Wednesday MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Washington Nationals vs. Atlanta Braves Preview
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images. Pictured: Max Fried.
- The Atlanta Braves are a big favorite over the Washington Nationals on Wednesday afternoon as Max Fried gets the start, looking to bounce back after a poor start last week.
- Nick Martin is laying it with the Braves in the first five innings, counting on Fried to improve and Atlanta's offense to take care of business.
- Get his full Braves vs. Nats preview and pick below.
Nationals vs. Braves Odds
|Time||12:20 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM, updated Wednesday morning. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.|
Atlanta will send ace Max Fried to the hill Wednesday, looking to find a series win over the Nationals. Washington will counter with Josiah Gray, who was one of the main pieces in the deal that sent Max Scherzer and Trea Turner to the Dodgers.
Gray could have a bright future in the big leagues, but will we see him begin to put his raw ability together against the Braves?
Let’s break it down.
Fried Due To Bounce Back
Atlanta is projected to finish third with regards to offensive production this season by ZiPS and 5.01 runs per game. With Matt Olson starting off hot as he attempts to fill the void left by Freddie Freeman at first base, the Braves appear to be on the right track.
The Braves have hit effectively throughout the first six contests of the season, and get a better-than-average matchup here against Gray. A number of the Braves’ top batters have fared favorably over a small sample size against the young right-hander, who still appears to be quite a raw product at the big league level.
We have seen some excellent starting pitchers unable to find their top form coming out of a shortened spring training camp, and Fried has fit that bill. The southpaw was tagged for five earned runs over 5 2/3 innings on Opening Day against the Reds, although his xERA was 4.08.
Fried’s traditionally pinpoint command wasn’t quite where it normally is, but his velocity and spin rates appeared to be normal for him. With that, I expect a strong bounce-back performance on Wednesday.
Gray figures to be somewhat of a puzzle to start this season. Early indications seem to be that this is still a raw, young, talented pitcher who has not entirely figured out the art of, well, pitching.
Gray posted a 4.51 xERA with a 10.5 BB% and .348 wOBA last season. Starting in spring training, it appears he has regressed a bit. He had an ERA over 9.00 in the Grapefruit League, and then there was his first start of 2022 in the regular season against the Mets.
Gray allowed four earned runs over four innings on Friday against New York, walking two and allowing a 46.2% hard-hit rate. Gray has a reasonable stuff+ rating of 96.0, but that’s certainly not enough to cover up for days when he doesn’t have a lack of command.
Juan Soto has crushed Fried historically, but outside of the star outfielder, we shouldn’t expect much from this Nationals lineup that has struggled early against left-handed pitching this season.
Atlanta appears poised to make a strong run toward defending its World Series championship, and tomorrow sets up a great spot for the Braves to showcase that against a young starter like Gray.
Fried is obviously a firm candidate to bounce back from his poor Opening Day start, with underlying numbers that look reasonable.
Even if Fried lets the heart of this Nationals order get to him a bit, I still think we have a solid chance of at least pushing the Braves -1 in the first five innings. At +100, I feel we have enough value to make a play there. Look for the Braves offense to build upon Tuesday’s strong output on Wednesday afternoon.
Pick: Braves -1 First 5 Innings +100 (Play to -105)
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