Cubs vs. Braves MLB Preview

Jake Arrieta #49 of the Chicago Cubs throws a pitch. Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images/AFP

Jake Arrieta #49 of the Chicago Cubs throws a pitch. Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images/AFP

Based on the standings, the Chicago Cubs and the Atlanta Braves seem to be equals. The Cubs have a 10-11 record, and the Braves have a 9-12 record. The major difference between the two teams is that Chicago is viewed as a team that is rebuilding this season, while Atlanta is built to contend this season.

 

Chicago Cubs vs. Atlanta Braves

Monday, April 26, 2020 – 7:10 PM EDT at Truist Park

 

Probable Pitchers:

Cubs: Zach Davies (1-2, 8.80 ERA)

Braves: Charlie Morton (1-1, 3.91 ERA)

Stakes of the Matchup

In 2020, the Cubs won the NL Central and the Braves won the NL East. For this season, ATL is slightly better than CHC, but not by that much. The Braves certainly should be favored on Monday night, but not at -185 odds.

The public perception of the Cubs is that they are rebuilding, but the perception is not the reality now. The Cubbies have a strong lineup, and they have a chance of winning the division. The only vulnerability they have is with the pitching matchup against Charlie Morton, but Zach Davies is not as bad of a pitcher as he looks on paper.

Pitching Matchup

The Braves have a clear edge in starting pitching against the Cubs. The starting pitcher for Atlanta is Charlie Morton who quietly has been one of the most consistent starting pitchers over the last few years.

At 37 years old, Morton may be an old man by baseball standards, but he is still performing at a high level. This season Morton has a 1-1 record with a 3.91 ERA. Most impressively Morton is averaging almost six innings per start. Last year for

Tampa, Morton had a down year, but in the previous three seasons he had an ERA between 3.05 and 3.62.

The larger issue for Morton will be the Cubs lineup. Currently the Cubbies are averaging 4.38 runs per game which is close to the league average. However, this is impressive when you consider that 1B Anthony Rizzo, SS Javier Baez, OF Jason Heyward, and C Willson Contreras are all underperforming their pre-season expectations. Over the course of a full season, Chicago should have 4.6 runs per game once their underperforming players live up to their expectations.

Opposing Morton is Cubs starting pitcher Zach Davies. For the 2021 season, Davies has gotten off too a poor start as he has an 8.80 ERA, with a 5.98 xFIP. However, Last season Davies had a 7-4 record with a 2.73 ERA, and a 4.14 xFIP. Last season Davies gave up fewer runs than he should have, and this season he is giving up more runs than he should. As the season goes on, Davies should pitch for around five innings per start giving up around two earned runs.

Prediction

Both teams are evenly matched, but the Braves are the slightly better team. Despite this, the Cubs as heavy underdogs are an attractive bet.

The Cubs starting pitcher is not vulnerable as bad as he looks on paper. In the past Zach Davies has been a consistent pitcher and he should be on Monday night against the Braves.

While Charlie Morton is a strong starting pitcher for the Braves, he is still vulnerable to the Cubs lineup. When Chicago’s lineup starts playing up to their potential this season, they should have a winning record. Additionally, the Cubs are quietly a sleeper pick to win the NL Central division and make the playoffs. At +165, Chicago as a +165 moneyline underdog is a great bet to make.

MLB Pick: Chicago Cubs Moneyline +165 (Bet365)

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