MLB Odds & Picks for Braves vs. Cubs: Atlanta to Start New Winning Run?
Dustin Bradford/Getty Images. Pictured: Austin Riley (left) and Matt Olson.
- The Cubs snapped the Braves' losing streak on Friday and will look to pick up another win on Saturday.
- Justin Steele will take the ball for the Cubs and Kyle Wright will start for the Braves.
- D.J. James breaks down the matchup and shares his best bet below.
Braves vs. Cubs Odds
|Time||2:20 p.m. ET|
|Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.|
The Chicago Cubs host the red-hot Atlanta Braves on Saturday afternoon again. Justin Steele will pitch for the Cubbies against Kyle Wright of the Braves.
Steele has been a bit unlucky this season, with a 4.33 ERA compared to a 3.24 xERA. Positive regression is eventually in the cards for him eventually, but probably not against this Braves lineup. Wright, meanwhile, has a 2.57 ERA and 3.31 xERA, so peripherally, these pitchers should be neck and neck in terms of results, but the actual numbers say otherwise.
In June, Atlanta holds a 164 wRC+ off of left-handed pitching, while the Cubs have posted a 104 mark against righties. This is a massive difference and should be the story with two seemingly similar statistics from the starting pitchers. Take the Braves on the moneyline and perhaps the team total, if the price is too steep.
Wright, Braves Bullpen Should Quiet the Cubs
Wright has lowered his Average Exit Velocity by seven points, which is a huge contributing factor to his success this season. He also slashed his walk rate by six points and raised his strikeout rate by 10 points. He has been a completely different pitcher and a wonderful surprise for the Braves.
The Cubs, although they have hit righties in June, are a top-heavy lineup. They are also missing Nick Madrigal and Seiya Suzuki to the Injured List. This month, Chicago only had four hitters over a .295 xwOBA entering this series. This says that Wright should carve up the weaker hitters and the bottom half of the lineup.
Willson Contreras is one name to watch, though, since he entered the series with a June xwOBA of .229 against righties. He is in a slump, but do not expect it to break against Wright.
Collin McHugh is back for the Atlanta bullpen in the midst of a hot streak. Outside of two arms in June, every Braves reliever entered this series with a sub-3.00 SIERA. This is astounding and a giant piece of their hot streak’s success. This should limit the Cubs’ hitting late in the game.
Steele has been getting unlucky. He has favorable Hard Hit Percentage and Average Exit Velocity numbers, which is part of the reason his xERA is so much lower than his actual ERA, but the Braves hammer lefties, at least they have been of late.
Atlanta will be without Eddie Rosario and Ozzie Albies, but this should not matter too much given how well the rest of the lineup has been hitting southpaws.
Austin Riley entered Friday afternoon’s game averaging an exit velocity of 107.3 mph off of lefties this month, while Adam Duvall had a .500+ xwOBA. The rest of the lineup dropped off slightly, but Travis Demeritte, Travis d’Arnaud and Marcell Ozuna all entered this series with at least a .380 xwOBA in the last 30 days of play. This batting order should be fine against Steele.
In addition, the Cubs bullpen has not maintained the performances it had in the first two months of the season. Chicago entered this series with a team 4.03 xFIP since the start of June. Half of the bullpen has underperformed, furthering the point that the Braves should take full advantage, potentially tacking on a couple runs late.
The Braves are the hotter team and the better one.
Yes, a -160 moneyline is a lot of juice, so if a bettor does not feel comfortable laying down that much money on Atlanta, a team total might be a good move.
Wright is the better of these two starters, when considering the prowess of the lineup he is facing. The Braves have a couple of key pieces injured, but this should not matter. They will get to Steele.
Take the Braves from -160 to -175 on the moneyline, then look to bet the team total at 5.5.
Pick: Braves -160 (play to -175) | Braves Team Total o5.5 (-110)