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Reds vs. Braves Odds, Pick & Preview: Tyler Mahle, Max Fried Should Shut Offenses Down Early (April 7)

Reds vs. Braves Odds, Pick & Preview: Tyler Mahle, Max Fried Should Shut Offenses Down Early (April 7) article feature image
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Carmen Mandato/Getty Images. Pictured: Max Fried

  • The Braves begin their World Series defense at home against the Cincinnati Reds.
  • With Tyler Mahle and Max Fried on the mound, offense could be limited -- at least early.
  • Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.

Reds vs. Braves Odds

Reds Odds +180
Braves Odds -210
Over/Under 8
Time 7:20 p.m. ET
TV ESPN2
Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

The Atlanta Braves kick off their title defense with a home series against the Cincinnati Reds, a team that spent most of the offseason unloading their good players.

The new-look Braves feature first baseman Matt Olson in place of departed franchise icon Freddie Freeman. The loss of Freeman has definitely left a pit in the peaches of Braves fans, but Olson is no slouch himself, and most of last year’s core remains in tact.

Maybe “new-look” is a reach. Let’s go with “similar-look.” Ah, the similar-look Braves.

The new-look Cincinnati Reds look … bad. But! Tyler Mahle is taking the mound, and although the Reds sold off some of their best assets this offseason, they still have a puncher’s chance to at least pass as a competitive team this season.

Mahle vs. the defending champs on the road may provide some interesting value in this season-opening matchup.

Reds Got Rid of Offensive Talent

Following a tumultuous offseason, the Reds are ready to begin their death-march to the NL Central cellar.

Last season, the Reds sported the second-worst offense on the road vs. LHP by wRC+ and their offense has gotten considerably worse following the departure of their best hitters, Nick Castellanos and Jesse Winker. Oh, and Eugenio Suarez is gone, too.

Even with those bats in the lineup, the Reds still struggled against LHP on the road.

Taking the mound for the Reds is Mahle, who absolutely shoved on the road last season to the tune of a 2.76 FIP.

Mahle looks to continue that trend against a Braves offense that was pretty unremarkable at home vs. RHP in 2021.

Mahle also reverse splits and a higher K/9 vs LHH in 2021. I believe this is something that Mahle will continue to do as he emerges as a frontline starter in 2022.

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Braves’ Offense Nothing Special at Home

The Braves look to start their title defense against what may seem like a soft-served opponent, but this particular match up is deceptively tough. Mostly because of who is pitching.

The Braves were slightly below-average with a 99 wRC+ at home vs. RHP in 2021. Even after the addition of Olson, the Braves’ lineup is very statistically similar to the offensive lineup that took the field for them last season.

On the other hand, Max Fried is healthy and Max Fried is good.

He’s especially good at home, where he posted a 3.10 FIP in 2021 and that includes his early season home blowup against the Miami Marlins prior to a stint on the injured list.

Reds-Braves Pick

This game is much more of a coin flip than people may realize. Mahle is an ace when he’s on the road and should be treated as such. This looks as though it could turn into a real pitchers’ duel.

One thing is for sure, both starters should be dialed in early, especially coming off an accelerated spring training.

However, the Reds’ bullpen was one of the worst units in MLB in 2021. That is why the under F5 seems to be a good play here. You could even consider buying that total down an extra half run if you want to play it safe.

Pick: F5 Under (-105 or better).

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