June 17, 2015 (Posted at 5:00 PM ET)
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From here on, our full focus is on Major League Baseball where we are 17-8 on the season!
Take the UNDER 8 total runs in Atlanta Braves vs. Boston Red Sox risking 3% of the bankroll.
(Wood and Kelly must start for wager to have action)
Looking at the matchup between these two teams, we feel that the Under serves as the play with the most value tonight. Neither club has had much experience against either of the pitchers that will take the mound tonight and the ones who have had a few at bats have not had much success. Both pitchers also come into this contest after having a rough start in their last appearance. Joe Kelly struggled against Toronto, as most teams do while Alex Wood had a rough showing against the Mets. It would be easy to assume that because of their most recent performances, both pitchers will continue to struggle tonight but we don't believe that will be the case. Both are under-rated in some ways and more than capable of bouncing back. At the very least one of them should have a quality start.
Even though he doesn't have much experience against Atlanta in his career, Kelly does own a very respectable 1.46 ERA in 2 starts against the Braves. There are only 2 Braves that have had success against Joe Kelly, Andrelton Simmons & Chris Johnson, both of whom will be out of the starting lineup tonight. Meanwhile, the Red Sox have not seen Alex Wood before which could play towards the pitcher's advantage. Wood has a unique delivery which could baffle the Red Sox lineup in the early going. It may take Boston's hitters a couple of at-bats before they can get a grasp of the timing and delivery that Wood employs, which should help keep this game low scoring in the early innings. While the Braves bullpen has certainly struggled this season, they have been much better at home in the confines of Turner Field than they have been on the road.
This is a game which is being played now under NL rules which means there will be no designated hitters (DH) in the starting lineups. This severely impacts the Red Sox and has essentially taken David Ortiz out of the lineup. Ortiz is a power hitter who, even though he is struggling somewhat this season, has the ability to change the complexion of the game with a single swing of the bat. Not having the man who has 47 home runs in inter-league matchups in the lineup could definitely have an effect on the number of runs scored.
Perception also plays a big part in where we feel this total is listed at the moment. After a shootout between these two teams last night, the average sports bettor is one against expecting offense to dominate this meeting as well. A lot of Atlanta games have gone 'Over' this season and people don't realize that Vegas has already adjusted for that recently. People are still willing to jump on the bandwagon and follow the recent trend, even though the value now rests on the other side. The odds makers realize they will still get action on the Over when if they lists the total at 8 runs, when it really should be 7.5 or even 7 in our opinion! We believe the value is on the Under and to get the total at a whole number like 8 is valuable since even a 5-3 game would allow for a Push.
The Braves defense turned in 3 double plays last night and have 71 double plays on the season which ranks 2nd in the Majors! They are a very good defensive ball club and that has helped their pitching staff get out of some of the jams they have found themselves in. Even if the Red Sox bats threaten, to know that the Braves are a team that is capable of turning double plays can have a huge impact on the final score. Meanwhile the Red Sox have been playing some sloppy defense as of late but that is not something that we expect to continue. They are going through an extremely rough patch at the moment and we expect that they will be looking to tighten things up as they push for that much needed winning streak that has recently eluded them.
As an offense, the Braves are a team that has not relied on the long ball this season and in fact have only hit 41 total home runs on the season which ranks 29th out of 30 teams. They are a team that earns their way around the bases. Meanwhile the Red Sox are having a down year as well. After all of the major moves and acquisitions this team had made in the offseason, they have failed to live up to expectations on the offensive end and have struggled when they have had runners in scoring position. Boston ranks 20th out of 30 teams in runs scored this season.
Despite many casual fans expecting to see a high scoring game, there are a lot of trends that point to this game being a lower scoring contest. 70 Red Sox games have gone 'Under' compared to 50 going 'Over' when they have faced left-handed starters over the last 3 seasons! Also the Under is 90-72 when total has been listed at 8 or 8.5 runs over the last 3 seasons. For Atlanta, their games have gone Under 11 out of 16 times at Turner Field when the total is set at 8 or 8.5 runs! Historically their games have gone 'Under' as short home favorites as well under the leadership of Fredi Gonzalez who is a 'defense-first' type of guy emphasizing solidity. If this game can avoid going into extra innings, it should have 8 or less runs.
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