MLB Baseball Betting: Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals

MLB Baseball Betting:  Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals

Important National League East battle on Sunday as the first place Atlanta Braves and second place Washington Nationals conclude a three game weekend series. This should be an epic pitching duel between a couple of the best southpaws in the game. Atlanta’s Paul Maholm has yet to allow an earned run this season in two starts, while Washington’s Gio Gonzalez has allowed only one for a minuscule 0.82 ERA.

While both teams were expected to be in the mix for the NL East title the way the race has developed in the early going has been something of a surprise. Atlanta has earned a reputation in recent years for starting slow and coming on strong later in the season. That hasn’t been the case this year as the Braves have come roaring out of the gate and shooting out to a 10-1 record–the best in Major League Baseball at the moment. They enter this contest having won eight straight games and have shown none of the offensive struggles that have plagued them at times in recent years. Washington has a solid 7-4 record but haven’t looked quite as dominant as most people expected. Then again, they could have been the subject of unrealistic expectations heading into the year. At any rate, they’ll have to improve their play on the road if they’re to run down Atlanta–Washington is just 1-2 away from home while the Braves are a perfect 5-0 away from Turner Field.

Not surprisingly, the head to head series between these teams has been almost ‘dead even’ over the past few years. In the past three seasons the teams have split 38 games (19-19)–even the home/away breakdown is even with the Nationals and Braves going 10-10 in DC and 9-9 in Atlanta. The closely contested nature of the series has us looking to the underdog and the fact that this puts us on the red hot Braves is even better. We look for the strong Atlanta run to continue as they sweep their division rivals and we’ll gladly back the Braves as a decent sized road underdog. In most cases it’s a good idea to bet *against* the sweep but in this instance we look for Atlanta to send a message to their upstart rivals.