Braves vs. Yankees MLB Odds, Picks & Predictions: Bet Atlanta to Jump Out to Early Lead (Tuesday, April 20)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images. Pictured: Ozzie Albies (#1) of the Atlanta Braves.
- The New York Yankees will take on the Atlanta Braves in Tuesday night MLB action.
- The Bronx Bombers have been anything but so far this season, struggling in many offensive categories.
- Mike Ianniello expects the Braves to get off to a fast start against the Yankess, even though they will be without Ronald Acuña Jr.
Braves vs. Yankees Odds
|Over/Under||8.5 (-120 / -102)|
|Time||6:35 p.m. ET|
A pair of former Pittsburgh Pirates will square off in the Bronx on Tuesday night. Charlie Morton will be on the mound for the Atlanta Braves and Jameson Taillon will get the ball for the New York Yankees.
It has been a surprising start to the season for Atlanta and New York. Both were the preseason favorite to win their respective divisions, and each enters this series with a losing record.
The Braves have already lost four-straight games on two occasions this season but have won three of their last four, including a 13-4 win over the Cubs on Sunday Night Baseball.
Things might be trending up for Atlanta, but they certainly are not for New York. The Yankees have lost five in a row, most recently a three-game sweep to Tampa Bay.
Morton is never going to blow you away with his stuff, but he has been a consistently solid pitcher for the last 10 years. Since 2011, Morton’s ERA has never been worse than 4.81 and never been better than 3.05. Through three starts this season, he has a 4.76 ERA, but his 2.63 FIP indicates he has experienced some bad luck.
As has been the staple for his whole career, Morton relies on his sinker (28.6%) and his curveball (28.6%) to keep the ball on the ground. “Ground Chuck” has produced a ground ball percentage of at least 41% in every year of his career. His 47.6% ground ball rate in 2021 is top-20 in the league.
Offensively, the Braves sit fifth in the league, scoring 5.06 runs per game. Atlanta has crushed right-handed pitching this season. It’s batting .240 against righties, ninth in the league, and it ranks fourth in slugging percentage and wOBA and fifth in wRC+.
Unfortunately for the Braves, it looks like they will be without Ronald Acuña Jr. Acuña left Sunday’s game with an abdominal strain after getting off to a phenomenal start. Acuña is batting .419 and leads the MLB in hits, runs, wOBA, wRC+ and home runs.
Freddie Freeman and Marcell Ozuna have both hit righties well this season, and they will need to have big games while Acuña (and likely Ozzie Albies) is out.
New York Yankees
Taillon will make his third start of the season for the Yankees and has struggled to a 7.56 ERA. In two outings, he has pitched just 8.1 innings, allowing 11 hits and seven runs. He does have an xFIP of 4.50 and a K/9 of 10.80, which is a positive sign that we could see better results soon.
Taillon pitching this season is a huge accomplishment, regardless of the results. Taillon has made just nine starts since 2018. In his career, he has undergone surgery for testicular cancer, as well as Tommy John twice.
Taillon has a 3.75 career ERA and early in this season, his 26.3 K% is the highest of his career despite his velocity being down. The Yankees desperately need Taillon to get going and help shore up the rotation behind Gerrit Cole.
The Bronx Bombers have been anything but this season. The Yankees rank 25th in runs per game, scoring just 3.67 per contest. New York finds itself 26th in batting average, 26th in wOBA and 22nd in wRC+. Most surprisingly, it’s tied for 19th with just 16 home runs.
Luke Voit, the 2020 MLB Home Run leader, has yet to play in a game this year, which is obviously a big hole in the lineup. But Aaron Hicks is batting .160, Giancarlo Stanton sits at .176, Gleyber Torres finds himself at .196, and even two-time batting champion DJ LeMahieu is hitting only .286. Jay Bruce was so bad in his 10 games with the Yankees that he literally retired.
Braves vs. Yankees Pick
In the interest of full disclosure… I am a New York Yankees fan. I watch every inning of every game (like an idiot). So, I know how lost this team has looked at the plate. The Yankees’ bats are going to break out eventually. They have to, right?
However, I think Charlie Morton is a tough pitcher to expect that breakout to come against. Morton pitches to produce ground balls, and the Yankees are eighth in the league in ground ball rate. The Bronx Bombers are built to hit the long ball, and Morton does a terrific job at limiting home runs, allowing just .076 HR/9 in his career.
The Braves have been one of the best teams in baseball against right-handed pitchers, and even without Acuña, I trust their offense a lot more than the Yankees right now.
New York does have a much better bullpen, so I will take the Braves first five innings at anything plus money.
Pick: Atlanta Braves First 5 innings ML +106 (Down to +100)