The Washington Nationals will host the Atlanta Braves in the first game of a doubleheader on Wednesday. It’s time to continue our MLB odds series and make a Braves-Nationals prediction and pick. Each game of the back-to-back double-header will be seven innings each. This rule was implemented last season to limit exposure and shorten the duration of the day entirely. Seems it is here to stay. Atlanta will send out Max Fried and Washington will give the ball to Erick Fedde in Game 2. The Nationals took the series opener 6-5 on a walk-off home run from Juan Soto. It’s time to kick off our MLB odds series and make a Braves-Nationals prediction and pick.
Here’s how sportsbooks have set the opening Braves-Nationals odds.
MLB Odds: Braves-Nationals Odds
Atlanta Braves -1.5 (-103)
Washington Nationals +1.5 (-117)
Over 6.5 Runs (-120)
Under 6.5 Runs (+100)
Why The Braves Could Cover The Spread
The Atlanta Braves will hand the ball to left-hander Max Fried in game one of the doubleheader. Max was effective in his 2021 debut, holding the Phillies to just two runs in five innings of work. He was missing bats all day, tallying eight strikeouts in the outing. Fried was one of the best pitchers in baseball last season, recording a 2.25 ERA in 11 starts. He did struggle against Washington last year, though. The southpaw gave up three runs in five innings in his lone start against the Nats in 2020.
Atlanta had an uncharacteristic opening series against the Philadelphia Phillies. They were swept in a three-game set that saw no offensive output from the Braves. The Braves have one of the best lineups in baseball and will almost certainly get it going in the near future. Yesterday was a big step in the right direction as Atlanta blasted four long balls in the loss. Ronald Acuna Jr. was the catalyst in the Atlanta lineup with two dingers in the opener. He had five home runs against Washington last year and will look to continue his success against a familiar arm in Eric Fedde.
Why The Nationals Could Cover The Spread
The Washington Nationals are the first team to fall victim to the effects of COVID in 2021. After their opening series against the Mets was postponed entirely, the Nats were forced to postpone Monday's opener against the Atlanta Braves as well. They will make that game up on the back end of today's double-header. Eric Fedde will get the ball in game one for Washington. Fedde had a decent 2020, going 2-4 with a 4.29 ERA in eight starts. He gave up six runs in 8.2 innings against Atlanta last season.
Washington will face an uphill battle in the loaded NL East this season. Every team has gotten better and will hope to contend for the division crown. The Nationals made a few key moves to stay in contention. They brought on sluggers Kyle Schwarber and Josh Bell to add some pop to the heart of the order. Unfortunately for Washington, both players are currently on the injured list due to COVID. The Nationals will lean on NL MVP favorite Juan Soto, who hit a walk-off homer for the Nats in their season opener last night.
Final Braves-Nationals Prediction & Pick
The Braves' struggles to start the season aren't going to last long. Atlanta is arguably the most talented team in the NL East. They know that they have to get back on track quickly to stay afloat, especially against the team that's expected to finish last in the division. Atlanta will come out aggressive in the first game of the double-header and look to knock Eric Fedde out early. The Braves play with an added confidence with Fried on the bump as they've gone 5-0 in his last five road starts. Now, for my Braves Nationals prediction…
FINAL PICK: Atlanta Braves -1.5 (-103)