7:10 p.m. ET – Cubs at Braves (-190 ML) O/U: 8.5
The 10-11 Cubs travel to Atlanta for a four-game series starting Monday night at SunTrust Park against the 9-12 Braves. Chicago lost two of three over the weekend against the Brewers. Despite a dominant 15-2 win in Game One of the series, the Cubs were able to score only three runs in the final two games combined. Atlanta lost two of three over the weekend to the Diamondbacks, including a doubleheader sweep at the hands of Arizona on Sunday that included a seven-inning “no-hitter” from Madison Bumgarner.
About the Cubs
The Cubs have been feast or famine to begin the season, ranking 13th in the big leagues in runs per game at 4.4, yet 26th in team batting average at .213. Chicago has 28 team home runs this season, which ranks fourth in the majors, but with its team batting average so low, it has not led to as many runs as one would think.
Shortstop Javier Baez came out of the gate struggling this season, but is batting .300 with three home runs and nine RBI in his last seven games. Another bright spot for the Cubs has been the resurgence of former National League Most Valuable Player Kris Bryant, who leads the team with a .292 batting average. Despite the final two games of the Milwaukee series slowing the Chicago bats down, the Cubs still have been able to score over 10 runs in three of its past eight games.
The Cubs pitching staff has not done the team many favors in the early going, owning a 4.48 team ERA 21 games into the season.
About the Braves
The Braves combined for one hit over 14 innings on Sunday in their two losses to Arizona. A bright spot to come out of the series, however, was the return of left fielder Ronald Acuna Jr. to the lineup after suffering an abdominal strain on April 18 against the Cubs. Acuna has emerged as a leading NL MVP – batting .371 with seven home runs and 16 RBI.
Acuna would be taking a handoff from fellow teammate and 2020 NL MVP Freddie Freeman if he were to ultimately win the award. The veteran first baseman is off to a slow start to the 2021 campaign, batting .205 in April. The 2020 National League East Champions will need Freeman to heat up if they want to win the division against a much-improved Mets team that took over as the favorite to win the division after acquiring Francisco Lindor this offseason.
Atlanta also needs help from its pitching staff, who owns a 4.78 team ERA, second-highest among all MLB teams.
|Teams||Spread||Money Line||Total Points|
|Chicago Cubs||+1½ (-125)||+170||O 8½ (-105)|
|Atlanta Braves||-1½ (+105)||-200||U 8½ (-115)|
The Pitching Matchup
Chicago is turning to right-hander Zach Davies, hoping for an adequate start. Davies is 1-2 in four starts this season with an 8.80 ERA over 15.1 innings of work. Batters have a batting average of .313 against Davies this season, largely due to his lack of velocity and ineffective off-speed pitches. Right-hander Charlie Morton is getting the ball for the Braves in the series opener, looking to get them back in the win column. Morton has a 3.91 ERA in four starts this season, including a six-inning outing against the Yankees his last time out when he only allowed one run.
Davies is a veteran and will give Chicago a chance to win the series opener on Monday night like he did in his last outing, a game in which the Cubs won 16-4. Take the underdog at +170 in a game that should be closer to a coin flip.