Cubs vs Braves Prediction Today | MLB Odds, Picks for Tuesday, September 26
Norm Hall/Getty Images. Pictured: Justin Steele
Cubs vs. Braves Odds
The Chicago Cubs are officially in playoff mode as they are fighting to hang on to the final wild-card spot in the National League. With just six games remaining and only one game separating them from the Miami Marlins, every game is crucial from here on out.
However, holding on to their playoff spot will be easier said than done, as they will begin a series with the Atlanta Braves tonight. Atlanta has locked up the NL East, and the Braves are in a great position to finish with the best record in baseball.
Atlanta is not taking its foot off the gas, but the Cubs will have a chance behind their ace and NL Cy Young candidate, Justin Steele.
With some great battles in store in this matchup, let's dive in and uncover the best bet as the Chicago Cubs take on the Atlanta Braves.
The Cubs have not exactly been a model of consistency at the dish this season, but they are a team that can get hot, and when the line keeps moving, they can put up a crooked number.
They may have an opportunity to do just that against Braves starter Bryce Elder. Now, Elder is undoubtedly due for regression, but we've seen that elite sinkerballers can consistently outperform expectations because a majority of the hard contact is on the ground.
However, the Cubs are not a team that will pound Elder's sinkers into the ground, as they have the fifth-highest line drive late in the majors. If they can continue to square up the baseball tonight, Elder's sinker has an xBA of .296, which means Chicago could have plenty of success tonight.
This Braves lineup is the most formidable lineup in baseball. They are head and shoulders above any other lineup in contact metrics. Their ability to mash on a consistent basis means that they can take control of a game at any moment.
Steele will need to be sharp, as any mistake can prove deadly. However, we should expect Steele to rise to the occasion. He knows the importance of this start, and you can bet he's made adjustments after giving up six earned runs in each of his last two starts.
What will help him is his ability to get swings and misses with his fastball-slider combo. His fastball has one of the highest run values in baseball, and Steele has displayed excellent command of it.
If he can locate the fastball and get ahead, expect him to finish off quite a few batters with his slider, and keep his team in the game.
Cubs vs. Braves
Betting Pick & Prediction
Steele's ability to rack up strikeouts will be crucial to his success in this outing and also presents the biggest edge in the matchup.
Steele is not getting much respect due to the Braves' prowess and his recent performances, but his strikeout total is far too low. Steele has recorded at least five strikeouts in 21 of his 29 starts this season.
That hit rate gives us implied odds of -262, which is immense value on the current price. In addition, I have formed a consensus projection of 5.6 strikeouts for Steele in this outing, so backing him is a very strong angle.