Brave New World
May 10, 2018
Atlanta Braves are Road Warriors
This baseball season has been weird, but that’s a good thing when trying to find temporary value. One of the strangest anomalies going right now is the Atlanta Braves on the road. This is an average team in a really rough division that’s routinely underperformed and been won by the Washington Nationals seventy-four times in a row (by my count). It’s almost safe to say that the Braves won’t win the division, but they can surely pad your wallet temporarily.
Everything about what Atlanta is doing well is matchup based, and one of the big outliers in the sportsbook is their +1024 moneyline mark. This team hasn’t finished above .500 in four seasons. What’s different this year?
First and foremost, the Atlanta Braves are hitting the ball at a much more efficient clip. They were 21st with a .738 OPS last season, struggling as one of the worst slugging teams in the league. Right now, they’re 3rd overall with a .772 OPS that ranks out as the best in the National League right now. The only teams better than the Braves right now in this department? The Red Sox and Yankees.
Teams with a strong on base plus slugging rate have represented incredibly good streaking bets so far this season. The Angels have retained some momentum, and the Blue Jays were a whirlwind to kick off April before tail spinning in recent weeks. And you have to key on teams that have strong offensive outputs with pitching being so inconsistent.
Speaking of which, Atlanta’s aces have been less than stellar. They rank 21st with a 1.36 WHIP, have a decent 3.61 ERA which is 10th overall but have committed the 19th most errors and walked by far the most batters this year. Atlanta has sent 158 batters to first off of walks. I’ve mentioned this before, traditional baseball bettors will bank on pitching so the Braves would not even be a blip on the radar.
The uptick in hitting has been brought on by the promotion of Ronald Acuna Jr., who has been paired with Ozzie Albies. They are the perfect compliment to one another, and can sell tickets while breathing life in to a franchise that’s gone dormant while waiting for their prospects to mature. Well, it happened.
A lot of this was just good luck. Neither was a top prospect compared to the club’s actual future star Dansby Swanson, but now all three have emerged as the backbone of a team that generates offence when they’re not playing at Turner Field…errrrr SunTrust Park. That still feels weird to say.
MLB Futures at BetOnline.ag
Atlanta to win NL East +400
Atlanta to win NL Pennant +1400
Atlanta to win World Series +2800
The young duo serve as an exhilarating leadoff pair for the Braves, and Albies already leads the team with 10 homers, while Acuna’s been a remarkable revelation with a stunning .917 OPS and .302 batting average. Both make the mistakes you’d expect – Albies is a strikeout king but worth the risk. If those two get on base, the Braves set things right up for Nick Marakis who is unsurprisingly their best player.
It might seem top heavy, but it’s not. The Braves are second in the majors in terms of overall batting average for now. And they steal bases at an obnoxious rate, consistently putting runners in scoring position. Their 27 stolen bases is third best.
The mind boggling part is hard to really get a grip on. Atlanta is 5th in the league when travelling, boasting a mark of 13-7. At home they’re just 8-7 SU. Acuna has only been around for 13 games so the seismic shift in their results is easy to explain in that right. It’s very easy to get pumped about the Braves from a long point of view considering that the league is getting younger, and Atlanta seems to have a great blend of youth and veteran experience.
Next Games: at Miami (5/10 – 5/13), at Cubs (5/14), vs. Cubs (5/15 – 5/17)
What’s exciting is that the Braves have a four game slate against the bottom feeding Marlins, with a reduced moneyline since they’ll be the road team. It’s as easy as money gets this weekend. They then get the wobbly Cubs, and then Miami at home. This is a schedule that will either help solidify them as a constant bet on your docket, or return them back to the backburner.
For the first time in years, however, the Atlanta Braves are worth talking about. And worth betting. Get behind them as your new streaking bet in MLB betting. If you’re cheering against the Nationals, the Braves at 4-to-1 to win the division is a fun chip shot as well.
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