The defending champion Rangers make the trip to Atlanta to face the best team in the NL, the Braves. Our MLB odds series has our Rangers Braves prediction, odds, and pick for Saturday.

The Rangers have started their World Series defense playing well at 11-9. They have picked up where they left off last season behind the plate. They are once again a top-five batting average in the MLB as a team and then they are just below the middle of the league in pitching ERA as a team. This offense is led by stars thanks to Adolis Garcia, Marcus Semien, and Corey Seager. This offense is loaded and was the biggest reason why the Rangers won it all last year. The pitching has taken a dip. Nathan Eovaldi has taken center stage on the mound this season, but there has not been much outside of his play so far this season.

The Atlanta Braves have come out very strong to open the season. They are 12-5 and have won four straight games heading into this game. They have picked up where they left off last season with an insanely strong batting lineup that is statistically the best in the MLB in the early portion of the year. Marcell Ozuna has dominated at the plate early on for Atlanta, with Orlando Arcia not far behind. However, their pitching has started out of the gate slowly with only Reynaldo Lopez and Chris Sale standing out after a dominant season from the entire staff last season. The Braves should still be in right in the thick of it when it comes to the NL race, but they have not been as dominant so far as they were one season ago.

Here are the MLB Odds, courtesy of FanDuel. 

MLB Odds: Rangers-Braves Odds

Texas Rangers: +1.5 (-178)

Moneyline: +120

Atlanta Braves: -1.5 (+146)

Moneyline: -142

Over: 9 (-105)

Under: 9 (-115)

How to Watch Rangers vs. Braves

Time: 7:20 pm ET

TV: Apple TV+

Stream: fuboTV (Click for free trial)

Why The Rangers Will Cover The Spread/Win

The Rangers are going with Nathan Eovaldi to start on the mound. He's started out the year with a 1-1 record, a 2.92 ERA, and a 1.01 WHIP. Through 24.2 innings this season, he has allowed eight runs on 19 hits with six walks and 22 strikeouts. Eovaldi has appeared in four games and the Rangers went 2-2 in those games. In his last time out Eovaldi pitched six innings allowing five runs on eight hits with two walks and three strikeouts. Last season, Eovaldi was very good with a 12-5 record, a 3.63 ERA, and a 1.14 WHIP. Eovaldi was great for the Rangers last year and he has picked up where he left off with another great start.

The Rangers' offense has looked great to start the season. They are fifth in team batting average at .262 after finishing last season with a .263 batting average, which was second in the league. The offense is led by sluggers in Adolis Garcia, Marcus Semien, and Corey Seager. Garcia leads the team in batting average at .311, in home runs at five, and in RBI at 18. Seager leads in OBP and then Semien leads in total hits at 24. The Rangers offense can match up with anyone in the MLB and they will need to be at their best against the Braves.

Why The Braves Will Cover The Spread/Win

The Braves are going with Charlie Morton to start on the mound. He has a 1-0 record, a 5.29 ERA, and a 1.35 WHIP. Through 17 innings, he has allowed 10 runs on 15 hits with two home runs and eight walks to go with 18 strikeouts as well. He has appeared in three total games so far this season and the Braves are 2-1 in those games. In his last start, he pitched 5.2 innings allowing six runs on seven hits with one walk and eight strikeouts. Last season, Morton has decent at best with a 14-12 record, a 3.64 ERA, and a 1.43 WHIP. Morton has struggled to start the year and a matchup against the Rangers is not going to help that.

The Braves offense has felt like they picked up immediately where they left off just last season. They are currently the top-ranked team in the MLB in batting average at .294 just one year after finishing atop the league with a .276 batting average. Marcell Ozuna and Orlando Arcia have both opened the year playing great and lead the way in almost every batting category for the Braves. Orlando Arcia leads in batting average at .377 and in OBP at .412. Ozuna leads the team in home runs at eight, in RBI at 23, and in total hits at 25. The Braves offense can compete with anyone in the league and it makes the matchup against Nathan Eovaldi a massive one.

Final Rangers-Braves Prediction & Pick

This is going to be a huge game between two very good teams. These offenses are huge factors in this game because of how well each of them has played to start the season. The key for this game is how each pitcher does on the mound and so far this season, Eovaldi has been playing much better than Morton and that's a huge factor. The game is in Atlanta which will be a factor, but the Rangers have the pitching advantage and I trust their bats to be a larger factor against Atlanta. Take the Rangers in a close game on the road.

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Final Rangers-Braves Prediction & Pick: Rangers +1.5 (-178)