All things considered, the Atlanta Braves can probably count themselves pretty fortunate to still be on top of the National League East. On Friday night they will begin a three-game series with the defending NL champion St. Louis Cardinals in somewhat better shape than they were the last time these two teams met. MLB baseball betting will get underway at 8:15 PM ET at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.

In the last 16 games they have played, the Braves have batted .207. Their run production on a per-game basis is lower than every other team in the league aside from the San Diego Padres. One of the reasons is that they simply swing and miss too much; Atlanta has made contact with only 61% of the pitches they have seen outside of the strike zone, and they haven't been too good with those pitches that have come INSIDE the strike zone either.

They can thank their lucky stars that they have gotten very solid pitching, particularly from the starting rotation, which has produced a 2.64 ERA, which is tops in the league. Their starting pitcher has permitted three earned runs or less in eleven of the last 13 games. And the man who has been the most impressive member of that rotation gets the call on Friday night, as Ervin Santana takes the hill.
In the MLB baseball betting odds at VietBet on this game, the Cards are favored:

St. Louis Cardinals (Lynn - R) -112
Atlanta Braves (Santana-R) +102

Under 7 Runs -125
Over 7 Runs +105

Santana pitched relatively well for the Kansas City Royals last season, and was signed by the Braves during spring training. His conventional statistics are sizzling, with a 4-0 record and 1.99 ERA, and he has gone at least six innings in all six of his starts. It is possible that his last start may have been his best, in a sense, as he was coming off a bruise to his right thumb, pitched two innings and then had to endure a rain delay of more than an hour before resuming. He wound up with seven strikeouts in seven innings, as Atlanta eventually beat the Chicago Cubs 2-0.

MLB baseball bettors know that the way that the Braves have been hitting the ball, Santana may have to be brilliant again. In 19 of their last 23 games, Atlanta has scored four runs or fewer, and they have tallied an average of 3.23 runs per contest. The Braves (+600 at VietBet to win the National League pennant) will not make it into October if they don't gather up some additional offensive spark, and they don't necessarily need for the Upton bothers to be topping the league in strikeouts either.

Lance Lynn, in many ways, may be precisely the wrong pitcher for them to be facing right now. Lynn is coming off his worst outing of the young season, as he allowed four runs in a disastrous fourth inning in a 4-3 loss to Pittsburgh on Saturday. He has gone six innings or more five times and has registered more strikeouts than he has innings pitched. MLB bettors know that if he throws fire on Friday the Braves are going to be doing a lot of swinging and missing. The Cardinals could certainly use a strong outing from him; they are in second place, five games behind the surprising Milwaukee Brewers, and they are just a game over .500 (21-20).

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