Braves and Nationals Meet in Huge Betting Total on ESPN

After the first three games of their weekend series, the Braves and Nationals meet on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball. Due to a more uncertain pitching matchup, bookmakers project a big total to end the week in MLB. Here’s a sports betting look ahead to Sunday night’s projected shootout between the National League East rivals.

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Mike Soroka discovered a bit of regression last night — giving up four earned runs in six innings while allowing only his fifth home run of the season to Matt Adams. The first five innings was a loss, as a result, as the Braves ultimately fell 5-3.

Tonight, the Braves hope to even the series at home with Kevin Gausman on the hill. Gausman will return from the IL having not pitched since June 10th. In response, the Nationals were scheduled to start Austin Voth. However, Voth experienced shoulder tenderness in a bullpen session this week. Joe Ross appears to be getting the call from AAA to make the start on Sunday night.

At the time of this writing, FanDuel Sportsbook does not have a posted line. However, DraftKings Sportsbook has the Braves favored at -136 with a hefty 11-run implied total.

Stat of the Night

After a victory for Anibal Sanchez last night, Nationals’ starters have now gone 27 straight starts without recording a loss. This is the longest streak since the 1916 New York Giants.

Temperature Meter – Ronald Acuna Jr. Hot on the Basepaths

Ronald Acuna, Jr. is the first player to have a 20 HR and 20 SB season before the age of 22 since Mike Trout. Acuna joined Andruw Jones as the only other Brave to accomplish a 20/20 season prior to turning 22 years old.

Acuna reached the feat by swiping a bag last night for the fifth straight game. Acuna has seven steals during the five-game stretch and eight since the All-Star break.

Pitching Primer

Kevin Gausman was struggling as he approached his stint on the IL. In fact, Gausman faced the Nationals on May 29th — lasting only one inning while surrendering 8 ER on 12 hits. A trip to the IL was not shocking as Gausman scuffled in the few starts prior with a foot injury.

Obviously, a one-inning start makes a drastic impact on season-long numbers. Yet, his 6.21 ERA does not tell the entire story. Gausman has a respectable strikeout rate (22.5%) and limits fly balls (34.0%) and hard-contact (86.1 MPH aEV). Gausman is certainly no ace but his 4.61 xFIP suggests he has seen a bit of hard luck.

Gausman will need to limit the free passes. He has a 3.47 BB/9 this season — generating longer innings and acting as a detriment to his pitch count. Gausman recently made a rehab start — pitching 7.0 innings of two-run ball with 10 strikeouts and only one walk. Throwing over 100 pitches, Gausman is stretched out and will look to continue limiting walks tonight against the Nationals.

Unfortunately, Joe Ross does not have much of a sample this season for the Nationals. Only used in a relief role in 2019, Joe Ross has recently pitched in the minor leagues to work on mechanics. Apparently, Davey Martinez saw enough to announce Ross as the starter on Sunday night.

Last season, Ross allowed nine earned runs in his 16 innings of MLB work. The Braves bats will be looking to atone for a sub-par performance on Saturday night against a less formidable starter.

The Pick

After experimenting with the first five innings bet yesterday and paying a hefty price, a more traditional approach feels appropriate tonight. While I am not sure what we can expect from Kevin Gausman, the Braves’ matchup versus Joe Ross is certainly a plus matchup for a very good offense.

The Braves hope to even the series tonight and get back to a 6.5-game lead in the National League East. With pitching being the Braves’ recent issue, Joe Ross could be the only hurler the Nationals start that gives the Braves an upper hand. So, I will opt for the Braves ML tonight, taking the Braves at -136 on DraftKings Sportsbook.

(Top Photo:Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)

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