Giants vs. Braves: Predictions, Odds, Best Bets, Starting Lineups (8/18/23)

The Braves dominated the Yankees in a three-game sweep to start the week, and they’d very much like to damage the Giants’ postseason hopes this weekend. Spencer Strider will try to build momentum after a bounce-back start, while Alex Cobb is looking for some redemption of his own after a rough outing against Texas. The Braves are heavy home favorites at -225 on the moneyline.

Let’s make predictions for Friday’s matchup and break down why it could be a low-scoring night even with a powerful Braves lineup taking the field.

Giants vs Braves Prediction

It’s possible both Strider and Cobb have gotten a bit unlucky of late. For Strider, who leads all qualified NL pitchers in FIP, there are valid concerns with how hard he’s gotten hit of late, but he righted the ship in his last outing and underlying numbers indicate those positive results are coming.

Facing a Giants team that strikes out often and has scored three or fewer runs in six of its last seven games, this looks like it will be a low-scoring night for the Giants. San Francisco does have a lefty-heavy lineup, but Strider has handled lefties well aside from a bit of an uptick in walks.

On the other side, history indicates Cobb isn’t going to keep allowing all of these home runs as long as he’s healthy. The Braves have enough power to hit him hard regardless of whether he’s at his best or not, but with Ozzie Albies missing, it shouldn’t be taken as a given that a ground-ball pitcher like Cobb gets shelled.

A Braves win is likely, but not necessarily likely enough to make Atlanta moneyline (-225) a value pick. Under 8.5 runs at +102 makes more sense as the top betting option in this game.

Giants vs. Braves Prediction: Under 8.5 Runs (+102)

Giants vs. Braves Odds

The Braves enter as heavy home favorites at -225 on the moneyline. The over/under is 8.5 runs.

Atlanta is 19-5 in Strider starts this season, and that’s with some underperformance and arguably poor luck for the strikeout leader. With the Giants’ offense pretty much limping into this game, it’s no surprise the Braves are considerable favorites.

Giants vs. Braves Key Matchups

Here are the key matchups that could decide Giants vs. Braves.

Giants’ High-Strikeout Lineup vs. Spencer Strider

It’s no secret Strider has a tendency to get hit hard, as he’s working with a 3.75 ERA and has struggled late in games even with his swing-and-miss stuff. When he’s on, however, he’s on.

Strider has at least nine strikeouts in 17 of his 24 starts this season, including nine starts with double-digit strikeouts. The Giants figure to be his next victim, as they sit 27th in baseball with 9.36 strikeouts per game.

Strider has only faced one team that ranks below San Francisco: The Twins, who struck out 10 times in that matchup and lost. Will it matter in the end? One would think more strikeouts worsens the Giants’ chances, which should still be true, but the Braves are just 5-4 when Strider hits double-digit Ks. They’re 14-1 when he strikes out nine or fewer batters.

Braves Power Hitters vs. Alex Cobb

It’s so tough to gauge Cobb right now because his last handful of starts have been so uncharacteristic. Cobb has made a living by limiting home runs, allowing just nine home runs in 149 innings last season, but he’s allowed six blasts in his last three outings. Before this stretch, though, Cobb’s home run rate was looking almost as strong as it was in 2022. Friday will be a serious test of whether this was all just a bump on the road for the veteran.

The Braves are easily MLB’s home run leaders. While Ozzie Albies’ absence removes one threat, it’s not going to be easy for Cobb (or any pitcher) to navigate a lineup anchored by Matt Olson, Ronald Acuna Jr., and Austin Riley. If Cobb is as unsteady as he’s been in recent starts, it’s going to be a short night for him in Atlanta.

Giants vs. Braves Starting Lineups

Giants Starting Lineup

1B LaMonte Wade Jr. L
CF Wade Meckler L
3B Wilmer Flores R
DH Joc Pederson L
RF Michael Conforto L
C Patrick Bailey S
LF Blake Sabol L
SS Brandon Crawford L
2B Thairo Estrada R

Braves Starting Lineup

RF Ronald Acuna Jr. R
CF Michael Harris II L
3B Austin Riley R
1B Matt Olson L
DH Marcell Ozuna R
LF Eddie Rosario L
C Sean Murphy R
SS Orlando Arcia R
2B Nicky Lopez L

Dan is a lifelong sports fan and graduate of Boston University. He’s covered several sports on Instagram since he was 12 and now writes about everything from betting trends to breaking news for Lineups.

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