Red Sox vs Braves Prediction Today | MLB Odds, Picks for Tuesday, May 9
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images. Pictured: Masataka Yoshida
Red Sox vs. Braves Odds
|Red Sox Odds|
-120 / +100
-120 / +100
The Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves kick off a three-game set on Tuesday, with Nick Pivetta facing off against Charlie Morton.
The Braves are relatively heavy favorites despite both teams’ winning records, but I’m going to be looking at a different angle to bet on this game — an early over.
Let’s dive into why I expect runs aplenty early on in this game.
Pivetta is now in his fourth season with the Red Sox after coming over midway through the 2020 season. Each season has gotten worse for the righty, and we’re approaching the point where the Sunk Cost Fallacy has to kick in and the Sox may try to find a new home for the righty.
Here are Pivetta’s ERAs each season with the Sox with the number of innings in parentheses:
2020: 1.80 (10 IP)
2021: 4.53 (155 IP)
2022: 4.56 (179 2/3 IP)
2023: 4.99 (30 2/3 IP)
The numbers under the hood have also gotten worse each season, with the same pattern holding true for both his FIP and xERA in each of those four seasons.
The biggest issue seems to be that he is simply allowing more and more hitters to square him up. Here are his hard hit rates each of the past three seasons (Savant does not have split season data for 2020): 40.4%, 45.6%, 51.8%.
That 51.8% hard hit rate this season ranks in the bottom four percent in the entire league. He’s allowing batters to barrel 17.6 percent of their contact, a comically large number that spells doom against this Braves team.
Atlanta currently ranks first in all of baseball in hard hit rate — and by a notable margin. At 37.3 percent hard hit rate, they have a 1.5 percent lead on the Cardinals in second place.
Ronald Acuna Jr., Sean Murphy, and Matt Olson all rank in the top 20 in hard hit rate (min. 120 PA), and this lineup should absolutely be able to get to Pivetta.
However, keeping the Red Sox off the board may be a challenge in its own right.
The Red Sox sport the third-best wRC+ in baseball against right-handed pitchers this season (118), and while Charlie Morton’s ERA looks solid on the surface (3.38), there’s a fair amount to be worried about just below the surface. Most notably, Morton is also allowing a fair amount of hard contact this season, leading to a 5.24 xERA that would easily be a career high.
Morton is basically a two-pitch pitcher at this point, with a fastball and curveball and the Sox are elite against those two pitchers (fifth, per Savant, against right-handed fastballs and curveballs).
Morton’s strikeout rate is the lowest it has been since his pre-breakout Pirates day, and his walk rate is the highest it has been since his first season in Philadelphia (2016).
He has gotten pretty lucky to keep the ball in the yard this season, but given that the wind will be blowing out to left tonight, per Ballpark Pal (albeit with some cooler temps), that might not be a trend that maintains for Morton.
Red Sox vs. Braves Betting Pick
Add it all together and we have a recipe for a first five inning over. I want to target the first five innings for a few reasons. For one, these are two solid bullpens, both ranking in the top half of the league in bullpen ERA. They are also two fully rested pens, after an off days for both teams on Monday.
I also love to see that these are two of the top seven teams in terms of first five inning overs this season. This is not a tool I would use on its own, but rather at the end of my analysis to see if it happens to fit what I am seeing.
In baseball, the pitching matchup is the largest determinant for me, but seeing the Sox having gone 26-8-2 (+40.1% ROI) and the Braves having gone 19-12-4 (+12.9% ROI) to the over in first five inning bets this season definitely doesn’t hurt in this case.
It’s a high number, but I am still willing to go over 5.5 all the way to -115.
Pick: Over 5.5 +100
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