Oddsmakers are calling the August 5th Braves at Cardinals contest a close one, but on paper it doesn’t look to be. Atlanta has finally put together a win streak, snatching victory in the first two games of this series, but are still just -125 favorites for Thursday’s meeting.
Atlanta hadn’t won consecutive games since July 9th and 10th in Miami, so can they be trusted to tally a third straight victory on Thursday? The Cardinals have lost 3 of 4, likely sealing their fate on missing the postseason. St. Louis is 7.5 back in the wild card race, while Atlanta tries to make up a 2.5 game deficit in the NL East.
Can Braves Really Get a Sweep?
Give Atlanta credit, they’ve stayed in the hunt in the NL East despite not posting consecutive wins for nearly a month. One key is that the Braves also haven’t had two straight losses since July 5th and 6th, alternating wins and losses the past 16 games. Atlanta is an equator-like 54-54 on the year including 27-27 on the road.
Jorge Soler is starting to feel at home in a Braves uniform, belting out home runs in each of the last two games. Dansby Swanson is on a roll too, hitting .474 over his last five games with 8 RBI over that span. The Braves have now scored at least 5 runs in 5 of their last 6 games.
The Braves have much more to play for than St. Louis on Thursday, but are still priced at just -125. Does that paint Atlanta starter Touki Toussaint (1-2, 4.76 ERA) in a bad light? The right-hander is making just his 4th start of the year after returning from shoulder strain, but had allowed just 2 ER over 13.2 IP in his first two outings of the year. Toussaint gave up 7 over just 3.1 IP last time out however.
Can Cards’ Salvage Series?
Is St. Louis officially giving up on the season? If so, that makes them one of the most dangerous teams to wager on here on out – having the talent to win but not necessarily the drive.
The Cardinals couldn’t take advantage of a Nolan Arenado 3-run HR in the 1st inning in Wednesday’s loss, letting Atlanta chip away for a 7-4 win. St. Louis got J.A. Happ at the trade deadline, but his 2 ER over 5.0 IP were wasted as well.
Both teams used six pitchers on Wednesday, meaning long outings from a starter are imperative in the series finale. That doesn’t bode well for the Cardinals with Wade LeBlanc on the mound, as the left-hander has only pitched out of the 5th twice in the last six starts.
Free August 5th Braves at Cardinals Pick
Just 52% of the public are on Atlanta on Thursday even though they look like the obvious play. The Braves have finally broken through with a second straight win, but bettors don’t trust them for a third in a row. LeBlanc is a hard pitcher to trust for St. Louis though, and even if it is a trap that’s not a bad price for the Braves in a must-win situation to keep the pace in the East.
Braves 5 – Cardinals 3
Free Pick: Braves -125