MLB Monday best bets: Braves to stay hot in Washington

Todd Kirkland / Getty Images Sport / Getty

We had a successful weekend on the diamond, winning two of the three plays from Friday's preview.

We'll look to pick up where we left off to start a new week.

Braves (-145) @ Nationals (+125)

The Braves enter this contest riding a whopping 11-game winning streak. While the fun isn't going to last forever, I see this ride carrying on for at least one more night.

Ian Anderson doesn't have the most potent arm, but he's a serviceable pitcher, and his current form is pretty good. He owns a 4.01 FIP over the last month and has struck out 22.2% of the batters faced in that frame.

Perhaps more important, Anderson is keeping the ball down. He owns a 59.4% ground-ball rate over the past month, which ranks first among today's projected starters.

He should be able to continue that success against a Nationals team that ranks dead last in FB% versus right-handed pitching over the last couple of weeks. They're struggling to get the ball in the air, which doesn't bode well for creating quick-strike offense against Anderson.

On the flip side of things, the Braves' offense is in a good spot to give their starter plenty of run support. Josiah Gray has very lively stuff, but he's still struggling to maximize it.

Gray owns a 5.42 FIP over the last month and has produced the worst GB% among all pitchers scheduled to start today. He's having a miserable time keeping the ball on the ground. That's why he has conceded 2.16 homers per nine innings during this stretch.

Gray has to rectify those issues - and fast - to stand any chance against the Braves in their current form. They rank fifth in wOBA (.349) against righties over the last couple of weeks and have a higher hard-hit rate than every team in the majors during that time.

Look for the Braves to keep the train moving.

Astros (-160) @ Rangers (+140)

This game has real potential for fireworks.

Cristian Javier is pitching better than his recent results indicate, but there are still some red flags statistically. Chief among them is his inability to keep the ball out of the air.

Over the last month, Javier has managed a 28.8 GB% (very low) and a 57.6 FB% (very high). None of the slate's projected starters have given up flyballs more often.

That could get Javier into trouble for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, the Rangers are a potent offense in good form - especially in terms of generating power.

They rank ninth in ISO (.182) and third in fly ball rate (45.3%) against right-handed pitching over the last couple of weeks. They're putting the ball in the air and hitting it hard. That's ideal for success against a pitcher with Javier's profile.

Weather could also help spark the offense. The temperature is supposed to hover between 95 degrees and 100 degrees Fahrenheit for the duration of this game, and there's heavy wind blowing outward. The ball is really going to carry.

Even as an underdog, Texas should be able to put up a decent number of runs in this game.

It's easy to get excited about the Astros' offense as well. Taylor Hearn owns a 5.27 FIP and 10.5% walk rate over the last month. He also gives up plenty of flyballs.

The Astros sit seventh in wOBA and fifth in ISO against lefties since May 1. They also slot third in hard-hit percentage and put 39% of balls in the air. They are more than capable of taking advantage of Hearn's mistakes, especially with the aid of scorching heat and heavy wind to help the balls carry.

Expect plenty of runs in this one.

Bet: Over 9 (-110)

Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.

MLB Monday best bets: Braves to stay hot in Washington
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