The Atlanta Braves take on the Chicago Cubs in the second of a three-game series at Wrigley Field in Chicago on Saturday, April 17, so I’ve prepared the best betting pick and odds for this marquee National League matchup.
The Braves beat the Cubs as slight -113 favorites in the opener, 5-2. They are listed as -123 moneyline favorites for Saturday’s clash, according to DraftKings Sportsbook, while the Cubs sit at +115 odds to win straight up. The totals are set at 8.5 runs.
Atlanta searches for its third straight victory
The Atlanta Braves entered this series of a 7-6 home victory over the Miami Marlins, avoiding a sweep in a four-game set. They improved to 6-8 on the season with that three-run win over the Cubs, but the Braves remained at the fourth spot of the NL East standings, half a game behind the Marlins.
Atlanta is still building up its form, especially on the offensive end. The Braves score 4.54 runs per game (12th in the MLB) while slashing .221/.299/.420. Their slugging percentage is the fifth-best in the majors, but the Braves rank 23rd in batting average and 22nd in on-base percentage.
Huascar Ynoa will toe the slab for the Braves on Saturday, looking for another strong performance in 2021. The 22-year-old right-hander owns a 0.75 ERA and 0.67 WHIP while posting a 15/2 K/BB ratio through 12 innings of work. Ynoa has never met the Cubs before.
Chicago desperately needs to get things going offensively
The Chicago Cubs are 5-8 on the young season following Friday’s defeat to the Braves. It was their fifth loss in the last six outings at any location, so the Cubs are sitting bottom of the NL Central, half a game behind the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Chicago is struggling mightily on the offensive end. The Cubs are scoring only 2.67 runs per game which are the fewest in baseball. Furthermore, they are dead last in batting average (.163), on-base percentage (.254), and slugging percentage (.307).
Trevor Williams will get the starting nod for Chicago on Saturday, and the 28-year-old righty is 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA and 1.71 WHIP after his first two starts in 2021. The former Pirates member is 32-38 with a 4.47 ERA in his career and will meet the Braves for the first time since 2018 when he tossed six innings of a one-run ball in a no-decision.
- 6-2 in the last eight games against the Cubs
- 5-2 in the last seven games against the NL Central
- 1-5 in the last six games overall
- 3-6 in the last nine home tilts against Atlanta
The Braves haven’t impressed thus far, but they still look like a much better team than the Cubs who continue with the lousy offensive performance. Trevor Williams hasn’t been sharp through his first two outings this term, so the Cubs could be in big trouble Saturday at home.
On the other side, Huascar Ynoa will try to string together the third impressive start. Even if the youngster struggles, I think the Braves’ bullpen will have enough firepower, as well as their prolific offense that has plenty of room for improvement.
Pick: Take Atlanta Braves at -123
Considering the Cubs’ sterile offense, betting on the under is a logical choice. Only two of the Cubs’ 13 games this season produced more than eight runs in total, and the under is 9-3 in their previous 12 outings.
Also, the under is 7-2 in Atlanta’s last nine showings on the road, and it is 4-1 in the previous five encounters between the Braves and Cubs. Still, I don’t like betting on the under when the Braves are playing, so the visitors to win straight up remains my top pick here.
Pick: Go under 8.5 runs at -110