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Tuesday MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Red Sox vs. Braves: Bet the Over in Shaky Pitching Matchup (June 15)

Tuesday MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Red Sox vs. Braves: Bet the Over in Shaky Pitching Matchup (June 15) article feature image

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images. Pictured: Freddie Freeman.

  • A big-time MLB interleague series kicks off on Tuesday night in Atlanta when the Braves host the Red Sox.
  • Boston's offense has been struggling of late, although a matchup with lefty Tucker Davidson might be what the doctor ordered.
  • Tanner McGrath breaks down where he sees betting value in this game, delivering his analysis and best bet below.

Red Sox vs. Braves Odds

Red Sox Odds -102
Braves Odds -116
Over/Under 9.5
Time Tuesday, 7:20 p.m. ET
Odds updated Tuesday afternoon and via FanDuel.

This might be the most entertaining interleague game we’ll get all season.

When the Red Sox and the Braves meet Tuesday, we’ll have two high-powered offenses going up against two southpaws. Following the release of the first All-Star ballot update, Boston and Atlanta are two of five teams to have multiple starters.

So which star-studded team has the upper hand in this two-game series? Let’s dive into where the value lies in the opener.

Red Sox’s Bats Are Slowing Down

The Red Sox flat-out know how to win games. Thanks to a walk-off win on Monday night over the Blue Jays, the Red Sox are 40-27 overall, 12-9 against left-handed pitching and 27-18 against right-handers, 21-17 as favorites and 15-8 as underdogs.

Boston can beat you in most situations.

However, the Red Sox have somewhat struggled recently. They managed to split their four-game series with Toronto, but not without allowing 17 more runs than they scored. Before that, they sandwiched their sweep of the Yankees with losing a bunch of games to the Astros.

Uncharacteristically, Boston’s bats have cooled down recently. Over the past two weeks, the Red Sox boast just a .667 OPS, a .292 wOBA and an 82 wRC+, all of which rank among the bottom-10 teams during that stretch.

Slightly more characteristically, Boston’s pitching rotation has really struggled. Over that same timeframe, Red Sox starters rank 26th in FIP (5.32) and dead last in WHIP (1.77). Luckily, their ace Nathan Eovaldi gave his club a six-inning shutout gem on Monday night, and maybe that’s the momentum the unit needs to get back on track

And today’s starter really needs to get back on track.

Starting pitcher: Eduardo Rodriguez (LHP)

Eduardo Rodriguez has had a roller-coaster season.

Here are his month-by-month splits so far:

  • April: 4-0, 3.52 ERA, .87 WHIP, 5 2/3 innings per start
  • May: 1-4, 7.28 ERA, 1.89 WHIP, 4 2/3 innings per start
  • June: 0-0, 8.10 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 5 innings per start

Since May 1, Rodriguez has fallen apart. Most recently, he got shelled by the Astros, allowing six runs over 4 2/3 innings.

Here’s the good news: Rodriguez is due for some positive regression.

While his season-long ERA is 6.03, his FIP is below 4.00 and both his xERA and xFIP are about 3.50. His .370 BABIP is probably driving these numbers, and that should regress toward .300 as the season goes on. Additionally, he’s posted an above-average strikeout rate (25.8%) and a below-average walk rate (6.3%).

Rodriguez has a nice five-pitch mix, but let’s focus on his two most-used pitches: the four-seam and the changeup. On the four-seam, opponents have posted a .415 wOBA but just a .321 xwOBA; and on the changeup, opponents have posted a .319 wOBA but a .281 xwOBA.

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Atlanta Braves

The Braves have been underachieving.

Atlanta has an incredible lineup that is in the top 10 in most statistics. Headlined by Ronald Acuña Jr., Freddie Freeman, Austin Riley and Ozzie Albies, the Braves score 4.78 runs per game, good for ninth in MLB.

However, Atlanta’s pitching has been a disaster. Both the rotation and the bullpen are filled with questionable arms (i.e., Drew Smyly and Will Smith), and both units lack an alpha. Huascar Ynoa was on pace to become the ace in Atlanta, but it’s unsure when he’ll return from a broken hand.

Thus, the Braves have allowed 4.91 runs per game, which is ninth worst in MLB. The Braves rotation is 18th in MLB in FIP (4.35), while the bullpen is 24th in MLB in WHIP (1.40).

However, Braves fans are hoping this young lefty prospect will be Atlanta’s savior.

Starting pitcher: Tucker Davidson (LHP)

While he was awful in 2020, Tucker Davidson has been wildly impressive in 2021.

In the show this season, Davidson has pitched 17 2/3 innings over three starts while posting a 1.53 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP. He’s backed that up with three Triple-A starts that saw him post a 0.90 ERA and 0.60 WHIP.

In his most recent start, Davidson pitched six shutout innings against the Phillies while allowing just one hit. He also struck out nine and walked just one.

Tucker might be the real deal.

However, he might also not be, as he pairs those numbers with a 4.22 xERA and a 4.25 xFIP. His BABIP so far this season is just .180, and he’s stranding an unsustainable 90% of runners.

Davidson throws his fastball about half the time and has been very effective with it, allowing just a .393 SLG and a .327 wOBA on the pitch. However, he’s also posted a .564 xSLG and a .402 xwOBA on his fastball as well.

Davidson’s numbers are going to rise. The question is: How much? His average exit velocity is still fairly low (87.6 mph), and he’s been good at avoiding home runs this season (.51 per nine) and during his Minor League career.

All in all, the jury is still out on Davidson.

Red Sox-Braves Pick

The Red Sox are remarkable on the road. They’ve posted a 20-10 away record this season, and it’s mostly been on the back of their offense. On the road this season, the Red Sox are scoring 4.95 runs per game (seventh in MLB) while slugging .438 (fifth in MLB) and posting a .315 wOBA (ninth in MLB).

Meanwhile, the Braves bats heat up at home. While Atlanta’s offensive output has been good, its offensive numbers are much higher at Truist Park:

Braves 2021 Offense Home Away
OPS .789 .692
wOBA .338 .302
wRC+ 112 91

Additionally, we have two starting pitchers with highly questionable numbers and a Braves bullpen that is legitimately awful. Plus, the Red Sox bullpen is worn out. The Red Sox haven’t had a day off since May 27th, and their relievers have pitched the most innings of any team over the past seven days (34 1/3).

It’s also worth mentioning this could be a good matchup for both lineups. Both offenses are above average in weighted fastball runs created while both pitchers rely on their four-seam. Plus, the Braves rank third in weighted changeup runs created (10.3) – Rodriguez’s second-most used pitch.

Combine all this with the fact that the wind will be blowing straight out to center field at close to 10 mph, and we have an over play brewing. The total has gone over in six of the last seven games the Red Sox have played at Truist park, and I’m expecting more runs tonight.

Pick: Over 9 -102 (play to -115)

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