, April 24)
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images. Pictured: Madison Bumgarner.
- Madison Bumgarner and Drew Smyly gets starts today, with each pitcher looking to improve on a slow start to the season.
- Both teams are hovering around .500 on the season, so backing a moneyline might not be the best play.
- D.J. James explains why he's targeting the total, below.
Diamondbacks vs. Braves Odds
|Time||7:20 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Friday and via BetAmerica.|
Two veteran, over-the-hill southpaws face each other in the second game of the three-game set between the Atlanta Braves and the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Both teams hover around .500 with similar batting skills, while the pitching results have been subpar, to say the least. With there be plenty of runs scored, or does one side have an edge?
The Arizona Diamondbacks impressively swept the Reds in Cincinnati earlier this week, but they seem to be swinging above their paygrade as of now. Will that last?
Well, they currently have the league’s weakest pitching, according to Statcast. They have a .376 xwOBA against and a 44% hard hit rate, so their pitching will not be doing them any favors. These stats are combined for both the starters and the bullpen, and outside of one start, Madison Bumgarner, has not necessarily shown any positive outcomes. He currently holds a .412 xwOBA against with a 46.6% hard hit rate this year, which carried over from last season, as well. His tenure in Arizona has not gone well, but Atlanta tends to struggle against left-handed pitchers this year, so that ball is still up in the air.
On the hitting side, Arizona absolutely crushes left-handers. They are third in the MLB with nine homers off of southpaws and a .922 OPS. They should be able to handle Drew Smyly early, who also has not been flashy this season with a 61.3% hard hit rate. If anything, his only redeeming quality is that he only walks 2.3% of batters.
Frankly, this just means the Diamondbacks should be ready to hit. They do draw walks at the highest rate in the MLB (11.5%), so this should show they know their zones. This should lead to plenty of hard hit balls for the Snakes.
Atlanta, as stated before, cannot hit lefties yet this year. They only have a .655 OPS and 79 wRC+ so far against left-handers. Yes, Bumgarner only has one strong appearance this season, but when a team only sports a sub-.300 OBP against a type of pitcher, it is concerning. On the other hand, they have an absurd BABIP of .222 against lefties, so this is pretty indicative of poor luck.
Atlanta, like Arizona, likes to walk (10.7%), and since Bumgarner tends to keep the ball in the strike zone, the Braves should be ready to hit. This could be conducive to some production on the hitting side for them. Expect the Braves to at least compile some runs early to stay in line with the Diamondbacks.
Atlanta’s bullpen, unfortunately, is below average with a 4.41 xFIP. Arizona is right in that same ballpark, so the Braves need to get the bats going to maintain the pace. Otherwise, Arizona will carry a lead into the late innings with weak bullpens for both teams.
Given how the Braves have lacked any semblance of success off of left-handed pitching this season, expect them to manufacture some runs for the first time in a while with an accurate pitcher who allows plenty of hard contact in Madison Bumgarner.
The D-Backs should continue hitting off of a similar-profiled pitcher like Drew Smyly who will throw a fair amount of strikes but will also allow a team who throttles lefties to score early.
Neither of these teams necessarily has the edge in the moneyline or the spread. It could be a shootout, and this is the play. Currently, the line is 9 (-110), so take this as early as possible and play to 9.5 (-110). There is plenty of leeway here, and it could look like the Arizona/Cincinnati shootout from Thursday afternoon.
Pick: Over 9 (-110), play to 9.5 (-110)