Cubs vs. Braves Odds, Picks, Predictions: Drew Smyly, Chicago Have Value Early (April 28)
Dustin Bradford/Getty Images. Pictured: Drew Smyly #11 of the Chicago Cubs.
- The Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves face off Thursday in a cross-division matchup.
- The Braves are sizable favorites (-225 odds) in the matchup, but is there value elsewhere?
- Nick Shlain explains why he's focused on the first five innings.
Cubs vs. Braves Odds
|Time||7:20 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.|
The Atlanta Braves are off to kind of a rough start in their defense of a World Series championship as their record stands at 8-11 and they find themselves in fourth place in the National League east division.
The Chicago Cubs haven’t been much better at 8-10, but they find themselves as pretty decent underdogs at +155 on BetMGM Thursday night on MLB Network.
Will the Braves get back on track or will the Cubs take them down?
The Braves will be facing a familiar face in Cubs left-hander Drew Smyly as he was on the 2021 World Championship team last year. Smyly had a 4.48 ERA in 29 games for Atlanta last year. This year, his ERA is 2.45 after three starts.
While Smyly has been quite fortunate to have an unsustainable 90% strand rate, he’s also been impressive as evidenced by his 2.56 xERA. He’s getting 51% ground balls and while his K% is only 15% this year he had a 21% K% last year.
Smyly has gone at least 4.2 innings in all three of his starts this year and I expect him to keep the Cubs in the game for the first five innings again here.
The Braves are of course missing star outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. from their lineup as he’s still playing in the minor leagues as he recovers from a knee injury. Atlanta will also be without outfielder Eddie Rosario, who was recently placed on the injured list with blurred vision and swelling in his right retina.
Kyle Wright is starting for Atlanta here and he’s been lights out on the mound to start the season. In three starts, he has a 1.06 ERA over 17 innings with 26 strikeouts and just two walks. The 26-year-old appears to be a likely candidate for a breakout season now and he should have another big game in this spot against the Cubs.
While the Chicago lineup has a lot of power with Ian Happ (.239 ISO against right-handed pitching last year), Frank Schwindel (.210), and Patrick Wisdom (.258) plus Seiya Suzuki (.281 this year), they also strike out a lot. Happ (27% K% against right-handed pitching last year), Contreras (29%), Wisdom (36%) and Suzuki (34% this year) are all prime candidates for strikeouts.
The Braves are the favorites at home with their latest young breakout pitcher on the mound with Kyle Wright, but the offense just hasn’t totally clicked for Atlanta yet without Acuna Jr. in the lineup. Without him and Rosario, Atlanta’s lineup might not find its way Thursday night against familiar face Smyly.
I like the Cubs +165 F5 here as I expect Smyly to keep the Cubs in the game and will hope that Chicago’s power is able to get a lead against Wright early.
Pick: Cubs +165 F5