Atlanta Braves at Milwaukee Brewers Pick 7/8/18
Event: Atlanta Braves at Milwaukee Brewers
Date/Time: July 8, 2018 at 2:10 PM EDT
Location: Miller Park
Money Line: ATL +113 / Mil -123
Total line: 9
By Darin Zank
Unlikely divisional leaders close out a possible playoff preview series when the Braves and Brewers meet Sunday afternoon at Miller Park (2:10 ET). Which way are we playing this one with our daily free MLB picks?
The MLB Betting Line
Sunday’s MLB betting odds opened Milwaukee and Junior Guerra at around -125 over Atlanta and Sean Newcomb, with an over/under of 8.5 runs. The early betting action then pushed that line down about a nickel, to around -120.
The Brew Crew could also be found getting a tempting price of +160 giving the run and a half on the run line.
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The Brewers took the first two games of this series Thursday and Friday night by scores of 7-2 and 5-4, but the Braves hit the board Saturday afternoon with a 5-1 victory. Atlanta is now 7-3 in games Anibal Sanchez has started on the mound this year.
Both Thursday’s and Friday’s games sneaked over totals of 8.5 runs, but Saturday’s game played under a total of 9.5.
The victory snapped a four-game losing streak for the Braves. At 50-38 overall they’re now tied for the lead in the NL East with Philadelphia.
The loss, meanwhile, snapped a five-game winning streak for Milwaukee. At 53-36 the Brewers now lead the NL Central by a game and a half over the second-place Cubs.
On the personnel front, Milwaukee spark-plug CF Lorenzo Cain has missed recent action with a groin injury, but he might return to the lineup Sunday.
Sunday’s Starting Arms
Guerra (5-5, 2.87), by our strict standards, is just 5/16 on quality starts this season, but much of that is due to a short leash that seems him limited to under six full innings nine times. Tuesday he threw five scoreless innings against Minnesota, allowing just two hits, striking out eight, in a 2-0 Milwaukee victory. And over his last three starts, he’s held opponents to five runs over 16 innings. The Brewers are 9-7 with Guerra this year, with the unders going 11-4.
This will be Guerra’s first start against Atlanta since May of 2016 when he tossed five scoreless innings in a 3-2 Milwaukee win. But when it comes to this Braves team that’s already a long time ago.
Lefty Newcomb (8-3, 3.10) is 10/17 on quality starts this year. He’s had a couple of hiccups, like Tuesday, when he got touched for five runs in less than three innings by the dangerous Yankees. But in his three starts previous to that he held foes to four runs over 19 innings. Atlanta is 9-8 with Newcomb this season, with the overs going 10-6.
This will be Newcomb’s first-ever start against the Brewers, which could give him an edge, at least for the first couple of times through the lineup.
We’ll give Guerra the edge in this pitching match-up, but not by much.
Sunday’s Batting Splits
Atlanta ranks 7th in the Majors this year against right-handed pitching with a .254 team batting average, 6th with a .324 team OBP and 17th with a .407 team slugging percentage.
Milwaukee, somewhat surprisingly, ranks just 29th against left-handed pitching with a .223 BA, 24th with a .300 OBP and 23rd with a .377 slugging percentage.
The Braves own the edge in the splits with the sticks for Sunday.
The Atlanta bullpen ranks in 20th the ML with a 4.17 ERA and 16th with a 1.33 WHIP, while going 22/33 on save opportunities. But Braves relievers have also been forced to throw 17 1/3 innings over the last five days.
The Brewers pen ranks 4th in ERA at 3.11 and 8th in WHIP at 1.22 while going 25/39 on save conversions. Milwaukee relievers have thrown 15 2/3 innings over the last five days.
We’ll give the Brew Crew a short edge in the bullpen comparison.
Unders are 25-19 in games played at Miller Park this year, which are averaging 8.3 total runs per.
Free MLB Picks
Atlanta is 36-25 against right-handed starters this season; Milwaukee is only 9-9 against left-handed starters. The times right now to bet against the Brewers are when they go up against southpaws. In this case, we’re getting a decent starting pitcher in Newcomb (73 hits allowed through 95 2/3 innings), the better batting split and an underdog price. We’re betting the Braves Sunday at Intertops where we picked up some extra value getting Atlanta at +115.