Two teams that do not think fondly of each other as a pair of NL East rivals in the Washington Nationals and the Atlanta Braves go head-to-head on Saturday. Join us for our MLB odds series, where our Nationals-Braves prediction and pick will be revealed for all to see.
Washington was absolutely manhandled on Friday in a 12-2 loss, as the ‘Nats could not get their bats going and had trouble keeping the surging Braves off the scoreboard all night long. Now losers in eight of their last nine, something obviously needs to change in order for the Nationals to come out with a rare victory. Tasked with helping his squad return to the win column will be the scuffling lefty in Patrick Corbin. Corbin is 4-10 with a swelling 5.68 ERA on the season.
The defending champions are back! After the homer-happy Braves belted four home runs on Friday, they will be eager to do the same in game two of this divisional series. In an attempt to win their 13th game in their last 19 tries, Atlanta will send out the extremely efficient Kyle Wright with his tremendous 9-4 record and sparkling 2.91 earned-run average.
Courtesy of FanDuel, here are the Nationals-Braves MLB odds.
MLB Odds: Nationals-Braves Odds
Washington Nationals: +1.5 (-102)
Atlanta Braves: -1.5 (-118)
Over: 9.5 (-105)
Under: 9.5 (-115)
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Why The Nationals Could Cover the Spread
With the poorest record in all of the National League, the former World Series champions from only a few short seasons ago have gone from first to worst in the blink of an eye. Obviously, the ‘Nats have lost important pieces from that championship squad, but no one expected Washington to suffer this greatly a couple of years later.
Nevertheless, Washington still has the capability to find a way to cover the spread against the Braves this afternoon. In order to do so, the ‘Nats cannot afford to get behind the eight ball in the early stages of the ballgame. With a more than ideal .317 on-base percentage and a top ten batting average statistically in the league at .249, it is a surprise that Washington's record is as bad as it is. That is until you take a look at their pitching numbers.
Lackluster pitching performances have for the most part spoiled any fun that the Nationals had been planning on having during the 2022 season. In fact, this team's ERA is so gross that it makes your local Target bathroom look like the gateways of heaven. Washington starters have only recorded 20 quality starts and are also dead-last in WHIP with a 1.48 mark. Can Patrick Corbin begin to reverse this trend? Well, he hasn't been all that himself. Although, he is coming off two of his best performances on the season as he has only surrendered two runs over those outings. Washington has won just once in their last nine games, so they are more than desperate for a vintage Patrick Corbin start this afternoon.
Why the Braves Could Cover the Spread
As all of us know, the Braves started the season on life support and seemed to be struggling to adjust to life without Freddie Freeman for the first couple of months of the campaign. Shortly after however, the Braves struck gold. Fast forward to July, and Atlanta is bafflingly 50-35 through 85 games. They are an astounding 27-8 since June 1st which is the best record in the National League over that stretch.
With the return of Ronald Acuna Jr. in the outfield, this offensive attack at the plate has gone berserk. Yesterday's twelve-run performance was the perfect example, as Atlanta got after Washington pitching by scoring six runs in the first two innings and never looked back afterward. Not to mention, but the four home runs hit on Friday further boosted the Braves' top slugging percentage in the league to a frightening .446 mark.
Since the bats came out of hibernation a few weeks back, this pitching unit has also gained some confidence with each passing game. With top dogs Max Fried and Charlie Morton in the rotation, some baseball fanatics have overlooked Kyle Wright's impressive start to the 2022 season. Wright has yet to face the Nationals this year with his last appearance against them coming all the way back on Sept. 13th. 2020. The Braves' chances of covering the spread will increase rapidly with another solid day at the office from the 26-year-old Alabama native.
Final Nationals-Braves Prediction & Pick
To make a long story short, the ‘Nats are in trouble this afternoon. Suspect pitching combined with how well the Braves have played to put themselves back in contention is not a winning formula for Washington. With a shaky 16-25 out on the road, don't expect Washington to play inspiring ball on Saturday.
Final Nationals-Braves Prediction & Pick: Braves -1.5 (-118)