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Chicago Cubs vs. Atlanta Braves

Chicago Cubs (22-17) at Atlanta Braves (25-16)

MLB Baseball: 5-15-2018 at 7:35 PM EDT (SunTrust Park)

Probable Pitchers: Tyler Chatwood (3-3 3.35 ERA) vs. Brandon McCarthy (4-2 5.58 ERA)

Money Line: Cubs -112, Braves +107 // Run Line: Braves +1.5 // Over/Under: 9.5

FREE MLB Pick Chicago Cubs vs. Atlanta Braves

 

The Chicago Cubs will continue their four-game series against the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday, May 16th.  The teams split the first two games: The Braves won on Monday 6-5, winning on a go-ahead three-run home run from José Bautista; The Cubs won the second game 3-2, pulling ahead despite that fact that Yu Darvish was pulled after four innings.

Today, the Chicago Cubs will put Tyler Chatwood on the mound.  His ERA is very respectable at 3.35; in his last four starts his ERA is significantly lower, at 2.55.  And he’s won all three games he’s won in that stretch.  So he seems to be on a small roll.  However, walks are a problem for Chatwood.  He walked five against the Chicago White Sox, and that is the fifth time in his last seven starts he’s done that.  Those walks could become a problem against the disciplined Braves lineup – especially against Freddie Freeman, who already hits .500 with three RBI in 10 career at bats against Chatwood.

The Cubs’ best hitter this year has been Javier Baez.  Coming into Wednesday, Baez is hitting .274/.310/.596 with 10 HR and 36 RBI.  As a team, the Cubs are good at getting on base.  They are fifth in the MLB with 9.03 team hits/game.  They also cross the plate a lot, scoring 205 runs per game (4th in MLB).  The Cubs are have the fourth-fewest strikeouts as a team (311).  And they are fourth once again in team OPS (.765).  After overcoming a rough start, the team has figured out how to steady their offense.  And it has paid off.  They are only 1.5 games back in the NL Central, which is an impressive feat.  The division is very tough this year.

The Atlanta Braves will place Brandon McCarthy on the mound tonight.  Brandon McCarthy has been anything but reliable.  His season ERA sits at a miserable 5.58.  In his previous start (against the godawful Marlins), he gave up six earned runs and eleven hits.  This year his WHIP is almost 2.00, sitting at 1.71.  Batters hit .331 against him.  In May, he’s given up 14 earned runs in only 8.1 innings.  The Cubs’ high-powered, disciplined offense is going to have a field day with him.

But the Atlanta Braves have the best record in the National League (25-16).  Their win percentage paces them at 101 wins over 162 games.  A large part of this is their offense.  Ronald Acuña, despite having played in only 19 games, has 8 of the 10 hardest-hit balls for any Braves player.  It might be hard to believe, but Freddie Freeman has gotten even better.  His hard-hit percentage has gone up almost 8% since last year, and his average exit velocity and launch angle have both increased.  He is still batting balls off the barrel at around the same rate as previous years.  And somehow, he is walking more and striking out less.  His wOBA is .420 and his xwOBA is .470.  He’s great.  And so far this year, Nick Markakis has been great, too.  He is currently hitting .337/.406/.524 with 7 home runs and 30 runs batted in.  The Braves’ offense has been incredible this year, and they’ve given no indication of slowing down.

 

Cover the Spread 365 Betting Trends

 

Cubs

The Chicago Cubs are 5-2 SU in its last 7 games

The total has gone OVER in 4 of the Chicago Cubs’s last 5 games

The Chicago Cubs are 7-3 ATS in its last 10 games on the road

 

Braves

Atlanta is 5-2 ATS in its last 7 games

Atlanta is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games

The total has gone OVER in 4 of Atlanta’s last 5 games

 

Atlanta Braves vs. Chicago Cubs FREE MLB Prediction

 

This is going to be an offensive game.  Both teams have great batters and their pitchers are decent at best.  Chatwood doesn’t tend to last very long in games, so expect the Cubs to use their bullpen after around 5 innings of work from him.  And it’ll be a tall order to carry clean innings against the Braves’ stellar offense.  But the main issue in this game will be Brandon McCarthy.  He is on a very short leash, most likely will not last long today, and he will definitely not record a quality start.  Expect the Cubs to win (they won’t cover the spread) and the game to run over.

 

[button type=”big” color=”blue“] Pick: Chicago Cubs -1.5 [/button]
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