Astros vs. Braves prediction and odds for Friday, April 21 (Fade These 2nd year pitchers)

Houston Astros starting pitcher Hunter Brown
Houston Astros starting pitcher Hunter Brown / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The last two World Series Champions are off to very different starts to the 2023 season. The Atlanta Braves have raced out to a 1.5 game lead on the loaded NL East at 14-5, while the Houston Astros have been a little slow out of their blocks, 9-10, and in second in the AL West.

Now, these two teams that expect to be contending in October, meet up for a three-game series in April. 

For Game 1 of this series, the Astros have Hunter Brown on the mound making his fourth start of the season in his second year. Bryce Elder, also a second year starting pitcher, will also make his fourth start of 2023 for the Braves tonight. Brown is 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA and Elder is 2-0 with a 1.53 ERA. 

Let’s take a look at the odds for the Astros and the Braves in Atlanta tonight. 

Astros vs. Braves odds, run line and total

Astros vs. Braves prediction and pick

The Astros have allowed the eighth fewest runs in the MLB this year and scored the 10th most. This is a good team that hasn’t been able to string together wins, but they’re going to come. Houston expected to get great starting pitching and honestly their rotation has been good, yet the over is 12-6-1 in their games this season. 

Hunter Brown’s hot start to the year doesn’t seem fluky. He has an average strikeout and walk rate, but is 78th percentile in expected slugging and has an expected ERA of 3.25.

He won’t carry an ERA under two all season long, but he’ll be a good starting pitcher. I’m not sure the same can be said for Elder who despite a 1.53 ERA is 16th percentile in hard hit percentage and has an expected ERA of 3.72.

Elder’s primary pitch, his sinker is allowing a .353 batting average and a .412 slugging percentage so far this season. He throws it 36% of the time. 

Both of these starting pitchers have had strong starts to the year, but there will be some bumps along the way for each of them. Atlanta has a .790 OPS as a team over the past seven days and Sean Murphy is hitting the cover off the ball with a 1.308 OPS and three home runs over that stretch. I see this game going over tonight. 

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Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change