Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#5929 Houston Astros vs.
#5930 Atlanta Braves
Sunday, August 21, 2022 at 1:35pm EDT
Written by Mark Ruelle

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The 2021 World Series rematch between the Houston Astros and Atlanta Braves will end Sunday in Atlanta. The two teams are once again among the elite teams in baseball and would like nothing better than to meet again this October. On the hill in Sunday's finale will be a pair of right-handers as Jose Urquidy (11-4, 3.69) of the Astros takes on Charlie Morton (6-5, 4.04) of the Braves. Game time is set for 1:35pm EST.

Familiar Place

The Astros are once again in a familiar place, both geographically and in the standings. The Astros have returned to the scene of last season's heartbreak, Truist Park in Atlanta. The Astros lost two of three games in Atlanta in last year's World Series on their way to a six-game series loss to the eventual World Champion Braves. The Astros have also returned to a prominent place, the top of the American League standings. After playing second fiddle to the juggernaut that was the New York Yankees for much of the season, the Astros are now alone at the top of the American League standings. On Friday night, the Astros dropped the series opener 6-2 as the Braves pounded out 12 hits and Austin Riley hit a three-run home run. The bigger story, however, was the removal from Astros MVP candidate Yordan Alvarez because of shortness of breath. He was checked out at a local hospital and given a clean bill of health after the game. On Saturday night, without Alvarez, the Astros went into extra innings but fell for the second straight night, 5-4, to the red-hot Braves.

The Astros look to have the kind of roster that can make a run deep through the playoffs once again this season. The Astros rotation is spearheaded by veteran ace Justin Verlander and recently welcomed the return of Lance McCullers Jr. to strengthen the team's depth. At the trade deadline, the Astros added depth by bringing in former all-star catcher Christian Vazquez from the Red Sox and long-time Oriole Trey Mancini to give the team more pop from the right side. Mancini hit four home runs in his first thirteen games with the Astros to prove his worth. On the mound for the Astros in the opener will be Jose Urquidy. Urquidy has 13 quality starts on the season and sports a tidy 2.51 ERA in his last five starts. In those five starts, Urquidy is 3-0 and has allowed just 21 hits in 31 innings pitched.


The Atlanta Braves are once again in the thick of both the NL East Division chase and comfortably in the NL Wildcard picture. They own the 3rd best record in the National League and are comfortably in front of the wildcard standings. The Braves' tranquility was briefly spoiled prior to the start of the weekend when outfielder Marcell Ozuna was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol early Friday morning. With a second arrest in as many seasons, it will be interesting to see how much longer the Braves will tolerate the talented but troubled outfielder. Back on the field, the Braves continue to be one of the hottest teams in baseball. Atlanta took the opener against the Astros 6-2 on Friday night thanks to Kyle Wright's team-leading 15th win and then on Saturday, the Braves won 5-4 in 11-innings thanks to a Travis D'Arnaud pinch-hit single with the bases loaded in the 11th.

Like the Astros, the Braves have developed a roster that looks fully capable of going deep in this year's playoffs. Max Fried's start on Thursday against the Mets after a stint on the IL was very encouraging as was the return of Kyle Wright on Friday from arm fatigue. The Braves have also bolstered their roster with capable back-of-the-rotation starters like Jake Odorizzi and Ian Anderson. Both could help fortify the Braves pen in the playoffs as well. On the mound to conclude the series with the Astros will be veteran righty Charlie Morton. Last Morton saw the Astros, he was leaving the field with a fractured leg in game one of the World Series. Morton has had a up and down season but, if his last start is any indication, he has turned a corner. Against the Mets, Morton went 6.2 innings and allowed just three hits, no runs and struck out 12. It was the second time in three starts that Morton didn't allow a run.

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The Braves are looking to keep pace with the Mets and remain one of the hottest teams in baseball. Coming into Saturday night's matchup, the Braves have gone 8-2 in their last ten. Charlie Morton looks to have also turned a corner, particularly after his 12-strikeout performance against the Mets in his last start. Morton has not allowed a run in two of his last three starts and is pitching with purpose as he looks to solidify his own place in the Braves' eventual playoff rotation. Houston has been inconsistent as of late, losing three of their last five games heading into Saturday night's clash. The Houston lineup may be compromised again on Sunday as Alvarez still recovers from his scare on Friday night. The Braves, nearly 20 games over .500 at home, will look to close out this latest home stand with a win.

Take the Braves with the money line.

Prediction: Braves -152

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In the humid sun on a Sunday afternoon in Atlanta, I fully expect the ball to be flying out of Truist Field. The Braves are second in baseball in home runs per game while the Astros are 4th in the league in home runs. Heading into Saturday night's battle, Houston is 6-3-1 to the over in their last ten games. In Morton's last seven starts, the Braves are 5-2 to the over. I fully expect between three to five home runs between these two teams tomorrow in the warm conditions in Atlanta with two of the league's more powerful lineups.

Take the over, 8 runs.

Prediction: Over 8

Written By Mark Ruelle , "Mark Ruelle"

Mark has been a sports fanatic since childhood. He is also an avid follower of sports analytics and has used it in his own betting analysis for over two decades. Now we have Mark on our team here at Stat Salt. He holds degrees in marketing, broadcasting, and English and uses this vast array of assets to dissect and analyze game matchups. Mark will provide you with a wide variety of statistics to consider and a strong opinion in each matchup that he covers. Please follow him daily for an up-to-the-minute analysis of all the important games.