After the Atlanta Braves took the series opener from the Washington Nationals, 8-4, on Friday night, the series continues on Saturday. The Braves are massive favorites with a moneyline of -255 compared to Washington’s moneyline of +205. The game also has an over/under of 8.5 runs.
The Braves appear to be making their move in the NL East. They’ve won four in a row after Friday’s win, climbing above .500 for the first time this season. Atlanta has also won seven of its last 10 games and currently sits just one game behind the Philadelphia Phillies in the NL East despite being in third place.
Meanwhile, the Nats are a candidate to finish last in the NL East after their fire sale at the trade deadline. Washington has lost five in a row and gone 2-6 since the trade deadline. The Nationals have fallen 12 games under .500 and are just two games ahead of the Miami Marlins, so if they keep spiraling, they could end up in last place.
On Saturday, the Nationals will send rookie Josiah Gray to the mound. The Nats picked up Gray from the Dodgers last month in the trade that sent Trea Turner and Max Scherzer to the Los Angeles Dodgers. He had two uneven outings with the Dodgers before the trade but looked sharp in his Washington debut, giving up just one run on four hits over five innings against the Phillies.
Of course, Atlanta’s lineup will be no cakewalk for Gray, as the Braves are averaging more than seven runs per game during their winning streak and 6.1 runs per game over their last eight games. The trades that the Braves made at the trade deadline helped to give them more depth in their lineup and more options off of their bench. At the same time, Freddie Freeman, Austin Riley, and Dansby Swanson have all heated up over the last week.
With their offense rolling, the Braves will send Charlie Morton to the mound on Saturday. In his 22 starts this year, Morton is 10-4 with a 3.69 ERA. While he’s not been overly dominant, Morton has been consistent, allowing three runs or less in five straight starts while going at least five innings deep.
To be fair, the Washington lineup can hardly be blamed for the team’s losing streak. Even after losing some key pieces at the deadline, the Nats are averaging five runs per game during the month of August. They have four players who have hit two home runs in their last seven games, and Juan Soto isn’t even one of them, as Carter Kieboom and Yadiel Hernandez have taken advantage of getting regular playing time.
Turn the Tables
Obviously, there is a strong chance that the Braves win this game with their offense rolling and Morton likely to give them five or six solid innings. But the betting odds are so lopsided that it’s worthwhile to take a chance on Washington.
The Nats keep scoring runs, and Gray is a promising prospect with great stuff, so bet on the Washington Nationals, who have a ton of value at +205 despite their recent struggles.
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