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National League Contenders Meet As Reds Take On Braves In Atlanta

Posted by Dale “Skip” Lalonde on 7/10/2013 6:14:41 PM

In older days, the Atlanta Braves and Cincinnati Reds were in the same division. Now, they’re in different divisions, but they’re both pursuing a National League playoff spot just the same.

Cincinnati Reds @ Atlanta Braves – Thursday, July 11

Sport betting line: No line

Why Cincinnati Will Win

When the best online betting sites tackle this clash, they will readily point out that Cincinnati starter Mat Latos owns a snappy 3.18 ERA and has reaffirmed himself as an upper-tier pitcher (if not quite a top-tier pitcher) in the National League. Latos has made his money in the big leagues by carving out a niche as a ground-ball pitcher. Latos keeps the ball down in the strike zone and gets hitters to dive at his pitches. Latos’ consistency speaks to his quality, first established with the San Diego Padres and continued now with the Reds. Latos is a slightly more imposing pitcher than Atlanta starter Tim Hudson, whose ERA is just over four runs at 4.03. Age translates to experience, but it also is accompanied by diminished velocity and movement, and that’s what Hudson is facing in the latter stages of his superb career. Pitchers and all athletes brush up against limitations, and Hudson is the pitcher in this matchup who is being weighed down by more of them.

Why Atlanta Will Win

The smart sports bet will take the Braves here for a reason so simple it might catch you off guard. The Braves are playing at home, while the Reds are playing on the road. At first glance, it would seem that the location of a baseball game should not mean that much in connection to the outcome. Pitchers either perform or they don’t. A hitter either makes solid contact with the ball in a key situation or he doesn’t. It would seem that baseball success is less a product of home-field advantage than other sports, and on certain levels, that’s quite true. Yet, within the workings of a regular season, some patterns do emerge, and in this tussle, it’s quite clear that each of these teams manage to do very well in their own ballyards… and that they struggle then they pack their bags.

Atlanta has won more than twice as many games at home as it has lost. The Braves are under .500 on the road, but they own a modest cushion in the National League because they’ve been so imposing at home. The story is similar for Cincinnati. The Reds will enter this game with a losing record on the road, but they’re 14 games over .500 at home (30-16), which is why they’re four games ahead of the Washington Nationals for the final playoff spot in the Senior Circuit. These are the two best home-field teams in the National League, with Pittsburgh being a close third. In the American League, only Boston and Oakland have home-field records similar to the Braves and Reds. Atlanta is at home, so it should win.

Who Will Win?

The home-field argument is one worth noting, but Latos is pitching better than Hudson at the moment, and that means the Reds should dig out a narrow win over the Braves.

MLB Betting Pick: Cincinnati

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