After being swept by the Philadelphia Phillies to open up the season, the Atlanta Braves will play the Washington Nationals at 4:05 p.m. ET on Tuesday. This will be the Nats’ first game of the season as their opening weekend series against the New York Mets was canceled due to COVID-19 issues.
On the mound for the Braves will be Drew Smyly, who will be opposed by ace Max Scherzer for the Nationals. Atlanta will be hoping that their dynamic trio of Freddie Freeman, Ronald Acuna Jr., and Ozzie Albies can rebound after a combined 2-33 outing against the Phillies. We’ll go over some ideal picks on DraftKings Sportsbook centered around the game here.
Moneyline pick: Braves +105
The line for Tuesday afternoon’s game is currently set at 1.5 runs, with the Braves favored on the road. But the the Nationals are favored on the moneyline at -130. Aforementioned, the Braves’ offense struggled immensely last week against the Phillies. Anytime, Freeman and Acuna Jr. go a combined 2-24, your chances of winning take a tremendous hit. It does not get easier for them as they will go up against Scherzer, who had an average 2020 season with a record of 5-4 and ERA of 3.74.
Against the Braves last season, the former Cy Young award winner had an ERA of 10.13 in one appearance, which is not a great snapshot of what he’s done over his career. Over his career, Scherzer has a record of 10-9, ERA of 3.95, and 10.9 K/9 against Atlanta.
Meanwhile, the Nationals will try to field some semblance of a team on Tuesday as they have seven players currently in quarantine. However, keys players such as Juan Soto, Trea Turner, and Victor Robles are all on the Opening Day 26-man roster. They will be going up against Drew Smyly, who signed a one-year deal in the offseason with the Braves. Smyly is looking to pick up where he left off with the San Francisco Giants. Smyly won’t necessarily out duel Scherzer, but its hard to imagine the Braves starting the season off 0-4.
Player Prop: Drew Smyly O6.5 strikeouts (+115)
In this spot, Freddie Freeman would be a solid prop play as he tries to snap his current 0-12 streak. However, over his career he has not fared well against Max Scherzer. Therefore, the next best prop to play is Drew Smyly. Last season, Smyly was solid for the Giants with a 4-3 record and 3.42 ERA. He also had 42 strikeouts in 26.1 innings pitched and only allowed two home runs.
In five games started (seven appearances) last season, Smyly had four games where he went over 6.5 strikeouts. Over his career, the veteran pitcher has an ERA of 2.25 and 12 strikeouts in two games against the Nationals. With Washington dealing COVID and this being their first game, the Braves and Smyly could take advantage of that.
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