Atlanta Faces Pittsburgh on Thursday as MLB Betting Underdogs

Posted by Kenny Bell on Wednesday,May 24, 2017 10:19, EDT in

The first game on the schedule Thursday is a getaway day game from Atlanta as the Pittsburgh Pirates play their final game of the season at the Braves. With a 12:10 p.m. first pitch following a night game, it’s likely a starter or two on each side could get the game off. For the Pirates, they took on the Philadelphia Phillies recently in a 3 game series at home, winning it at 2-1 . The Braves recently faced the Washington Nationals before this series, which ended at 2-1. The Bucs should be MLB betting favorites.

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Pittsburgh at Atlanta MLB Betting Analysis & Game Info

When: Thursday, May 25, 12:10 PM ET
Where: SunTrust Park, Atlanta
Probable pitchers (away/home): Ivan Nova/Bartolo Colon
TV: MLB Extra Innings
Stream: MLB.tv
RadioPittsburgh / Atlanta
Opening MLB Lines: Pirates favored by TBA

Why Bet On Pittsburgh?

Monitor the progress of shortstop Jordy Mercer after he was removed from Monday’s game against the Braves due to discomfort in his right hand. Mercer is considered day-to- day. He sustained the injury when he was hit in the hand by a groundball.

Despite a recent turnaround fueled by the returns from injury of Adam Frazier and David Freese and the emergence of some power from Josh Bell, the Pirates’ offense continues to under-perform. As a team, they’re 13th in the 15-team National League in wRC+, wOBA, and OBP and 14th in batting average and slugging. A lot of that has been fueled by a .263 BABIP, the second-lowest figure in the league. Despite manager Clint Hurdle’s confidence that his former MVP will return to his old self, Andrew McCutchen has carried last season’s struggles into this season.

McCutchen’s average is now at .206 and his on-base percentage is .279, both career lows. His Isolated Power (.168) and Batting Average on Balls In Play (.228) are both nearing all-time lows as well. McCutchen is hitting fly balls at a career-high rate (41.9-percent), but is hitting line drives at a career-low rate (16.3-percent).

It’s Ivan Nova on the mound here. Nova (4-3) allowed three runs on nine hits while striking out three over 7.1 innings to earn the win Saturday against the Phillies. Nova held the Phillies to a single run through the first six innings before running into a little trouble in the seventh and eighth frames, but the offense gave him plenty of support as he notched his fourth victory of the season.

Nova has fired quality starts in all but one outing this year and his among the NL ERA leaders at 2.63. He is not a big strikeout guy but is very stingy with the base-on- balls. He has 36 strikeouts against just four walks in 61 2/3 innings.

Why Bet On Atlanta?

Braves star first baseman Freddie Freeman is going to miss eight to 12 weeks with his wrist injury. The real question: will this affect his productivity going forward? The conventional wisdom is that many hand and wrist injuries are tricky, because they can negatively impact a hitter’s power production when he returns to the lineup.

Earlier this week, second baseman Brandon Phillips hit his 200 th career homer. He became the 48th player in MLB history with 200 home runs and 200 steals and only the sixth second baseman to reach that milestone. Four of the second baseman (Joe Morgan, Roberto Alomar, Ryne Sandberg and Craig Biggio) are in the Hall of Fame, while the fifth, Ian Kinsler, is still active.

Among the 354 players in the majors with at least 50 plate appearances this season, none have a higher on-base percentage than catcher Tyler Flowers (.476). The only NL catcher with a higher batting average that Flowers’ .360 mark is San Francisco’ Buster Posey (.362). Flowers’ four game-winning RBI are tied for the most among NL catchers.

It’s 43-year-old Bartolo Colon (2-4, 6.38) on the mound. Colon gave up two runs — one earned — in 4 1/3 innings during a 5-2 victory over the Nationals on Saturday. His team won the game but he didn’t stick around long enough to be officially credited with the win. He allowed seven hits (all singles) and no walks while striking out six and out-dueling Nationals’ ace Max Scherzer in the ballgame. It was Colon’s own throwing error that allowed the unearned run in the fifth inning. He seems to be finding more comfort with his changeup. Colon hasn’t faced Pittsburgh this season.

Pittsburgh at Atlanta MLB Betting Pick: Pittsburgh Pirates

Nova’s season debut came against the Braves on April 7. In that game, he struck out four, scattered six hits and didn’t allow a run over six innings.