Padres vs Braves MLB Odds, Picks for Friday, April 7
Photo by Todd Kirkland/MLB Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: Ronald Acuna Jr.
- The Atlanta Braves host the San Diego Padres for the second game of a four-game series at Truist Park.
- Expert Kenny Ducey has targeted the game total given the weak starting pitching matchup between Nick Martinez and Jared Shuster.
- Continue reading for the Padres vs. Braves preview and pick.
Padres vs. Braves Odds
-110 / -110
-110 / -110
The Padres and Braves played one of the best games of the early season on Thursday. They meet again on Friday to see what kind of drama they can create for a sequel at Truist Park.
As opposed to the pitching matchup in the series opener, this one is between two unknown commodities — Nick Martinez and Jared Shuster — and therefore will be harder to predict. Let’s do our best to find a good betting pick here in our Padres vs. Braves preview and predictions.
I don’t mean to insult Nick Martinez by calling him an unknown commodity. After all, he did play for the winningest program in college baseball history, the Fordham Rams. He also had a stellar 2022 season in which he racked up a 3.47 ERA in 106 1/3 innings out of the bullpen for San Diego and became one of its most valuable players.
He did make 10 starts, and they weren’t pretty. He finished those with a 4.30 ERA in 52 1/3 innings as opposed to the 2.67 ERA he had in 54 innings out of the ‘pen. His 2023 opened up on a sour note as well in a loss to the Rockies where he gave up four runs on six hits and two walks over seven frames. It wasn’t necessarily a bad start — and he did some good things like limiting walks a bit better than he did last season — but ultimately you had to be expecting better against a team like the Rockies.
As for this Padres offense, it’s kind of mess — as I thought it might be until Fernando Tatis, Jr. returns from his suspension. San Diego has a measly 104 wRC+ and has really relied upon the Xander Bogaerts and his .360/.433/.840 slash to do the heavy lifting. Jake Cronenworth is hitting just .217 and Juan Soto just .160. Things look bleak, and that’s because the Padres are just 14th in barrels per plate appearance. Weak contact has been the name of the game with San Diego boasting one of the lower strikeout rates around.
Are you ready for another episode of the Jared Shuster Experience? I hope you had fun the first time around, when the left-hander yielded four earned runs on six hits and five walks against the lowly Washington Nationals. Shuster is being called upon once again with Collin McHugh nursing an injury, and the Braves will be hoping he can regain some of the magic from the early part of the 2022 season.
That’s about the only time Shuster has been able to look competent as a professional, when he registered a 2.78 ERA in 90 2/3 innings at the Double-A level. From there he would record a 4.25 ERA in Triple-A, and after a 1.45 ERA in 18 2/3 innings this spring he was elevated to the big leagues.
Shuster did average 2.5 walks per nine at the minor-league level, even with some decent strikeout numbers, so while we may not see him walk five batters again like he did against Washington, he’ll likely still struggle in that department.
The Braves, though, have been hitting the cover off the ball. They’re second in barrels per plate appearance and eighth in hard-hit balls per swing. They’ve managed to strike out in just 20.6% of plate appearances and all in all have a 123 wRC+ which is the seventh-best in baseball.
Padres vs. Braves Betting Pick
I can’t see a way out of trouble for either of these pitchers. I’m still optimistic Martinez can figure it out as a starting pitcher, but he’s going to have to face one of the most dangerous lineups in baseball and do so on the road. On the other hand, Shuster might as well be making a spot start for the Baltimore Orioles; this youngster has really shown us nothing throughout his time as a pro.
Even though I dislike the Padres’ offense, I have to relent here. This team will certainly scratch across some runs against Shuster despite hitting just .181 against lefties in the early going. San Diego has competent right-handed bats, and will likely only need three runs to get us to the over here.
I do like betting on this high number and backing one of the best offenses in baseball to do the heavy lifting.
Pick: Pick: Over 9.5 (-110)
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