Cubs vs. Braves MLB Odds & Picks: How to Bet Monday’s National League Showdown (April 26)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images. Pictured: Charlie Morton
- Charlie Morton and the Atlanta Braves are -196 favorites to beat Zach Davies and the Chicago Cubs on Monday night.
- With both teams off to shaky starts, Mike Ianniello thinks the best betting value is on the Yes/No First-Inning Runs prop:
Cubs vs. Braves Odds
|7:10 p.m. ET
The Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves will kick off a four-game series in Atlanta, just one week removed from a three-game set in Chicago in which the Braves took two of three to win the series.
Both of these teams come into this one under .500 and have been inconsistent all year with their bats going ice cold for long stretches. Each squad is 5-5 in their last 10 games and have lost two-straight entering Monday night.
After starting the season as the worst offensive team in the league, the Cubs bats have finally woken up. Chicago has broken out with 10+ runs three of its last eight games. The Cubs still rank 25th in the league in batting average, however they sit eight with a .316 wOBA and 11th in wRC+.
The Cubs don’t have a single player batting over .300 on the season, but over the past week Kris Bryant, Javier Baez Eric Sogard, Matt Duffy, and Jake Marisnick have all broken out and helped the Cubs finally get going. Bryant has a .431 wOBA and five home runs this season.
Zach Davies will get the ball for the Cubs on Monday and the 28-year old has been…not great. Davies is 1-2 with an 8.80 ERA. He has allowed 15 runs in 15 innings and has more walks (11) than strikeouts (10). Davies has an xFIP of 6.00, so while it’s lower than his ERA, it’s still not great.
All of Davies pitches have a velocity well below league average. Batters are hitting .313 against him this year and he sits in the bottom 10% of the league in xwOBA, xERA, xBatting Average, and Strikeout percentage.
Davies just might be what this Atlanta lineup needs after being shutout in both ends of a doubleheader against the Diamondbacks. Madison Bumgarner entered the second game against the Braves with an 8.68 ERA and proceeded to no-hit Atlanta though the seven-inning game. At least Atlanta didn’t get no-hit in the first game, as they did manage to get one single.
The Braves have crossed just 10 runs in the last five games. After suffering an abdominal strain and missing two games, Ronald Acuña Jr. returned on Friday but went hitless in the three-games against Arizona. Acuña is still batting a decent .371 and is tied for the MLB lead with seven home runs.
Charlie Morton has alternated quality starts for the Braves this year. Allowing three runs in his first start, then just one in his second, then five in a tough outing against Miami and then just one last week against the Yankees. So which Morton will the Braves get Monday?
Morton has a solid 10.57 K/9 but the strength for “Ground Chuck” has always been his ground ball percentage, which is at 49.1% this season. Morton has a terrific curveball, allowing just a .103 batting average against with a 46.9 Whiff%. His curveball spin rate is in the 97th percentile of the league.
Despite the struggles for Davies this season, I am finding it very difficult to lay the current price of -180 with an Atlanta team that managed just one base hit in 14 innings yesterday.
Both of these teams have been super inconsistent all year and are capable of scoring 10+ runs or getting shutout on just about any night.
Since I am not seeing much value on the side or total, we are going to go with a fun little bit today. Zero runs to be scored in the first inning.
Morton has yet to allow a run in the first inning all season, and is terrific the first time through the order. His swing and miss stuff should have success against a Cubs team that strike out a lot.
While Davies has been bad this season. He’s allowed just one first inning run in his four starts. After the way the Braves looked at the plate yesterday, I am hoping their bats will stay ice cold for at least one more inning.
Pick: No Runs in the First Inning (+105)