Braves vs. Cardinals Odds, Prediction, Betting Preview

Atlanta Braves right fielder Ronald Acuna Jr. (13) hits a single against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fifth inning at Truist Park.
Image Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

A pair of second-place National League (in their respective divisions) are duking it out tonight. The Braves host the Cardinals at hitter-friendly Truist Park.

A pair of former first-round picks toe the rubber to square off, and both are sporting a sub-4.00 ERA. However, one looks like the real deal, and the other appears to be a snake oil salesman. So, which one might be in for a rude awakening tonight?

We’ll analyze the Braves vs Cardinals odds and action while providing a prediction in this betting preview.

Braves vs. Cardinals Odds

(D. Hudson)
+1.5 (-130)+145O 9.5 (-110)
@ Braves
(K. Wright)
-1.5 (+110)-170U 9.5 (-110)

Odds via BetMGM as of 10 am ET on July 4.

Hudson’s Unsustainable ERA

Hudson vs Braves: Dakota Hudson heads into enemy territory, getting the ball for the Red Birds. The groundball specialist has had a 3.83 ERA in 15 starts totaling 80.0 innings. However, there’s nothing in his underlying numbers that suggest maintaining a sub-4.00 ERA.

According to FanGraphs, he’s had a 4.90 xERA, 4.70 xFIP, and 5.10 SIERA. So, no matter what your cup of tea is for ERA estimators, they all paint a less favorable picture of Hudson’s work this year.

The 27-year-old has had a troubling combination of a bad walk rate and horrendous strikeout rate. Hudson has walked 10.8% of the hitters he’s faced and struck out just 13.3% of them. As a result, he’s needed exceptional luck to avoid getting knocked around. Hudson won’t continue to have success with his pitching profile.

Braves offense: The Braves blend in as an average offense against righties. They’re 16th in wRC+ (101) versus right-handed pitchers this season. However, a low-strikeout pitcher like Hudson should find the sledding tough. The Braves are fourth in ISO (.187) against righties. Moreover, they love home cooking. Atlanta’s .331 wOBA at home has been MLB’s fourth-highest mark, and their .194 ISO has ranked second.

Wright Is Breaking Out

Wright vs Cardinals: While Hudson’s ERA has been flukey, Kyle Wright’s 3.03 ERA in 15 turns has been predominantly legitimate, evidenced by his 3.47 xERA and 3.34 xFIP. Thankfully, the blossoming righty has toyed with all hitters, holding lefties to a .266 wOBA and righties to a .287 wOBA.

He’s also done a commendable job of handling his own business instead of leaving it in the hands of his fielders, striking out the opposition at a 25.7% clip. Unfortunately, the BABIP gods were fickle for a couple of starts on June 18 and 23. Wright coughed up 21 hits in 11 and 1/3 innings. Fortunately, he rebounded in his most recent turn, holding the Phillies to only one run on three hits, three walks, and four strikeouts in seven innings.

Cardinals Offense: The Cardinals offense isn’t a pushover. Instead, they’re tied for 10th in wRC+ (106) against righties. They’re also no longer so righty-heavy, thanks to the emergence of left-handed-hitting rookies Brendan Donovan and Nolan Gorman. The Cards can challenge Wright, and they’ll get a park-factor boost in Atlanta.

Braves vs. Cardinals Prediction

There’s a decided pitching advantage for the host Braves. In addition, Atlanta’s 3.24 bullpen ERA is better than St. Louis’s 3.59. Though, that’s splitting hairs.

The Braves should win tonight against a lucky hurler due for significant regression. In addition, Hudson’s wretched strikeout rate means he won’t be able to exploit Atlanta’s high strikeout rate against righties. So instead, he’s playing with fire against their powerful lineup.

So, while the Braves are a good bet to win, I prefer to wager on Atlanta’s team total for less juice. Rather than betting the Braves on the moneyline at -175, backing Atlanta’s team total of 4.5 runs is just -130. There’s some risk the Braves won’t need the bottom of the ninth to win, meaning they’ll need to score five runs in just eight frames. Nevertheless, they should crush Hudson and avoid needing a backdoor cover.

The Pick: Braves Over 4.5 Runs (-130) | BetMGM Sportsbook

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