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Pirates vs. Braves: Picks, predictions, how to watch Thursday’s game

We go over how to watch Thursday’s game between the Pirates and Braves and make some picks.

Atlanta Braves designated hitter Ronald Acuna Jr. (13) singles in the seventh inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field.  John Leyba-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Pirates and Atlanta Braves square off on Thursday with first pitch set for 7:20 p.m. EST. The game takes place at Truist Park in Atlanta, Georgia and will only be available on local TV or through an subscription. JT Brubaker is set to start for the Pirates, while Max Fried gets the nod for the Braves.

While it was expected that they would be one of the worst teams in baseball this season, the Pirates have actually surprised some MLB fans. While they’re 24-30 this season, they swept the Dodgers last week and have played competitive baseball. Ke’Bryan Hayes has been their best hitter this season as he’s hitting .285 with two home runs, 20 runs batted in, and seven stolen bases. On the mound, JT Brubaker has struggled big time. He’s 0-5 with a 4.70 ERA but does have 53 strikeouts.

The Braves are starting to come along after a slow start to the season. They’re currently on a seven-game winning streak and are now in second place in the NL East. After a slow start, Dansby Swanson has turned things around as he’s now hitting .278 with six home runs, 26 runs batted in, and nine stolen bases. Getting Ronald Acuña back has been everything for the Braves as well. Since returning from the IL, Acuña is hitting .318 with five home runs, 15 runs batted in, and 10 stolen bases.

Pirates vs. Braves

Pitchers: JT Brubaker vs. Max Fried
First pitch: 7:20 p.m. EST
Pirates local broadcast: AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh
Braves local broadcast: Bally Sports Southeast
Live stream: (subscription)

Odds, picks & predictions

Point spread: Braves -1.5
Run total: 8.5
Moneyline odds: Braves -275, Pirates +220

Moneyline pick: Braves -275

With Max Fried facing off against JT Brubaker, it’s a no-brainer to take the Braves in this one. Brubaker has yet to earn a win and the Braves lineup is red-hot right now. I would play Braves -1.5 as I expect Atlanta to pull away big later in the game.

Player prop pick: JT Brubaker over 4.5 strikeouts (-135)

While he’s had major struggles this season, Brubaker has still done a good job striking batters out, especially in games where he goes 5+ innings. While this Braves lineup has a ton of power, they also have struck out 548 times this season, which is the most in the MLB. Look for Brubaker to go over this total in this one.

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