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Two NL East rivals will kickoff a series here as the Atlanta Braves host the Washington Nationals. These two are the top teams in the division, so it should be a good one. Stephen Strasburg will start for the Nationals here, while Julio Teheran takes the mound for the Braves. Oddsmakers have Washington as a modest road favorite due to the presence of Strasburg.
Which Strasburg Will Show Up?
Overall the Nationals have been having a very successful season. They got off to a slow start and it looked like they were going to have another lost year, but they’ve been on a tear recently. They’re 22-9 in their last 31 games and are in second place in the division now. That being said they did get blown out by the Orioles on Wednesday, so they don’t have a ton of momentum entering this one. As they look to continue climbing up the wild card standings, they’ll have Stephen Strasburg on the mound here. Strasburg has been good but not great this season, just like he was last year. He enters with a 3.46 ERA, and has been somewhat up and down.
He was brilliant in his two most recent starts, but he had a high 5.70 ERA in the month of June. Even during their recent hot stretch, the Nationals’ offense hasn’t looked like anything special, so they’ll need a strong start from Strasburg here if they’re going to pick up this division win on the road. The Nationals started the year off with the league’s worst bullpen, and while things have gotten a little better, it still isn’t very good. Strasburg wasn’t exactly lights out when he faced the Braves a few weeks ago, as Atlanta got eight baserunners and three earned runs off him.
Braves On Top
While the Nationals have been making a nice run, the Braves are still the clear top dogs in the division. They won the NL East last year, then got off to a slow start in 2019, but have since re-established themselves as the ones to beat. They’ve gone 40-19 in their last 59 games, and enter this one 6.5 games ahead of Washington for first place. They’ve been just as hot as the Nationals have been, for a longer period of time. As they look to keep pulling away in the division, they’ll have Julio Teheran on the mound here. Teheran has looked great recently, giving up just two earned runs total over his last two starts.
— MLB (@MLB) July 14, 2019
He has a very solid 3.71 ERA, and the Braves are 7-2 in his last nine starts. Teheran has a good amount of experience pitching against his division rivals, and current Nationals hitters have an OPS of just .672 in their careers against him. I like what I’ve seen from Teheran this year, but the real story of this Braves team is their offense. Their lineup has a ton of pop, and pretty much the entire order from 1-8 is a threat to hit a home run in any given at bat. Their 8th hitter on Wednesday was Matt Joyce, who has an .884 OPS this year, which tells you all you need to know about how potent and deep this lineup is.
- 40-19 in their last 59 games overall
- 7-2 in Teheran’s last 9 starts
- 22-8 in their last 30 games vs. a right-handed starter
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I love the Braves as a home underdog here. Teheran has been almost as good as Strasburg, the Braves have the much better lineup, and they’re playing at home, so it makes little sense why Washington would be favored. Both teams have been hot recently, but the Nats just got stomped by the lowly Orioles in their most recent game. Atlanta has a ton of value here.
Prediction: Braves +120
Full-Game Total Pick
I also like the over a lot here. Both Teheran and Strasburg have been good, but neither one has been great. The Braves have the lineup to send any game over by themselves, and they gave Strasburg a lot of trouble the last time they met. Washington’s bullpen is also really shaky, and Teheran and Strasburg both had ERAs above 5.00 in June.