Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves
First pitch: 4:20 p.m. PT
Probable pitchers: Stephen Strasburg (4-3, 3.25 ERA) vs. Max Fried (7-2, 2.88 ERA)
When approaching a questionable total like the one posed in this series opener between the Nats and Braves tonight, it’s important to stick to your guns and not overthink.
That being said, it would be wise to capitalize on the linesmakers’ error here in setting such a high over/under for such a really strong pitching matchup — under National League rules no less.
Fried, you may recall, was my No. 1 sleeper pick entering the 2019 season. Two months in, it’s safe to say I’ve delivered on that call. The 25-year-old has been incredible in his first full season in the big leagues, and considering he glaringly showed this type of potential following his debut two years ago, it’s clear his ascension is legit.
No current Nationals hitter has seen Fried more than once, which should only benefit the left-hander as someone who is tough to pick up right away at the plate. Washington has hit southpaws well this season but I’m still comfortable betting on Fried to come through with another positive outing. That’s really all you need with the line being so high.
And then of course, there will be a pitcher capable of out-dueling Fried if necessary, that being Strasburg.
Lost in the Nationals’ struggles this season has been the success of the former No. 1 overall draft pick. As great as Strasburg’s been since first coming up nine years ago, this year has actually been one of his strongest showings to date. He’s punching out more batters than he has in the last few years (10.88 K/9) while registering his fewest walks (2.25 BB/9) since 2015 as well.
Furthermore, Strasburg, who has never finished with a sub-1.00 WHIP before in a full campaign, currently owns a 0.99 WHIP. The veteran right-hander has also limited opposing batters to a measly .201 batting average, which would be the lowest such mark of his career if it ended there. Just like Fried, he’s been really good.
Make sure you get this under bet in as soon as you can, with there only being potential it goes down leading up to first pitch. Play: UNDER 9 (-115)
Yesterday’s Result: Cubs-Astros Under 8 (loss)
Zylbert’s 2019 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: 31-26-3, +2.1 units
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit