Chicago Cubs at Atlanta Braves – MLB April 26

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.

Unfortunately for Bumgarner, Major League Baseball ruled that seven-inning no-hitters would not be counted in the history books as a true no-hitter.

About the Cubs

Cubs LogoThe 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

Atlanta Braves LogoThe 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.

What’s the Bet?
The Braves are -190 favorites just one day after recording only one hit in 14 innings. Morton has not been lights out enough this season to lay -190 juice on against a Cubs lineup that is capable of breaking out on any given night. Davies has struggled this year, but was better his last time out when he allowed only two runs over four innings.

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.

Vince Velasquez needs to throw five innings and allow three or less runs and Philadelphia’s hitters should be able to handle the rest and pull off the short upset.
The Bet
Cubs ML

*Odds courtesy of MyBookie

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Joe Menzer / Author

Joe is an award-winning writer and editor who has covered the NBA, NFL, NASCAR, golf, various collegiate athletics and other sports for newspapers, Turner Sports, Fox Sports and ESPN. He has been on the beat for seven Super Bowls, six Daytona 500s and numerous NBA playoff series and All-Star Games. He once was dispatched to Rome, Italy to spend time with an NBA draft choice who opted to play overseas, after which he produced an award-winning series of stories. He also is passionate about fantasy sports and breaking down games in ways that even novice gamblers can use to make their most intelligent wagering decisions.