Braves vs Reds First Test for Reigning Champs
The Atlanta Braves weren’t the favorites to represent the National League in the World Series, never mind being the last team standing in an unpredictable Major League Baseball season. Now Atlanta begins the quest for back-to-back titles.
The first challenge comes from a Cincinnati team loaded with high draft picks but a team expected to finish in the middle of the pack in the National League. It is worth watching this Reds vs Braves matchup to see how both teams kick off the new season.
Keep on reading for more information to help with the MLB betting tips when Cincinnati travels to Atlanta for a four-game series.
2021 team records: Cincinnati 83-79 (third in NL Central Division); Atlanta 88-73 (first in NL East, World Series champions)
Dates: Four-game series starts Thursday, 8 p.m. ET
Television: ESPN2 (for Thursday’s opener)
Location: Truist Park, Atlanta, GA
Reds to be Led by 20-Somethings
Former National League MVP Joey Votto is a holdover from a different era for the Cincinnati Reds, but the key to the 2022 season will be how quickly the young players produce.
Whether it is 25-year-old catcher Tyler Stephenson, 25-year-old infielder Jonathan India, former No. 2 overall pick Nick Senzel or 22-year-old pitcher Hunter Greene, this is a team that is being patient and building through the draft. Are they ready to all come together?
Tyler Mahle was a bit of a revelation a year ago. He came into the season with a 13-25 record but posted a 13-6 mark with 210 strikeouts. Now he is looked upon as the ace of the staff and will get the ball in the Reds vs. Braves season opener.
What’s Next for World Series Champions?
Star outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. will be sidelined at the start of the season while slugging first baseman Freddie Freeman is now a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers. However, most of the other key players are back from the Atlanta Braves team that won the World Series. There’s a chance that pitcher Mike Soroka could also return at some point this season.
Matt Olson was brought in to play first base and he’s looked worthy of the big contract during the spring. Ozzie Albies, Dansby Swanson, Austin Riley and Adam Duvall are other key returnees in what should be a stacked lineup. It is no wonder that Atlanta is once again a title contender according to the MLB odds and predictions.
Bryce Elder, Atlanta P: Edler did not allow a hit in 7.2 innings of work in the Grapefruit League.
Nick Lodolo, Cincinnati P: He had 12 strikeouts, two walks and a 2.38 ERA in four appearances in the Cactus League.
Matt Olson, Atlanta 1B: The offseason acquisition had four extra-base hits and a .344 average in 13 Grapefruit League games.
Max Schrock, Cincinnati IF: Schrock hit .609 in the spring with three doubles among his 14 hits
Shogo Akiyama, Cincinnati OF: Hit .182 with no extra-base hits in 22 at-bats during the spring.
Ian Anderson, Atlanta P: The former high first-round pick was 2-1 during the spring but allowed 12 hits and walked five in eight innings of work.
Vladimir Gutierrez, Cincinnati P: Gutierrez went 9-6 in 2021, but he had an ERA of 8.68 in four outings during the spring.
Marcell Ozuna, Atlanta OF: Ozuna hit .188 in 32 at-bats during the spring
Atlanta outfielder Acuna will start the season on the injured list as he continues to work his way back after a knee injury cut short his 2021 season. He will miss the Reds vs Braves series.
Reds vs Braves Starting Pitchers
Thursday: Tyler Mahle (Cincinnati) vs. Max Fried (Atlanta)
Friday: Reiver Sanmartin (Cincinnati) vs. Charlie Morton (Atlanta)
Saturday: Vladimir Gutierrez (Cincinnati) vs. Ian Anderson (Atlanta)
Sunday: Hunter Greene (Cincinnati) vs. TBA
Reds vs Braves Betting Guide
The total has gone over in six of Cincinnati’s last nine games at the end of the 2021 season.
The Braves have won six of the last nine matchups with the Reds.
Atlanta is favored to win the NL East once again while Cincinnati is the No. 3 pick in the NL Central.
There’s a lot of money going down on Cincinnati for Thursday’s opener, although Atlanta seems like a safer pick when looking at the MLB’s best bets.