The Atlanta Braves (14-5) have been red-hot as they return home for a series with the Houston Astros (9-10) on Friday night. The first game will get started at 7:20 p.m. ET and will air on Apple TV+. The Braves ended an eight-game winning streak on Wednesday with a 1-0 loss to the San Diego Padres, and the Astros took two of three against the Toronto Blue Jays. Rookie sensation Hunter Brown (2-0, 1.93 ERA) will go for Houston, while Bryce Elder (2-0, 1.53 ERA) pitches for the Braves.
Atlanta is a -115 moneyline favorite on DraftKings Sportsbook, making Houston a -105 underdog. The over/under is set at 9.
Astros-Braves picks: Friday, April 21
Out: OF Chas McCormick (back), 2B Jose Altuve (thumb), RP Parker Mushinski (back), SP Lance McCullers Jr. (elbow), OF Michael Brantley (shoulder)
Out: RP Lucas Luetge (biceps), SS Orlando Arcia (wrist), C Travis d’Arnaud (concussion), OF Michael Harris II (back), RP Collin McHugh (shoulder), RP Raisel Iglesias (shoulder), SP Kolby Allard (oblique), RP Tyler Matzek (elbow), SP Huascar Ynoa (elbow)
Hunter Brown vs. Bryce Elder
Brown is off to a hot start to his MLB career through 10 appearances in the big leagues. He has been dominant over his last two starts with consecutive outings of seven scoreless innings each.
Elder threw 12.1 shutout innings through the first two starts of the season and in his last outing, he gave up three runs on eight hits with two walks over 5.1 innings.
Both offenses are scoring more than five runs per game this season, but it’s hard to bet against either pitcher in this spot. Shutouts have been recorded in four of the six combined starts between Elder and Brown. Root against the bats on Friday night.
Pick: Under 9
Atlanta is on a roll right now, and it’s difficult to bet against the Braves as one of the hottest teams in the league. The Braves’ offense ranks fourth in slugging percentage (.443), while the Astros are 21st in that category (.382). Let’s go with Atlanta.