It has been a slow start to the season for a pair of National League East rivals as both the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals sit below the .500 mark.
But Atlanta is building some momentum as it goes for the three-game sweep over Washington at Nationals Park where Drew Smyly will toe the rubber against Jon Lester in a matchup of southpaws.
Check out our free MLB betting picks and predictions for Braves vs. Nationals on Thursday, May 6, with first pitch scheduled for 4:05 p.m. ET.
Braves vs Nationals odds
Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.
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MLB Sharp Money and Line Movement ReportBy Patrick Everson
This moneyline jumped the fence at TwinSpires, opening at Washington -117 and moving to Atlanta -109, where the price sits at 1:40 p.m. ET. The Braves are attracting 56 percent of bets and 64 percent of money. The total fell from 9.5 to 9 and is still shaded to the Under, with 68 percent of bets on the Over and 77 percent of money on the Under, including sharp play on Under 9.5 and 9.Check out the full line movement for this game
Braves vs Nationals betting preview
Drew Smyly (0-2, 8.05 ERA): It has been an ugly start to the season for Smyly. The lefty has been roughed up in each of his last three starts, giving up five earned runs and a minimum of five hits in all three. He’s also had a real problem with the long ball, allowing eight dingers in those three outings.
Jon Lester (0-0, 0.00 ERA): Lester is preparing to make his second start of the season after spending most of April on the COVID list. Despite this, the lefty didn’t look rusty in his first start, shutting out the Marlins on five hits through five innings.
Be sure to monitor the gametime conditions with our MLB weather info.
Braves: Ender Inciarte CF (Out), Chris Martin RP (Out), Travis d'Arnuad C (Out).
Nationals: Juan Soto RF (Questionable), Wander Suero RP (Out).
Find our latest MLB injury reports.
Betting trend to know
The Over is 10-4-1 in the last 15 meetings between the Braves and Nationals. Find more MLB betting trends for Braves vs. Nationals.
The Nationals may have dropped the first two games in this series but there is good value on them to bounce back in the finale.
First of all, they face Smyly, who essentially looks like a lamb to the slaughter at this point of the season. The lefty is just finding way too much of the plate with his fastball right now and he has become one of the hardest-hit pitchers in baseball.
To make matters worse, the Nats crush southpaws. They rank second in MLB in batting average and third in OPS against left-handed pitching this season.
The Nats are countering with the veteran Lester, who looked solid in his Washington debut. While the Braves lineup is much more potent than Miami's, Atlanta is the exact opposite of Washington when it comes to hitting lefties. The team is batting .171 against southpaws, which ranks dead last in MLB, and its .554 OPS is second from the bottom.
Oddsmakers probably got this one right opening the Nats as a short favorite so we’ll take the value with them as now listed as a slight home dog.
PREDICTION: Nationals (+100)
When it comes to the total, enough early money was on the Under to drive the number down to 9, but that’s low enough to attack the Over.
As noted, Smyly has given up at least five runs in each of his last three starts and the Over has cashed in all four of his outings this season, seeing an average of 12.3 runs scored per game in those four contests. Plus, when Smyly hands the ball off it will be to a bullpen that ranks 24th in ERA and 28th in WHIP.
On the other side, Lester had a good first start and is backed up by a solid bullpen but this is still a potent Braves lineup. Atlanta ranks in the Top 10 in runs per game and OPS, and has an MLB-best 44 homers, powered by superstar Ronald Acuna's NL-leading 10. Bet on fireworks in this one.
PREDICTION: Over 9 (-110)
Braves vs Nationals betting card
- Nationals (+100)
- Over 9 (-110)
Picks made on 5/06/2021 at 12:15 p.m. ET
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