Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#3957 Atlanta Braves vs.
#3958 St. Louis Cardinals
Wednesday, August 4, 2021 at 8:15pm EDT
Written by Blake V.

Atlanta will try to snap its unlikely pattern when it faces St. Louis on Wednesday night. The Braves have alternated between wins and losses in every game since the All-Star break, including a 6-1 win over the Cardinals on Tuesday. St. Louis did not get a strong performance out of Jon Lester in his debut after the trade deadline.

Braves closing in on Mets in NL East

Atlanta continues to be in the midst of a remarkable stretch. It has alternated between wins and losses in every game since the All-Star break, which dates back to July 16. The Braves continued that stretch with a 6-1 win over St. Louis on Tuesday, scoring five of those runs in the first inning. They made up more ground in the National League East, as the Mets lost again on Tuesday. New York is now just 1.5 games up on Philadelphia and 2.5 games ahead of Atlanta. The Braves offense ranks No. 15 with a team batting average of .242.

First baseman Freddie Freeman leads the team with 116 hits, including 24 home runs. Third baseman Austin Riley has 109 hits. Left-handed pitcher Drew Smyly is going to start for Atlanta on Wednesday night. He allowed three runs across four innings against the Mets in his last start. Smyly allowed multiple runners in four of the five innings he appeared on the mound. He has only lasted four innings in consecutive starts after pitching at least five innings in six straight starts before that. Smyly has a pleasant 7-3 record, but his ERA has ballooned to 4.40 across 92 innings this season.

Happ replacing injured starters in rotation

St. Louis will be hoping to bounce back after Tuesday’s disappointing loss. Jon Lester was blown up in his team debut, allowing five runs in the first inning. The Cardinals cannot afford to lose many games right now, trailing Milwaukee by 10.5 games in the NL Central. They are seven games back of the Padres for the second Wild Card spot. St. Louis ranks No. 20 offensively with a team batting average of .234. First baseman Paul Goldschmidt leads the team with 107 hits and a .266 average. Third baseman Tommy Edman has 106 hits, while third baseman Nolan Arenado has 103 hits.

Arenado has cranked a team-high 20 home runs. Left fielder Daniel Carlson has 99 hits. Left-handed pitcher J.A. Happ will make his first start for St. Louis in this game. He was acquired prior to last week’s trade deadline after spending the first part of the season with Minnesota. It has been a disappointing season for the veteran so far, posting a 6.77 ERA through 98.1 innings. Happ might not stick in the rotation after Miles Mikolas and Jack Flaherty return from injury, but he has an opportunity to turn things around in a fresh uniform.

Best Bets for this Game

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Full-Game Side Bet

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These teams might have similar records, but one of them has much more of a chance at making the playoffs. Atlanta is now just 2.5 games back of New York after the Mets lost another game on Tuesday. The Braves have a chance to take advantage of a favorable pitching matchup in this game and snap their alternating stretch. They have gone 8-1 in Smyly’s last nine starts. Their offense is much better with Soler and Duvall in the fold following the trade deadline. St. Louis has struggled at the plate, so I do not think it is going to keep pace in this game.

Prediction: Atlanta -113

Full-Game Total Pick

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I think this is a case where Atlanta can hang a crooked number. Happ has not been good this season and now he has to make an adjustment to a new clubhouse. We saw the Braves jump all over Lester in a similar situation on Tuesday. They have now gone over the total in five of their last six games against a left-handed starter. Smyly has gone over in seven of his last eight starts. While St. Louis has not been great at the plate, it is capable of scoring against Smyly.

Prediction: Over 9
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Written By Blake Von Hagen , "Blake V."

Blake is a lifelong sports fan and hoops junkie. Prior to joining our team at Winners & Whiners and StatSalt, Blake worked for several newspapers and websites. He enjoys combining his beat writing expertise with the knack for finding the winning edge in a matchup. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.