Atlanta Braves (Hanson) vs. Milwaukee Brewers (Davis) Preview and Pick – Betting Line

Atlanta Braves (13-18) Tommy Hanson, at Milwaukee Braves (15-16)
Doug Davis, Miller Park, Milwaukee, Wis., 8:10 PM EST, Monday, May
10th, 2010

by Badger of

Betting Line: Braves -130/Brewers +120
Total: 8.5

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Someone will have to win Monday night when Major League Baseballs
worst road team, the 5-14 Atlanta Braves, face the Milwaukee Brewers,
the team with only four victories in Miller Park in 2010.

On paper it looks like they Braves will have the edge on the mound
when they hand the ball to their best right-hander Tommy Hanson,
while the Brewers will counter with crafty lefty Doug Davis. But that
assumption is dangerous because the Brewers seem to be riding a wave
of good momentum right now.

The Brew Crew capped off a 6-4 West Coast road trip yesterday with a
6-1 victory over the Diamondbacks to complete the series sweep, a
series where the Brewers outscored the D-Backs 26-to-6 on the
scoreboard. The Brewers offense averaged 5.3 runs per game out West
over the 10 games, and considering the trip started out with three
shutout losses to San Diego, it gives you a good indication of how
hot their sticks are at the plate right now.

Atlanta on the other hand is still in the midst of a nine-game road
trip, a trip that has them a little weary after losing the rubber
match against Philadelphia yesterday, 5-3. The Braves did rest a good
portion of their lineup yesterday due to injuries (Chipper Jones,
Jason Heyward, Yunel Escobar), but they also lost the rubber match
versus Washington the series before and probably will only get Jones
back in the lineup tonight, so they dont arrive at Miller Park as
what youd expect as favorites.

Still, with Hanson on the bump the boys setting the betting odds
listed Atlanta as -140 favorites on the overnight line. The
sportsbooks that offer dimelines or reduced juice are as low as -130
on the Braves right now, making the Brewers and Davis +120 underdogs
at most of the books on the Web.

The over/under total opened at 8.5 and has yet to move at most
houses, with the lone exception being 5Dimes who lists the total at 9
with extra juice on the under.

Hanson has arguably been the Braves best pitcher since he made his
major-league debut against the Brewers last June, a game the Brewers
won 8-7 (seven off Hanson). This year the Braves have won four of his
last five starts (4-2 overall), and his last turn through the
rotation was his only start where he allowed more than two runs in a
game (4 R in 6 IP vs. Wash.). His splits are solid (.319 OBP, 1.26
WHIP) and there arent any major differences in his home/road numbers
either so theres no reason to believe he wont throw more like his
second start against the Brewers last year (7IP, 9 H, 2 R) when he
was outdueled by Yovani Gallardo in a 4-0 loss.

Hanson will have to be careful with Brewers slugger Ryan Braun, who
is 3-for-7 with two homeruns against him. Id expect veteran Craig
Counsell to be in the lineup too, since hes 2-for-7 versus Hanson
and starting shortstop Alcides Escobar is stuck in a horrible slump
(2-for-26 on road trip).

Davis has been the exact opposite of Hanson, whereas Hanson has only
had one clunker of a start, Davis has had nothing but clunkers with
just one good start. It also happens to be his last time out when
Davis was handed a four-run lead before he took the mound (turned
into an 11-3 win over LA Dodgers)), but he still labored (7 H, 2 BB,
3 R, 98 pitches) through five-and-a-third innings to record the win.

Over his career Davis has pitched well against the Braves, going 1-1
in seven starts with solid splits across the board (3.74 ERA, 1.292
WHIP, .326 OBP) including a sub-.700 OPS at .682). In 2009 he faced
the Braves twice and ended without a decision, but he pitched well (.
265 OBP, .606 OPS).

Troy Glaus has a homerun and a 1.064 OPS versus Davis over the years,
thanks in part to eight walks in 20 ABs. Eric Hinske will likely get
a swing or two tonight as well, as he hit a homerun in his only at
bat versus Davis.

Atlanta and Milwaukee split their six games last season down the middle 3-3, with the Braves actually taking two of three at Miller Park.

Badgers Pick: Runs will be at a premium tonight for both clubs. I like the UNDER 8.5 runs.