Atlanta Braves (58-28) at Tampa Bay Rays (57-33)
Game Info: Thursday, July 7th, 2023 at 6:40 p.m. EST (Tropicana Field)
Betting Odds: Braves (-115) - Over/Under (8.5)
Pick: Braves ML (-115)
Friday takes up to perhaps one of the best regular season series of the season, as the best team in the National League faces off with the best team in the American League. It also provides us with a potential preview of the 2023 Major League Baseball World Series as the Atlanta Braves and their star-studded lineup head south to the Sunshine State to Tampa Bay to play the Tampa Bay Rays and their lethal lineup of mashers.
The Atlanta Braves come into this one nearing the 60-win mark with three games left before they get to the All-Star break. They are coming off of a successful series against the Cleveland Guardians, where they took two out of three games in Cleveland. Now, after a day of rest on Thursday, they will be looking to continue the recent strength of success against the Tampa Bay Rays when they had to Tropicana Field on Friday night. They have picked up nine victories in their last 10 games of the season with their only loss, and that time span being the second game of the series against Cleveland when they started a rookie pitcher on the mound.
Atlanta has one of the most lethal lineups in all of baseball this season as everybody one through nine is capable of having a game-changing swing at the plate. They are led by the likely National League Most Valuable Player award winner Ronald Acuña. He has been dominating almost every statistical category in the National League at the moment, and he is the betting favorite to bring home the MVP award at the end of the season, as long as he stays healthy. Elsewhere, they have guys like Matt Olson and Sean Murphy, who have been an absolute tear this season as well. They are currently running away with the National League East division as they have an 8 1/2 game lead over the Miami Marlins at the moment.
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The Tampa Bay Rays have struggled as of late and they are coming off of a series where they were swept by the Philadelphia Phillies. They will be looking to bounce back in the opening game of the series against the Atlanta Braves as Tyler Glasnow takes the mound for them against seasoned veteran Charlie Morton for the Braves. Tampa Bay is under .500 throughout their last 10 games of the season as they’ve only managed to pick up for victories in that span. They are in their worst form of the season as they are also coming into the game on a five-game losing streak.
As previously mentioned Tyler Glasnow (2-2) takes the mound against Charlie Morton (8-6) and both pitchers will be looking to improve upon solid performances in their last outing and deliver another quality start. In Morton’s last start, he went nearly six innings, and gave up four hits and one walk, but not a single run against the Miami Marlins. Meanwhile, in Glasnow’s last start, he went five and two-thirds and gave up only three runs, but unfortunately for him, his offense let him down in their loss to the Seattle Mariners. This game will easily be one of the most entertaining of the night and this series will be the best of the weekend as these two top teams battle it out before the 2023 Major League Baseball All-Star break.
Betting trends to consider in this matchup:
- Atlanta is 9-3 after a day of rest this season
- Tampa Bay is 34-13 at home this season
- Tampa Bay is 19-13 coming off of a loss
With the recent struggles that the Tampa Bay Rays have been experiencing, I am leaning toward picking the Atlanta Braves here in Friday night’s contest. Tampa Bay has looked rough as of late and Tyler Glasnow is coming off of a less than impressive start. He will likely have a hard time dealing with the most dangerous lineup in Major League Baseball at the moment. That is why I am taking the Atlanta Braves to pick up the series-opening victory here on Friday night on the road.
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