Red Sox vs. Braves MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Atlanta Offense Will Get to Richards Early

Red Sox vs. Braves MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Atlanta Offense Will Get to Richards Early article feature image
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Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Ian Anderson.

  • The Atlanta Braves chase a split against the Boston Red Sox in Wednesday's Interleague meeting.
  • Atlanta is just 2-9 in Interleague play this season, while Boston has been top notch en route to winning nine of 11 in the crossover between leagues.
  • Michael Arinze previews this affair below and explains why he likes the Red Sox to jump out to an early lead in this matchup.

Red Sox vs. Braves Odds

Red Sox Odds +135
Braves Odds -160
Over/Under 9
Time 7:20 p.m. ET
TV ESPN
Odds as of Wednesday morning via BetMGM.

The Atlanta Braves hope to get a split Wednesday to close out their series against the Boston Red Sox. The Braves is just 2-9 in Interleague play, whereas the Red Sox have won nine of their 11 games in this spot.

Boston will send Garrett Richards to the mound, with Ian Anderson opposing him for Atlanta. One of these pitchers could be trending up, and it might be a case of having the right opponent at the right time.

I’ll reveal who that pitcher is and we’ll see if the circumstances are good enough to warrant a play on either side in this matchup.

Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox came out swinging in the series opener, plating four runs in the first inning on back-to-back home runs by Rafael Devers and Hunter Renfroe. Boston took advantage of Atlanta rookie pitcher Tucker Davidson, who was making just the fifth start in the majors.

Boston could find things a bit more difficult against Anderson, who in his second year has already become one of the best young pitchers in the game at the age of 23.

Boston’s offense is ranked 10th, with a wRC+ value of 103. While it might seem it’s barely above average, you almost have to grade it on a curve considering how poor the hitting has been across baseball. In fact, Boston is one of only six teams with a batting average (.254) that’s above .250 this season.

However, I think this team should be even better and the one thing that keeps it from being the best offense in baseball is an unwillingness to draw more walks.

For a team that hits as well as Boston does, it’s surprising that their OBP is just .316. Boston is dead last in the league, with a walk rate of 7.1 percent.

Just think about this for a second, the Orioles (7.7%) and Diamondbacks (8.6%), who both have lost at least 13 games this season, have higher walk rates than the Boston Red Sox.

To put it bluntly, that should not happen by any stretch.

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Atlanta Braves

Atlanta’s offense isn’t too far behind Boston, as it’s 12th with a wRC+ value of 102 in the category. Its .317 OBP is only slightly better than Boston’s due to a .236 batting average. What I do like about Atlanta is that they’re not shy about taking their walks. The Braves are ranked ninth with a 9.5% walk rate.

That could be key in their matchup against Richards, who has a 4.35 BB/9 ratio. His lack of command has resulted in a 1.59 WHIP and 5.26 xERA.

Usually, pitchers can lose their feel for certain pitches if they have a large arsenal. But that’s not the case for Richards, who really only relies on three pitches: A four-seam fastball (57%), slider (26.4%) and curveball at 16.1% percent.

According to the Baseball Info Solutions stats, his four-seamer is the only pitch in his arsenal that received an above-average rating in runs saved (2.1). Using the same metric, Atlanta’s hitters are considered 14.3 runs above average when facing a fastball.

This will be Atlanta’s second look against Richards in less than a month after defeating him 3-1 in Boston. He lasted 5 2/3 innings but also had four walks in the outing.

I think that bit of familiarity will benefit the Braves even more, this time around as they look to earn a series split.

Red Sox-Braves Pick

I’m much more comfortable backing the Braves in this spot, especially with Anderson on the mound. The Atlanta right-hander is 7-5 with a 2.83 ERA in his first 18 games in the majors.

I get the sense that we’ll get a good performance out of him, especially since the Braves have lost each of his last three starts. It certainly hasn’t been for lack of effort, as Richards pitched seven innings of shutout baseball in his last outing, but the Braves couldn’t scratch a run until the ninth and lost 4-3 in extra innings.

That’s the kind of form I can get behind as I like Anderson’s chances against a free-swing Red Sox team that leads the league with a 35.3% swing rate on balls outside the zone.

As for Richards, he can be vulnerable in the early frames especially considering he’s trailed after five innings in each of his last four starts.

A first five money line wager could give some protection with, at worst, a push if the score remains tied after five. I like that option, along with the -150 odds I’m getting at BetMGM, and will make it my top selection.

Pick: Braves — First Five Innings ML (-150)

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