It was a very profitable day for us yesterday, as we went undefeated on our free daily betting picks. One of those wins came on an outright home-field underdog, when we backed the Miami Marlins against the Atlanta Braves. Home underdogs are always my favorite play in sports betting, no matter which sport it is, and seeing the red-hot Marlins as home dogs with young superstar in the making, Pablo Lopez on the mound, was juicy.
Lopez has great swing and miss stuff, rarely walks anybody, and had pitched well in his first two starts of the season, with a 1.80 ERA. He isn’t a household name at this point of his career, but when you look towards the future for the Marlins, the still just 24-years old Lopez is a guy that Miami is planning to rebuild around. I backed the fish and their young stud and expected them to protect their home field.
Pablo’s so nice.
Always finding a seat for guys. ☺️ pic.twitter.com/GpyqOgdD5u
— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) August 15, 2020
And that is exactly what happened. Lopez was strong, as expected, as he tossed six innings of two-run ball and struck out eight without walking a batter. Atlanta starter Kyle Wright got rocked, again, as he lasted just three innings, giving up three earned runs, and walked six guys along the way!
As I said yesterday in my pick, Kyle Wright is eventually going to be a serviceable starter in the Major Leagues, but right now, he is too young, too inexperienced, and pitching awful. If he is laying wood on the road again against a first-place team like he was last night, you can blind bet the other side.
Jesus Aguilar provided the pop as he drove in three runs, and the Marlins won this one going away, with an 8-2 final score. It was a nice underdog winner, and for today’s daily betting pick, we will stay right here in Miami and break down all of the action in game two between the Braves and the Marlins.
Atlanta Braves (11-10) at Miami Marlins (9-4)
The first place Miami Marlins host the Atlanta Braves tonight, in game two of a three-game series. It sounds a little weird to say out loud, right? The first place Miami Marlins? But that is where they stand, with a two-game lead over the Braves and a four-game lead over both the New York Mets and the Washington Nationals. The Marlins have a lot of games to make up after missing over a week of action to a Corona Virus outbreak, but right now, this team is handling the extra load and winning games.
For Atlanta, the Braves are reeling as they have lost four straight games, and seven out of their last eleven, after starting the season out 8-4. The Braves starting rotation has been decimated this season, and we have seen that hurt them as of late as they have gotten rocked for 37 runs during this four-game skid.
Starting tonight for the Braves is their ace Max Fried (3-0 1.59 ERA), and for the Marlins, it is rookie Dan Castano (0-1 8.31 ERA). The game total over/under is set at eight and a half runs. The Braves are major -200 road betting favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 3:10 PM PST from Marlins Park in Miami.
The Atlanta Braves need to get things figured out on the mound, and ASAP, if they don’t want to waste what was once a very promising season. The Braves lost ace, Mike Soroka for the season to an Achilles injury, and fellow starter Mike Foltynewicz was designated for assigned after just one bad start. Throw in the fact that longtime Brave’s starter, Julio Teheran, left in the offseason, and this once feared Braves rotation is left shorthanded and struggling.
Sean Newcomb didn’t make it out of the second inning in his last start as he got blasted for eight earned runs. Touki Toussaint has allowed a whopping fifteen runs in only 17.1 innings worked across four starts. And yesterday’s starter, Kyle Wright, who we have successfully faded several times already this season, has an ERA approaching double digits as he has allowed twelve runs in only 15 innings. One guy that has been consistently good for the Braves, though, has been tonight’s starter, Max Fried.
Max Fried (3-0 1.59 ERA)
Former first-round draft pick Max Fried, is quickly turning into an All-Star caliber starter for Atlanta. Last year, Fried got his first taste of being a regular starter in the Braves rotation, and he did not disappoint, as he won a National League high seventeen games, and racked up 173 Ks in 165.2 innings worked. Fried has built on that success from last year, so far this year, as he has been lights out in four starts.
Fried has a 3-0 record, and 1.59 ERA with 21 strikeouts and only 6 walks this season. The Braves have yet to lose a game where Fried has started, and he seems to be getting better each time out. In his last two starts, Fried pitched a combined 11 innings and allowed just on total earned run.
The Braves won those two games with a combined score of 18-1. The Braves don’t have many guys that they can rely on right now on the mound, particularly in the rotation, but Max Fried is emerging as a potential superstar so far in 2020.
I keep waiting for the Miami Marlins to hit the wall and fall back to earth, but it hasn’t happened as of yet. The Marlins came into this season, feeling that while their recent multi-year rebuild was starting to bear some fruit, that they were still likely a year or two away from contending for the NL East Division title.
But despite not having a roster that would seem to be on the same level as the rest of the NL contenders, the Marlins are more than holding their own, with a .692 winning percentage, which is second best in the NL, trailing only the Chicago Cubs.
The Marlins will have to play an overloaded schedule the rest of the way out, as they have played just 13 games on the year, compare that to the 21 games the Braves have played in 2020, and at some point, they are going to feel the weight of all of those double-headers and extra innings. But this team is young and hungry, and manager Don Mattingly has them playing good baseball right now.
Dan Castano (0-1 8.31 ERA)
Dan Castano had never pitched above double-A ball before making his MLB debut against the New York Mets a week ago. The Marlins have seen their rotation depleted as Sandy Alcantara, Jose Urena, and Caleb Smith are all out with Corona Virus infections, and they have no place to turn other than an untested rookie like Castano.
In his one big league appearance, Castano got beaten up by the New York Mets to the tune of five earned runs in only 4.1 innings worked. He gave up two home runs, five hits, and a walk. The Braves have scored the third-most runs in the majors this season, and have significantly harder hitting bats than the Mets, and this young man is likely in for a rough night tonight.
Who Do I Like?
This is a mismatch. I am not going to let the Marlins recent hot streak disguise the fact that they don’t have much talent in their lineup, and that Dan Castano shouldn’t be starting games in the majors right now. Max Fried is an animal, and I would expect him to completely shut down the Marlins tonight.
The Braves issues have all been surrounding their inability to keep starters on the field, with Fried being the one major exception. The Braves struggles haven’t extended to the plate, and I expect them to hang a bunch of crooked numbers up on the board tonight, against what is essentially a double-A level starting pitcher, in Dan Castano.
The only debate in this game isn’t whether or not the Braves will win the game, it is by how many runs will they win by? Atlanta has a run differential of +20 when Fried starts games. When anyone besides Fried starts games, they are -10.
I don’t bet many run lines, as it is a risky proposition. But if 2020 has taught us anything, it is that you need to be able to use all of the plays in your sports handicapping playbook to make money this year, and I will go to a play that I don’t use all that often in this one, and take the Braves on the run line, laying a run and a half.
I expect Atlanta to hit Castano early and often and run up an early lead, and for Fried to slam the door on the Miami lineup. Give me the Atlanta Braves in a game that could very well get out of hand, laying a run and a half tonight on the road in Miami!