Cardinals vs Braves Picks and Predictions: Can Carlos Martinez Navigate Hot Atlanta Bats?

Atlanta has lost six of their last eight but the offense has come alive with 28 runs in their last four games. Facing Carlos Martinez, who has surrendered 25 runs in his last 21 2-3 innings pitched, Atlanta is a strong MLB betting pick today.

Posted: Jun 18, 2021 9:22 AM ET Updated: Jun 18, 2021 4:40 PM ET Est Time: 4 min
Ronald Acuna Jr. Atlanta Braves MLB
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Braves are in a slump. The three-time defending National League East champs have lost six of their last eight ball games to fall five games below the .500 mark.

They showed signs of life yesterday with a 4-0 shutout win over St. Louis and will look to make it two in a row tonight as they try to break out of their funk. Giving the ball to ace Max Fried sure won’t hurt — but is the MLB betting price on the Braves too high in this spot?

Check out our MLB free picks and predictions for Cardinals vs. Braves on Friday, June 18, with first pitch scheduled for 7:20 p.m. ET.

Cardinals vs Braves game info

Location: Truist Park, Atlanta, GA
Date: Friday, June 18, 2021
Time: 7:20 p.m. ET
TV: Bally Sports Southeast, Bally Sports Midwest

Cardinals vs Braves odds

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

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MLB sharp money and line movement report

By Patrick Everson

Atlanta hit FanDuel's odds board as a -190 favorite Thursday night, but the moneyline dropped to -152 by this morning and is -158 at 4:45 p.m. ET. The moneyline splits bely that move, with the Braves grabbing 83 percent of tickets and 90 percent of cash. The total toggled between 9.5 and 9 several times and is now 9 (Over -118) on intriguing splits, with 86 percent of tickets on the Under and 71 percent of money on the Over.

Check out the full line movement for this game

Cardinals vs Braves betting preview

Starting pitchers

Carlos Martinez (3-7, 5.54 ERA): Martinez is coming off a much-needed solid performance after a two-start stretch that saw him get hammered for 15 runs on 13 hits in just 4 2-3 innings. He bounced back by giving up just two unearned runs on four hits over seven innings against the Cubs.

Max Fried (3-4, 4.62 ERA): After a May that saw him pitch to a 1.50 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP, Fried has come back down to Earth a bit, with his ERA jumping up to 4.60 with a 1.34 WHIP over three starts in the month of June. 

Weather

Be sure to monitor the gametime conditions with our MLB weather info.

Key injuries

Cardinals: Kodi Whitley RP (Out), Harrison Bader CF (Out), Jordan Hicks RP (Out).
Braves: Grant Dayton RP (Out), Marcell Ozuna LF (Out), Travis d'Arnaud C (Out).
Find our latest MLB injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Cardinals are 0-6 in their last six games as underdogs. Find more MLB betting trends for Cardinals vs. Braves

Runline pick

The Braves skid has had a little bit of everything. They lost four straight games never scoring more than three runs in a game, then got out-slugged by the Red Sox 10-8 in back-to-back contests.

They might be starting to turn things around, as they shut out the Cardinals 4-0 in the first game of the series yesterday, and if there is a guy who can fully get the Braves back on track it's Max Fried.

The lefty has recorded a quality start in five of his last six starts, where he has pitched to a 2.86 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP, and he now faces a Cardinals offense that 21st in scoring and 24th in batting average and OPS.

St. Louis came into this series feeling good after completing a three-game sweep of the Marlins but after dropping the opener with John Gant on the mound, it will be interesting to see how Carlos Martinez will fare against Ronald Acuna Jr. and a potent Braves offense that ranks seventh in scoring, sixth in OPS, and third in home runs.

While Martinez is coming off a bounce-back start, it was against the Cubs: A team that is hitting for the worst batting average against right-handers in the month of June.

With the big edge in starters and the more consistent lineup, bet the Braves to break out of their funk and cover the runline odds.

PREDICTION: Braves -1.5 (+110)

Over/Under pick

The total for this game opened at a relatively high 9.5, especially considering yesterday's score was 4-0, but that number might not be high enough for these teams.

First of all, despite the slump, the Braves have scored 28 runs in their last four games and are facing a guy in Martinez who has allowed 25 runs in his last 21 2-3 innings pitched. And even though the Cardinals are a top-heavy lineup, they do fare better against lefties. 

Second, this game features two shaky bullpens. The Cardinals relievers rank 20th in ERA 4.30 while the Braves are 25th at 4.95. These teams should topple this number.

PREDICTION: Over 9.5 (-110)

Cardinals vs Braves betting card

  • Braves -1.5 (+110)
  • Over 9.5 (-110)

Picks made on 6/17/2021 at 10:54 p.m. ET

MLB parlays

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