Money Line: Atlanta +110 St. Louis -125
Total Line: 8.5
The Atlanta Braves and the St. Louis Cardinals kick-off a three-game weekend series at Busch Stadium this Friday night with Game 1 in this National League showdown of division leaders. The first pitch is scheduled for 8:15 p.m. (ET) and the game will be broadcast nationally on the MLB Network.
Atlanta suffered a power outage earlier this week with just five total runs in three games against Chicago. As a result, it dropped two of three to the Cubs to fall to 19-13 on the year but still remains tie with Washington atop the NL East. The Braves are now 3-2 on their current road trip and 11-8 on the road overall. The total has stayed ‘under’ in three of their last five games.
Despite its recent lack of production, Atlanta remains one of the top hitting ballclubs in the NL with a team batting average of .265 and 166 runs scored. Its pitching has suddenly become suspect with a 4.25 team ERA. Mike Minor will get the start for the Braves in this one. The left-hander is 2-2 with a 5.97 ERA and has given-up 15 runs and 18 hits in his last two starts.
St. Louis is coming off a three-game sweep of Arizona by the combined score of 22-9. It is now 20-11 on the year and 3.5 games ahead of Cincinnati in the NL Central. The Cardinals have now won four straight, all on the road, and return home where they are 8-4 this season. The total has gone ‘over’ in nine of their last 12 games.
The Cards remain the top hitting team in the NL with a .287 team batting average and 174 runs scored to go along with a team ERA of 3.07, which is the second-lowest in the Majors. St. Louis will send Jaime Garcia to the mound. This left-hander is 2-2 this season with a 3.76 ERA. He got bounced around by Houston his last time out; giving-up six earned runs on four hits in six innings. Garcia is 2-0 with an ERA of 2.84 against the Braves.
The Braves are 6-2 in their last eight road games and the total has stayed ‘under’ in three of their last four road games.
The Cardinals are 17-4 in their last 21 games against the NL East. The total has gone ‘over’ in the first game of their last four series.
Atlanta is just 1-6 in the last seven meetings and 0-7 in its last seven games in St. Louis. The total has gone ‘over’ in eight of the last 11 meetings overall.
Stick with the past trends in this series and the hot hand as St. Louis extends its current winning streak to five with a victory on Friday night. St. Louis 5 Atlanta 3
DJ is a freelance writer that concentrates on his true passion in life; the world of sports. He produces a number of articles each week for BangTheBook.com as well as a select group of other websites that specialize in providing the most up-to-date information for the sports gaming industry. His goal is to write insightful articles on a wide variety of sporting topics that can provide an edge to today's sophisticated online player.