Twins vs Braves Prediction Today | MLB Odds, Picks for Monday, June 26
Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images. Pictured: Royce Lewis.
- The red-hot Atlanta Braves host the Minnesota Twins at Truist Park on Monday night.
- The Twins face a tall task against Braves starter Spencer Strider, but our MLB expert thinks Minnesota presents good value.
- Continue reading for a preview of Twins vs. Braves below, which includes a betting pick on the moneyline.
Twins vs. Braves Odds
Two division leaders meet at Truist Park on Monday night as the Atlanta Braves battle the Minnesota Twins.
Minnesota enters Monday with a two-game lead over the Cleveland Guardians for first place in the AL Central, aka the worst division in baseball. The Twins have been quite average all season, but they are in a good position to make the playoffs if they can win the division. They'll send one of their best pitchers, Sonny Gray, to the mound in hopes that he can hold his own against Spencer Strider.
The Braves are coming off a thrilling series win over the Cincinnati Reds, an explosive three-game set in which a total of 47 runs were scored.
Despite a number of injuries to its pitching staff, Atlanta has a comfortable six-game lead in the NL East. The hottest team in baseball, the Braves have won nine out of their last 10 games, so the Twins have their hands full.
Sonny Gray has pitched well this season, but he is due for a little regression.
He's posted a 2.56 ERA, but his xERA is over a full run higher at 3.77. One of the big reasons why Gray has overperformed is his ability to suppress the long ball — he's allowed just two homers in 15 starts (81 innings) this season. However, as you can see below, his hard-hit rate, average exit velocity and barrel rate are nothing to write home about.
Another reason why Gray is overperforming is his ability to mix pitches.
He has five pitches he throws at least 15% of the time, and when you dig into the Stuff+ numbers, it's actually pretty encouraging. Overall, Gray's Stuff+ is 101, which is above average — he has three pitches (fastball, slider, cutter) that have a rating over 100.
The Twins lineup has been average overall, and pretty much all of their success has come against right-handed pitching. The Twins are 12th in wRC+ against righties, but 27th against lefties, so it's a good thing they are facing a righty …
However, they're facing one of the best fastballs in the game today. Spencer Strider averages 97 mph on his fastball and throws it 59.3% of the time.
The Twins are quite bad when they have to face velocity. Per Baseball Savant, they only have a .223 xwOBA and .172 xBA against right-handed fastballs that are at least 97 mph.
The red-hot Braves have quietly extended their lead in the NL East. They haven't been doing it with their pitching (they gave up 23 runs in their series with the Reds), but with one of the best offenses in baseball.
The Braves lead MLB in wOBA (.354 )and have the favorite to win NL MVP in Ronald Acuna Jr. Over the last 30 days, they have a .377 wOBA and 136 wRC+, which is far and away better than any other offense.
The reason the Braves offense is so good is because there's really no single pitch type that gives them issues. The one exception is splitters, a pitch Gray doesn't throw.
Without a doubt, Spencer Strider has some of the best stuff in the game. His Stuff+ rating of 127 and Pitching+ rating of 114 leads all qualified starting pitchers — that being said, he's had some shaky starts of late. He gave up eight runs to the New York Mets, five runs to the Detroit Tigers, and up until his last start, at least two runs in nine straight starts.
Strider's xERA sits at 3.36, which is a full run higher than it was last season. He's very reliant on his fastball, which has a ton of velocity. However, he's been a little off with his fastball location, allowing a .340 xwOBA compared to .280 last year.
The Twins may have a decent chance even if they're poor against high velocity.
Twins vs. Braves Betting Pick
While he's one of the best pitchers in baseball, Strider has struggled in his last few starts. His average fastball velocity is also down from 98.2 mph to 97 mph this season, which is significant, and a reason why I think the pitch hasn't been as dominant.
The Twins have been above average against right-handed pitching and are mostly healthy — with the exception of Byron Buxton (back) — for the first time in a while after getting Royce Lewis into the lineup.
The Braves don't have a big advantage in the bullpen. They have the exact same Stuff+ rating as the Twins, and their xFIP, K-BB ratio and LOB% aren't significantly better.
I only have the Braves projected at -153, so I like the value on the Twins at +175 (Caesars).
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