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Braves vs. Cubs MLB Odds, Pick & Preview: Expect Plenty of Runs in Wrigley Matinee (Friday, June 17)

Braves vs. Cubs MLB Odds, Pick & Preview: Expect Plenty of Runs in Wrigley Matinee (Friday, June 17) article feature image
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Todd Kirkland/Getty Images. Pictured: Ronald Acuna.

  • The Braves travel to Chicago to open up a weekend series with the Cubs.
  • These teams are trending in opposite directions and the Braves have won 14 straight and the Cubs are in a tailspin.
  • D.J. James previews the matchup and shares his best bet below.

Braves vs. Cubs Odds

Braves Odds -180
Cubs Odds +160
Over/Under 8 (-110/-110)
Time 2:20 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

The Chicago Cubs have lost 10 games in a row, bringing their record to 23-40. They will face the red-hot Atlanta Braves, who have won 14 games in a row. Charlie Morton will go for the Braves against Keegan Thompson and the Cubs. Neither of these pitchers has been particularly sharp, even if Morton has been riding along the Braves and their win streak and Thompson has been a lone bright spot on a rebuilding Cubs roster. Morton owns a 5.67 ERA against a 5.01 xERA, so he is getting a bit unlucky, but he still has not pitched well. Thompson has a 3.67 ERA against a 4.05 xERA. This has ballooned with a 13.00 ERA over nine innings in June. It is hard to imagine Thompson will get back on track against this Atlanta club, who has been crushing right handers.

Taking the over is the right call since the Cubs have also been pretty solid against righties this month.

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Atlanta Braves: Will Morton’s Struggles Continue?

Morton has shown his age this season. He is allowing a Hard-Hit Rate of 42.7% with an Average Exit Velocity in the bottom half of the league. His walk numbers have also steadily climbed to 9.7%, which is not encouraging going forward.

Nick Madrigal and Seiya Suzuki are sidelined on the Injured List, but the rest of the Chicago lineup is healthy. They have seven hitters over the .330 xwOBA mark, which is surely enough to go against a struggling pitcher like Morton. In fact, although the Cubs are in the midst of a massive losing streak, they have a team wRC+ in June against righties of 109. This is well above average and should help them in their conquest to defeat Morton. Expect the Cubs to put up runs early on a warm afternoon at Wrigley Field.

Now, Collin McHugh is on the IL for the Braves bullpen, but they have exceeded expectations. In fact, they are starting to look more like the World Series run Braves in relief. Jesús Cruz and Jackson Stevens have been the weak relievers in June with 4.00+ xFIPs, so if they relieve Morton, the Cubs could continue to pile on a few more runs.

Chicago Cubs: Thompson has Struggled in June

Thompson looked fantastic through two months of the season, but he has seemingly collapsed in on himself and didn’t even last an inning in his last start. However, he has some positive peripherals, like ranking in the 80th percentile in both Hard-Hit Rate and Average Exit Velocity, but that goes to the wayside when looking at his June numbers.

The Braves has been fantastic against righties this month, propped up by their incredible win streak. Atlanta has the fourth-best wRC+ in the league in June (144) and are only trailing the Yankees, Blue Jays and Phillies. Ozzie Albies is on the 60-day Injured List, so that doesn’t help. He joins Eddie Rosario on the sidelines. The Braves only have four batters over the .330 xwOBA mark, so they are likely playing above expectations, but with Thompson’s struggles, they should still be in good shape.

The Cubs bullpen had been one of the best in baseball until the losing streak. They have a 4.16 xFIP since June 1, so they have their weak spots. The Braves will take advantage and push a few runs across the plate, too.

Braves-Cubs Pick

Take the over in this game. Wrigley Field is hitter-friendly on summer days and both of these teams can hit righties. Morton and Thompson have had trouble lately and will continue to do so. Unless Thompson returns to his May form or Morton looks like he did in past seasons, this game will go over. Take it from 8 (-110) to 10 (-110).

Pick: Over 8 (-110) | play to 10 (-110)

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