The Atlanta Braves (96-58) will attempt to win their fourth straight road game when they take on the Washington Nationals (53-100) on Tuesday night. Kyle Muller (1-1) is projected to start for the Braves, while Paolo Espino (0-7) will take the bump for the Nationals. First pitch is slated for 7:05 ET. Below we will continue our MLB odds series with a Braves-Nationals prediction and pick.

Kyler Muller will start tonight’s game for the Braves. This will be only Muller’s third start of the season for Atlanta. He is starting tonight so that Atlanta can have their top arms available for this weekend’s pivotal series against the Mets. In 134 innings in Triple-A this season, Muller held a 3.41 ERA and an eye-popping 29.3 strikeout rate. The southpaw most recently appeared for the big league club on August 13th. In 5 innings against the Marlins Muller allowed just 2 runs on 3 hits. Muller picked up the win in that game.

For the home team, Paolo Espino will make his 18th start of the season. The righty doesn’t have especially noteworthy stats for the season. Espino is still looking for his first win of the year. In 108 innings the 35-year-old holds a 4.17 ERA and has struck out 87 batters. He has been better as of late, though. In all three of his, September starts Espino has given up three runs or less. In his last outing against the Braves last week Espino gave up just one run in 4 innings of work. Washington eventually won that game, 3-2.

Here are the Braves-Nationals MLB odds, courtesy of FanDuel.

MLB Odds: Braves-Nationals Odds

Atlanta Braves: -1.5 (-128)

Washington Nationals: +1.5 (+106)

Over: 8.5 (-120)

Under: 8.5 (+100)

Why The Braves Could Cover The Spread

Atlanta is one of the best teams in baseball and they’re certainly playing like it. The reigning World Series champions have closed ground on the first-place New York Mets. With just two weeks remaining in the regular season, Atlanta trails New York by just a single game in the division. While these two teams will square off this weekend, a win tonight could give the Braves some breathing room as they attempt to come back and win the National League East. The Braves currently hold the fourth-best record in all of baseball – and it shows. They feature an excellent pitching staff and prolific offense.

On a team full of capable hitters it’s often difficult for a singular player to stand out. However, third baseman Austin Riley has done just that this season. The young slugger has hit .278 with 37 home runs and 92 RBIs this season. He is 4th in the MLB in homers and 9th in OPS. Riley has seen a good deal of success against Washington this year. In 66 at-bats against the Nationals Riley’s batting .288 with 8 home runs – the most homers, he has against any team in baseball. His power history against the Nationals is something worth keeping in mind when making a Braves-Nationals prediction.

For the season, Atlanta has dominated Washington to the tune of a 13-4 record. This includes last night’s victory in which the Braves shut out the Nationals 8-0.

Why The Nationals Could Cover The Spread

It seems like decades since the Nationals won the 2019 World Series. With their loss last night, Washington became just the seventh team to lose 100 games within three seasons of winning the World Series. The Nationals currently hold the worst record in the MLB by over three games. Incredibly, Washington has managed to be even worse at home than on the road as the ‘Nats are just 24-51 in D.C.

While the Washington pitching staff has allowed the second most runs in the league this season, their offense has not been any more impressive. After trading away franchise corner-stone Juan Soto at the trade deadline, Washington simply does not have a lot of household names in their lineup. 27-year-old Lane Thomas leads the team in both batting average and homers, compiling a .248 average and poking out 17 home runs. Long-time slugger Nelson Cruz has put together yet another formidable season for the club as his 64 RBIs lead the team.

If there is any hope for Nationals fans in their team covering the +1.5 line tonight, it lies in starter Paolo Espino’s prior success against Atlanta. Well, success may be a strong way of putting it but among Washington starters, Espino has faired the best. In 16 innings pitched to the Braves this year Espino holds a 4.96 ERA.

Final Braves-Nationals Prediction & Pick

On one hand, you have the fourth-best team in baseball. On the other hand, you have the absolute worst team in baseball.

Don’t overthink this one.

The Brave should win handily.

Final Braves-Nationals Prediction & Pick: Atlanta Braves -1.5 (-128)