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San Francisco Giants at Atlanta Braves

Over/Under: 8

First pitch: 4:20 p.m. PT

Probable pitchers: Johnny Cueto (1-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Max Fried (16-6, 4.25 ERA)

A lot of people were wondering how Cueto would fare coming back from Tommy John surgery. The 12-year veteran recently returned after missing just more than a year of action, and through two starts, it looks like he’s still got something left.

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In fact, Cueto didn’t allow a run in either outing, yielding just seven total baserunners (four hits, three walks) across his 10 innings while picking up six K’s.

Once one of the National League’s premier starting pitchers not that long ago, you can feel good leaning on Cueto as he seeks to keep trending upward and prove he still belongs in a major league rotation.

The best part about backing the former Cincinnati Red ace here is the assignment he has in store for tonight. Yes, obviously the Braves boast a potent lineup but this isn’t any ordinary game for the NL East champs, who just clinched last night.

Normally, the day after a team wins their division, they’ll roll out a severely downgraded lineup in order to reward the regulars with a day of rest. In this instance, that can be quite fruitful given Atlanta’s lack of a deep bench — or a kinder way to refer to dead bats like Rafael Ortega and Charlie Culberson.

Meanwhile, you should know my affection by now for Fried, who was my top sleeper entering the campaign. The former No. 7 overall draft pick is actually mired in maybe his toughest stretch of the season, having allowed five earned runs in consecutive starts. It’s the second time this season in which Fried surrendered more than three earned runs in back-to-back outings, but the last time it happened, he rebounded with a quality start.

The Giants’ lack of power opposite southpaws can also help. With a left-hander on the hill, San Francisco has just a .707 OPS as a team, ranking them 27th in baseball.

If it seems like the total is low for a game in Atlanta, that’s because it is (with the oddsmakers probably factoring in Atlanta’s likely offensive predicament tonight). So, wait like I am up until first pitch before placing you bet to see if the over/under goes up a half-run. Play: UNDER 8/8.5

Yesterday’s Result: Mets-Reds Under 8 (“loss”)

2019 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: 85-75-10, +0.25 unit

*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit

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