The Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs play the third game of a four-game series on Wednesday night. It’s time to continue our MLB odds series and make a Cubs-Braves prediction and pick.
Atlanta is off to a relatively slow start to the season, currently standing at 11-12. If you put $100 on every single Braves game so far, you’d be down $259 on the moneyline so far.
Chicago has been even more shaky than the Braves with a 10-13 record and in dead last in the NL Central. If you put $100 on every single Cubs game so far, you’d be down $405 on the moneyline so far.
Here’s how sportsbooks have set the Cubs-Braves odds.
MLB Odds: Cubs-Braves Odds
Chicago Cubs ML (+119)
Atlanta Braves ML (-129)
Over 8.5 Runs (-114)
Under 8.5 Runs (-106)
Why The Braves Could Win This Game
The Braves looked very strong against the Cubs in the first two games of the series. Their bats have come to life after being nearly totally silenced by the Diamondbacks in their previous series.
Atlanta has a good chance of keeping the hot bats going against a pitcher who has struggled so far this year. Kyle Hendricks has pitched to a 5.68 ERA and has already allowed a whopping seven home runs.
Against a Braves lineup that is fourth in the league in homers, this is could spell danger for the soft-tossing righty. One bat to keep an eye on in particular is Marcell Ozuna, who is batting .393 against Hendricks over 28 plate appearances. The outfielder has also gone deep twice against the Cubs pitcher.
Atlanta will be sending young right-hander Huascar Ynoa to the mound in opposition of Hendricks. Ynoa has been serviceable this season, amassing a 3.68 ERA over four starts and one relief appearance.
Ynoa is a hard-throwing righty who touches the upper 90s with his fastball and has shown the ability to throw a plus slider. As mainly a two-pitch hurler, Ynoa has limited his walks while racking up the Ks, tosseing 25 strikeouts to only four walks.
Against a Cubs offense that strikes out the fifth-most in the league and depends heavily on the free pass to get traffic on base, the advantage lies with Ynoa here.
Why The Cubs Could Win This Game
Despite Hendricks’ overall struggles this season, it’s likely we see a regression toward the mean for a pitcher who has been a borderline Cy Young candidate over the last couple years.
The changeup specialist looked much better in his last start against the Brewers, giving up two runs over six innings (both via solo shot) to help the Cubbies get the win.
Playing in Atlanta should at least slow Hendricks’ issue with home runs. In both of his starts in which he was shelled, Hendricks pitched at Wrigley Field with the wind blowing out. Balls should fly a lot less in Atlanta.
Last time the Cubs saw Ynoa, he lasted only four innings and gave up six earned runs, three of them off the dingers. Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, and Willson Contreras all recorded multi-hit games.
Like the Braves, the Cubs like to punish opponents with the homer and are tied for sixth in the league with 30 of them.
The odds that Contreras or Rizzo get a hold of a Ynoa fastball at some point are fairly high. Look for the Cubs to force Ynoa’s pitch count up and wait on a badly located fastball.
Final Cubs-Braves Prediction & Pick
In the end, the Braves have a slight advantage on the mound and in the batter’s box. I expect both pitchers to deliver solid efforts. The hot Atlanta bats should be able to do slightly more damage to Hendricks than the Cubs do to Ynoa. I’ll back the Braves to win their third straight.
FINAL CUBS-BRAVES PREDICTION: ATLANTA BRAVES ML (-129)