St. Louis Cardinals vs. Atlanta Braves – MLB, June 18, 2021
The Atlanta Braves have not looked like a title contender this year. Their offense is still lively at times, but their pitching has regressed, and they find themselves 7.5 games out of first in the NL East.
They hope to start turning things around on Friday as they prepare to take on the St. Louis Cardinals.
St. Louis is in slightly better shape, although they’re coming in at a pedestrian 35-33 and are just 4-6 over their last ten contests. Neither side has a major edge on the mound in this one, but Vegas will understandably side with the Braves at home.
Should you hammer down an Atlanta win, or is there a better bet to attack? Find out in tonight’s Cardinals vs. Braves betting pick and prediction.
Cardinals vs. Braves Latest Odds
As noted, the Braves do make sense as favorites at home. They have the better arm in Max Fried toeing the rubber, and in theory, they have the much more dangerous offense.
That said, the Braves are just 4-6 over their last ten games, and they’re an underwhelming 17-19 at home in 2021. They’re also down a key power bat in Marcell Ozuna these days.
I get that they’re the favorite, but -175 seems a bit rich. St. Louis, meanwhile, is instantly a very intriguing upset pick. The Cardinals are just 16-18 on the road and don’t have amazing form as of late, but they could be a problem for Fried when you look at all of their right-handed power.
The game total is also pretty interesting. It feels a bit high if Max Fried is the Max Fried of old, but it could also be way too low when you consider his recent form and how bad Carlos Martinez can be at times.
Factor in the upside for both offenses, and the Over is the initial bet to target.
Cardinals vs. Braves Game Preview
Breaking down the Carlos Martinez side of this is easy. He’s 1-5 with an ugly 5.54 ERA on the year, and he’s given up multiple runs in six straight games.
Martinez has bouts with walks, and he doesn’t miss enough bats anymore. This is bad practice on the road against a team as explosive as the Braves, but he’s at least kept things somewhat in check in the power department.
On the other side is Fried, who used to be a run prevention savant. This year, he’s just 3-4 with a poor 4.62 ERA. He isn’t a big strikeout guy, and he is another pitcher who can walk too many batters.
That may not necessarily get him into hot water against the Cardinals, but he struggles with righties, and that’s all the Cardinals have. St. Louis can badger him with their power, while guys like Paul Goldschmidt, Tommy Edman, and Dylan Carlson are all pretty patient at the plate.
I don’t know if Fried gets absolutely blown up here, but it’s not an ideal spot at all.
Cardinals vs. Braves Pick for June 18
Part of me wants to hop aboard the Cardinals hype train and bet on them mashing Fried to the moon. The problem is that they’re a pretty inconsistent offense, and he isn’t a guy who gives up a lot of power.
The Cardinals would also be a bit more appealing as +161 road dogs if Carlos Martinez weren’t pitching. This matchup could actually be much worse for him, but Atlanta is still a lethal offense, and he can allow this game to get out of hand early due to low Ks and high walks.
Ultimately, the best play is the Over. Atlanta can clear this on their own, and Martinez can implode that badly. Together, I think the offenses have enough edge in front of them to get there, though.