Saturday Night MLB Betting Preview

Two of the hottest teams in Major League Baseball headline Saturday night’s betting card.

Atlanta Braves at Los Angeles Dodgers

Atlanta’s nine-game winning streak came to an end on Friday night, dropping a 5-4 decision to Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium.  Over the past 25 games, the Braves have gone 19-6, tied with today’s opponent for the best mark in baseball during that span.  1B Troy Glaus has led the team offensively since May 1st, leading the National League with 33 RBI and ranking fourth with a .339 batting average during that span.  This has proven important with star 3B Chipper Jones out with an injured right finger the past two games.  “I still feel pain when it bends either way,” Jones said.  “I’m still getting treatments and I’ll see what they say.”  Atlanta batters have collected an MLB-best 247 walks, which could prove effective against its opposing hurler tonight, as Chad Billingsley has walked 16 batters in his 24.2 innings of work against the Braves.  The Braves check in with a 10-12 record this season when following a loss (-320).

Braves SP Tommy Hanson is 5-3 with a 3.78 ERA in 11 starts this season (+310), including picking up two straight victories over Florida and Philadelphia.  In his last two starts, Hanson has allowed just three earned runs and seven hits over 12.2 innings of work.  He comes into tonight’s start with a 3-1 record and 2.03 ERA in five road starts, which is very similar to his 4-2 mark and 2.61 ERA during his rookie campaign in ’09.  The power right-hander has fared much better under the lights this season, going 4-3 with a 2.89 ERA in nine nighttime starts (9.72 Day).

Los Angeles is currently 4-1 on its season-long 13-game homestand and 19-9 overall at Dodger Stadium (+500).  The Dodgers have won four of five, pulling back within a half game of first-place San Diego in the NL Western Division.  Friday’s five-run performance can be considered a breakout game when considering the team’s struggles the past few weeks.  Since the start of their last road trip on May 25, the club is hitting .205, which is 15th in the NL over that time.  The Dodgers have averaged 5.1 runs per game against right-handed starters, as they’ve hit 36 of their 43 home runs this season against them.  The hearts and minds of the Dodgers’ faithful will still be focused on the passing of legendary basketball coach John Wooden.  Manager Joe Torre visited the legend at the hospital earlier in the week saying, “We sort of hit it off. John has been a very special person to me.”

Dodgers SP Chad Billingsley has turned it around this season, going 6-2 with a 3.74 ERA after posting a 3-5 record and 5.20 mark in the second half of 2009.  He displayed great stuff in his last start against the Diamondbacks on Sunday, striking out 11 batters in eight innings, but also allowed three home runs in a no-decision.  The right-hander is 1-2 with a 3.65 ERA in six games (four starts) against the Braves.  In his two starts against Atlanta in 2009, he went 1-0 with a 0.82 ERA and limited Braves’ hitters to a .158 average.  Since allowing seven runs in three innings on April 20 at Cincinnati, he has gone 5-2 and posted a 3.33 ERA in his last eight starts.  The Dodgers have won his last five starts, giving him 25 runs of support in the process.

Considering the Dodgers have not won a season series against the Braves sine taking four of six in 2002, bettors may find the underdog appealing.  Before going all in, it’s important to note that Los Angeles is a perfect 4-0 at home when the total is seven or less this season (+400).

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