The New York Mets travel to face the Atlanta Braves on Friday to start a three-game series that could determine the outcome of the NL East race. The Mets start the series with a one-game lead in the division and can maintain the tiebreaker edge by winning at least once this weekend in Atlanta.
With a postseason bye on the line, neither team will be holding back, and both managers will treat these games like a playoff series. That means throwing their best pitchers out in an attempt to capture these must-win games.
We’ll show you how to take advantage of that in our MLB picks and predictions for Mets vs. Braves on September 30.
Mets vs Braves best odds
Mets vs Braves picks and predictions
There’s no doubt that the Braves can hit, as they are averaging 4.9 runs per game, good for third-best in the majors this year. However, the Atlanta lineup stands out in another way as well.
The Braves strike out 9.19 times per game, a total that also ranks third in MLB. Atlanta gets around this by crushing the ball when they do make contact, but that doesn’t change the fact that they whiff a lot. This is especially true against righties, where the Braves strike out in just over 25% of their plate appearances.
We can expect the Braves to swing and miss a lot against a right-handed pitcher who strikes out batters at a prodigious rate. That’s exactly what we’ll see on Friday when the Mets send Jacob deGrom to the mound. In limited action this season, deGrom is striking out 14 batters per nine innings, a number that would easily lead the league if he had played enough to qualify for the category.
We’ve already seen this matchup play out a couple of times this season. In August, deGrom faced Atlanta twice. In his first meeting, he struck out 12 Braves batters in just 5.2 innings pitched.
He then came back to strike out nine more in 6 2-3 innings of work on August 18 in Atlanta. The Mets have been taking it easy with deGrom since his return from injury, holding him to a maximum of seven innings per game so far. He’s also coming off three consecutive shaky starts, including his last outing, where he went just four innings against Oakland.
Yet even in two of those three starts, deGrom reached double-digits in strikeouts. New York manager Buck Showalter knows how important this series is to not only win the division, but ultimately make it to the World Series.
He will likely extend deGrom as far as he can safely go on Friday in an effort to get a critical first win in the series. As long as deGrom is in the game, he will pile up strikeouts against the free-swinging Atlanta lineup.
Given these factors, there’s a lot of value on the deGrom strikeout props in tonight’s game. If we’re willing to take a slightly lower return, we can take the Over at just 8.5, a number I’m extremely comfortable betting on given deGrom’s past performances against the Braves this year.
My best bet: deGrom Over 8.5 strikeouts (-150 at DraftKings)
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Mets vs Braves moneyline analysis
The Mets opened as a slight -115 favorite at most books, a number that has now drifted out to -135. These two teams have played tightly all year long, with New York holding a 9-7 season series edge over Atlanta — though most of the individual games have been blowouts one way or the other.
The Mets are no stranger to facing Braves starter Max Fried this year. Fried has already made four starts against New York, with Atlanta winning twice. Similarly, deGrom has faced off against the Braves twice on the year, with each team coming out on top once.
Both sides have played well down the stretch as they chase 100-win seasons and a potential divisional crown. The Mets have won nine of their last 10 to hold onto their slim lead over the Braves, who have kept pace by taking nine out of 13. Neither team played on Thursday, meaning it should be all hands on deck when it comes to these two bullpens.
There are a couple of indicators that may point to a slight advantage for the Braves. Atlanta has been especially good at home, going 52-26 at Truist Park this season. Also, deGrom has looked shaky as of late, going 0-2 with a 6.60 ERA in his past three starts.
Mets vs Braves Over/Under analysis
The total for Friday’s game opened at just 6.5 and has since dropped down half a point.
Of course, this number has a lot to do with the pitching matchup. Jacob deGrom and Max Fried are among the best starting pitchers in MLB, and we can expect them to hold down their opposing lineups.
This is especially true considering each team’s platoon splits. The Braves' offense drops to 4.57 runs per game against right-handed starters, with Atlanta hitting to a .751 OPS against righty pitching compared to .785 against lefties.
The Mets score 4.53 runs when facing a southpaw starter, and their OPS falls by 30 points against left-handed pitching. Fried and deGrom are definitely capable of hitting the Under in this game, as they did when they faced off in a 3-2 Braves win on August 18.
However, I am concerned about deGrom’s recent form, and that has me ultimately staying away from the total in this one.
Mets vs Braves trend to know
Jacob deGrom has struck out nine or more batters in seven of his last nine starts. Find more MLB betting trends for Mets vs. Braves
Mets vs Braves game info
|Location:||Truist Park, Atlanta, GA|
|Date:||Friday, September 30, 2022|
|First pitch:||7:20 p.m. ET|
|TV:||SNY, Bally Sports Southeast|
Jacob deGrom (5-3, 2.93 ERA): While deGrom missed the first four months of the year with a shoulder injury, he came back with his same dominating form when he returned to the mound on August 2. In his first seven starts, deGrom looked like the best pitcher in baseball again, posting a .737 WHIP. However, deGrom has looked very human in his previous three starts. In particular, he gave up five runs in just four innings against Oakland in his latest appearance, the first time he had allowed more than three runs in 40 starts.
Max Fried (13-7, 2.50 ERA): The 28-year-old Fried has continued to establish himself as one of the premier left-handed starters in the National League and earned his first All-Star Game appearance in 2022. In 29 starts, he has pitched to a 1.02 WHIP and a 2.73 FIP, earning himself the role of the ace of the Braves staff. Fried last threw on September 22, giving up just one run on five hits over five innings against Philadelphia in a 1-0 loss.
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