The Braves enter the series after losing two of three to the Phillies. They have now lost five of their last six games, but have already clinched the division crown. While they went to ten innings yesterday, most of the losses have not been close. In the five losses, they have allowed 40 runs while scoring just 13. As the season comes to a close though, the focus for the Braves is on the postseason.
Meanwhile, the Nationals took two of three from the White Sox, including a huge 13-3 win yesterday. The Nationals are well out of playoff contention though, and just look to finish out the season strong. At 68-85, they have exceeded some expectations this year. their preseason win total was just 59.5 games, and the above-expected season earned their GM, Mike Rizzo, a new contract.
Here are the Braves-Nationals MLB odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
MLB Odds: Braves-Nationals Odds
Atlanta Braves: -1.5 (-160)
Washington Nationals: +1.5 (+122)
Over: 9 (-115)
Under: 9 (-105)
How To Watch Braves vs. Nationals
Time: 7:05 PM ET/ 4:05 PM PT
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Why The Braves Could Cover The Spread
While the Braves have struggled pitching as of late, they have been solid on the season. The Braves sit 14th in team ERA while sitting 17th in WHIP and 11th in opponent batting average. Max Fried heads to the mound for the Braves today He is 7-1 on the season with a 2.64 ERA. This month, Fried has been solid. He has pitched 18 innings over three starts and given up just four runs. That is good for a 2.00 ERA and a 2-0 record. Meanwhile, the Braves have won all three of his starts in September.
It is the Braves bats that make them the best team in baseball. The Braves sit first in the majors in runs scored, batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging this year. Austin Riley comes into this game hot for the Braves. He is hitting .348 over the last week with two home runs and a double. That has led to five RBIs and four runs scored. Ozzie Albies also has five RBIs over the last week. He has done it while hitting .370 with a .414 on-base percentage. Albies has also hit three doubles and scored five times in the last week.
The hottest bat in the lineup belongs to Ronald Acuna Jr. He is hitting .529 in the last week. Acuna has hit two home runs and a double, which has helped him have three RBIs. Meanwhile, he has stolen two bases and scored six times in the last week. Joining him in hitting well is Marcell Ozuna. He is hitting .318 with a .400 on-base percentage in the last six games. He has a home run and two doubles leading to four RBIs while scoring three times.
As a whole, the Braves are hitting .269 with a .322 on-base percentage in the last six games. They have hit 10 home runs in those games as well, which have aided in them scoring 27 times. Still, runs are being left on the table. The Braves had an expected run total of 33.4 over the last six games.
Why The Nationals Could Cover The Spread
The Nationals put up 13 runs yesterday, the most runs they have scored in a game this year. On the year the Nationals are 22nd in runs scores while sitting 12th in batting average, 23rd in on-base percentage, and 23rd in slugging. Joey Meneses and Lane Thomas were both a huge part of the win yesterday for the Nationals, and both come into this game producing well. Meneses is hitting .333 in the last week with a .370 on-base percentage. He has two home runs and a double in the last seven games, leading to seven RBIs and four runs scored.
Lane Thomas is hitting just .148 but has a .226 on-base percentage. He has two home runs as well with a double, which has led to six RBIs. Thomas has also stolen a base and scored three times. Luis Garcia is scoring a lot of runs as of late. He scored six times in the last week while getting on at a .391 rate and hitting .333. He has also hit two home runs and two doubles, plus has a stolen base.
The Nationals are hitting just .208 in the last week while getting on base at a .272 rate. They have hit eight home runs in the last week with 13 doubles and two triples. This makes just under half of their hits in the last week for extra bases. They have scored 28 times in the last week on an expected 25.2 runs.
On the hill today for the Nationals will be Jake Irvin. He is 3-6 on the year with a 4.34 ERA. He has been better in five of his last six starts. Last time out, he went 4.2 innings and gave up four runs. Before that, he was on a streak of good starts. In the five starts prior, he went five or more innings in all of them, giving up one or fewer runs in three, and just two or three in the others.
Final Braves-Nationals Prediction & Pick
While the Braves have not been good as of late, they have a major pitching advantage today. Max Fried has been solid all year long since getting back from injury. Meanwhile, Jake Irvin has been good, but not great. Last time out, he gave up two home runs, and he has seen issues with the long ball this year. That’ll be a problem against this powerful Braves attack. Ronald Acuna Jr. is just one home run shy of becoming the first ever 40 home run and 60 stolen base player in MLB history. He is also three stolen bases shy of 70 stolen bases. He gets the home run in this game, becoming a 40-60 player. Acuna also leads the Braves to a big win.
Final Braves-Nationals Prediction & Pick: Braves -1.5 (-160)