Braves vs Cardinals

Braves vs Cardinals Preview & Odds MLB | National TV Game Wednesday

The lone national TV game around Major League Baseball on Wednesday features two teams trying to stay in the wild-card chase as the Atlanta Braves, who still also have a shot in the NL East, and the St. Louis Cardinals. The Braves are short favorites on the MLB odds.

How to Bet Braves at Cardinals MLB Odds & TV Info

  • When: Wednesday, 8 PM ET
  • Where: Busch Stadium
  • Probable pitchers (away/home): Drew Smyly/JA Happ
  • TV: MLB Extra Innings
  • Stream/gameday audio:
  • Opening MLB Lines: Braves -110, Cardinals +100 (total 9)

Why Bet on Atlanta?

The Braves took three of the four games they played against the Cardinals in June at Truist Park. Atlanta, of course, hasn’t spent a day this season with a winning record and hasn’t been at the .500 mark since July 10, when they were 44-44. They are 1-11 in their last 12 attempts at reaching .500.

Atlanta’s big trade acquisitions before the Trade Deadline were Marlins outfielder Adam Duvall and Royals outfielder/DH Jorge Soler – of course, the Braves are without superstar outfielder Ronald Acuna for the rest of the season. Soler led the American League and set the KC franchise record with 48 home runs in 2019 but has struggled otherwise. The additions lengthen the team’s lineup and give Brian Snitker plenty of options when it comes to platoon situations in the outfield. Atlanta also added Pittsburgh closer Richard Rodriguez to the bullpen.

It’s lefty Drew Smyly scheduled on the mound for St. Louis. Smyly (7-3) was lifted after allowing three runs in four innings last Thursday against the Mets. Smyly was gifted a 5-1 lead by the midpoint of the game, though he failed to record an out in the bottom of the fifth inning and failed to qualify for the win.  Smyly, who exited his previous start with left knee pain, wasn’t at his best, giving up nine hits with his velocity down about 1.5 mph from usual.

Smyly allowed multiple runners to reach base in all but one of the frames he worked. He covered at least five innings in six consecutive starts spanning from June 13 to July 18, though he has now lasted only four frames in two consecutive starts. Smyly now owns a 4.40 ERA with an 83:34 K:BB across 92 innings for the season.

Smyly is 1-0 with a 1.86 ERA in two career starts vs. the Cardinals.

Why Bet on St. Louis?

The Cardinals are in the midst of the stretch that will help define their season. Twenty-one of their next 24 games will be played against teams that have a record under .500, with the other three games coming against the Milwaukee Brewers, the team that leads them in the NL Central by a wide margin.

“If we win the rest of our series, we’ll feel pretty good for the rest of the year,” manager Mike Shildt said. “I’ll take our chances with winning series .. and see where it adds up.”

It’s newly-acquired lefty JA Happ for St. Louis on the mound. His final start for the Twins was last Wednesday when he allowed nine runs over three-plus innings in a loss to Detroit. Happ was able to pitch out of trouble in the first inning, but he gave up two runs on four hits and a walk in the second and then allowed the first seven to reach in the fourth before finally being pulled. Both of the runners that were on when he exited came around to score. All told, permitted 10 hits and walked four in the ghastly performance.

Happ has not been good in 2021 with a 6.77 ERA in 19 starts, and has been even worse (9.22) in July. Happ has been impacted a bit by an elevated .332 average on balls in play, but he’s also been among the game’s most homer-prone pitchers, averaging 1.92 dingers per nine innings pitched. He hasn’t made a quality start since April 28 and hasn’t surrendered fewer than three runs in an outing since the end of May.

St. Louis got him from the Twins for RHP John Gant, LHP Evan Sisk and cash considerations. The Cards are desperate for a starter who can log some innings and he could potentially provide that.

Happ will be making his 9th career start (10th app.) vs. the Braves. This will be his 4th time facing Atlanta with a different team. His first six appearances came as a member of the Phillies (2008-09), followed by the Astros (2012-12), and Blue Jays (2018). The last time he faced the Braves in 2018 with Toronto, hurled 8.1 innings and allowed four runs while fanning eight in 5-4 win (113 pitches).

Currently, the Cardinals have four lefties in the rotation after landing Happ and Jon Lester in trades. Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak’s rationale for acquiring the two veterans centered on the need to cover innings.

The last Cardinals rotation to primarily feature four left-handers was 1995: Danny Jackson (19 GS), Allen Watson (19), Donovan Osborne (19) and Tom Urbani (13). The last time the Cardinals had four or more lefties start a game in a season was 2015: Garcia (20), Tyler Lyons (8), Tim Cooney (6), and Marco Gonzales (1).

Game Trends

  • Braves are 4-1 in their last 5 road games vs. a left-handed starter.
  • Braves are 5-2 in their last 7 road games vs. a team with a winning record.
  • Braves are 2-7 in their last 9 Wednesday games.
  • Cardinals are 6-1 in their last 7 home games vs. a left-handed starter.
  • Cardinals are 0-4 in their last 4 during game 2 of a series.

Expert Prediction

  • Braves 5, Cardinals 4
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