MLB Pick: Chicago Cubs vs Atlanta Braves 8/30/18
Time: 7:35 PM ET
Where: SunTrust Park, Cumberland, GA
Listed Pitchers: Mike Montgomery (Cubs) & Mike Foltynewicz (Atl)
TV: MLB, FS – Southeast, WGN
Moneyline: Cubs +115/Braves -125
National League divisional leaders meet for a one-off make-up game when the Cubs and Braves get together Thursday evening in suburban Atlanta. How are we playing this contest with our daily free MLB pick?
Thursday’s MLB betting odds opened Atlanta at around -140 over the Cubbies, with an over/under of 8 runs. Early betting action then dropped that line as much as 15 cents, to around -125. With a dime line that brought the Cubs back to around +115.
The Braves could also be found getting upwards of +165 giving the run and a half on the MLB run line.
Chicago just took two of three games at home from the Mets, losing Wednesday’s series finale 10-3. The Cubs actually won a continued game earlier in the day Wednesday 2-1 in 11 innings.
Wednesday’s defeat snapped a seven-game winning streak for Chicago.
Atlanta, meanwhile, just split two games at home with Tampa Bay, losing Wednesday 8-5. So the Braves are just 2-3 over their last five games.
At 78-54 overall Chicago leads the NL Central by 4.5 games over second-place St. Louis.
At 74-58 overall Atlanta leads the NL East by 3.5 games over second-place Philadelphia.
And big-picture, the Cubs lead the Braves by four games in the race for the best record in the National League.
Atlanta leads the season series with Chicago three games to two.
On the personnel front the Cubs are still playing without 3B Kris Bryant, who’s on the DL with a sore shoulder.
Foltynewicz (10-8, 2.67), by our strict standards, is only 9/25 on quality starts this season, but some of that has to do with a short leash. He’s also working on a run of three QS in a row. Last Friday he held Miami to one run and two hits through six innings, and over his last three starts he’s allowed just two runs and 11 hits through 21 innings, with 24 strikeouts. On the season, for whatever reasons, the Braves are only 12-13 with Foltynewicz, with unders going 12-10.
In one start previous this season against the Cubbies Foltynewicz allowed one unearned run on three hits through five innings, with 10 strikeouts, in a game Atlanta eventually lost 3-2.
Lefty Montgomery (4-4, 3.62) is coming off the DL (sore shoulder) to make his first appearance in three weeks. On the season we’ve got him down for 6/13 on quality starts, to go along with 19 shots in relief. Most recently he threw a scoreless inning against Washington back on Aug. 11, and over his last three appearances he allowed just one run and 12 hits through 12 1/3 innings. On the season Chicago is 6-7 in Montgomery’s starts, with unders going 8-5.
Over two starts last year and two relief appearances this year against Atlanta Montgomery allowed four runs and nine hits through 14 innings. The Cubs split those two starts.
We’ll give Foltynewicz our handicapping check-mark in this pitching match-up, but not by as much as first glance might indicate.
Chicago owns a .263/.340/.424 batting average/OBP/slugging percentage split against right-handed pitching this season.
The Braves own a .270/.336/.451 split against left-handed pitching.
We’ll give Atlanta a short edge here in the the splits with the sticks.
The Cubs bullpen owns a 3.26 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP.
The Braves pen owns a 4.03 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP.
We’ll give Chicago the edge in the comparison of the bullpens.
Unders are 32-28 in games played at SunTrust Park this season, which are averaging 9.1 total runs per.
Unders are 9-2 in Atlanta’s last 11 games, mainly thanks to some very good Braves pitching.
Unders are 3-2 in Cubs-Braves games this season.
Atlanta gets two of our three main baseball handicapping check-marks. However, the Braves are three games under .500, 18-21, against left-handed starters this season, while Chicago is 15 games above .500, 59-44, against right-handed starters this season. Plus, the Cubs are the hotter team at the moment, and getting the underdog price. We’re betting Chicago Thursday.