Braves vs Cubs Prediction, Picks, and Odds for Tonight’s MLB Game

The pitching matchup on names alone may have people thinking Under is the play tonight, but our MLB picks explain why this one is going Over.

Kenny Ducey - Betting Analyst at Covers
Kenny Ducey • Betting Analyst
May 22, 2024 • 13:14 ET • 4 min read
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This article contains predictions for an old game!

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Marcell Ozuna Atlanta Braves MLB
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The Atlanta Braves find themselves in a rare hole, with Tuesday’s loss to the Chicago Cubs marking their fifth defeat in six contests. 

Given the season Justin Steele’s had to this point and the profile of lefty Max Fried, my Braves vs Cubs prediction sees the opposite of a pitcher's duel taking place on May 22. The Over is the play, and you can find out all my thoughts in the MLB picks below.

Braves vs Cubs prediction

My best bet
Over 8.5 (-115 at DraftKings)

My analysis

You might look at both of these pitchers on the surface and think nothing is truly afoot. Max Fried has been effective with a 3.81 ERA, and while Justin Steele has had a rough go of it, he’s pitched just 19 innings this season due to injury. His expected ERA — like Fried’s — is well below four runs.

This has all the makings of a troublesome spot for both.

Fried’s done an excellent job of keeping the ball on the ground this year, doing so at a higher rate than any qualified pitcher. The issue is this plays right into the Chicago Cubs’ hands, considering they’re hitting .253 off ground ballers this season, and while you might assume that means they like to put the ball on the ground, they’re actually one of the leaders in fly ball rate.

The thing is, Fried’s strikeout rate this season has dropped nearly seven points, and the splits there tell you more about the fact Chicago likes to face guys who allow a high number of balls in play. 

The wind should be blowing out to the left, and with Fried’s very low BABIP and the high delta between his batting average allowed and xBA allowed, there should be room here for the Cubs to get traffic on the bases and land a big blow or two.

On the flip side, while Steele’s xERA doesn’t look all that bad on the surface, it’s due to grow a bit. He’s allowed fly balls at a shocking 29.3% rate this year after being a firm ground baller for years, and that’s come along with a hard-hit rate at nearly 50%.

In a hitter’s park, against a team that possesses power, that's a recipe for disaster. Mix in the fact the Cubs rank 28th in Outs Above Average defensively and I think the conditions here for offense here are strong despite the name value that this pitching matchup possesses.

Braves vs Cubs same-game parlay (SGP)

Over 8.5

Marcell Ozuna 2+ total bases

Dansby Swanson 2+ total bases

Sometimes, we like to look at batter-versus-pitcher stats to solidify the decisions we make in the hitter prop markets, and sometimes they don’t tell the whole story.

Yes, neither Marcell Ozuna nor Dansby Swanson have hits in a total of 10 at bats versus both pitchers, respectively, but it’s more of a testament to how good both of these lefties have been through the years.

The fact is that neither man has pitched to their skill levels here in 2024, while both these hitters are very lively at the moment. On top of that, over half of these at bats have ended in strikeouts, which shouldn’t happen given the low punchout totals for both pitchers.

Ozuna is a guy who is going to punish fly-ball pitchers, and he’s also working on a 14-game hitting streak at the moment. Over that span, he’s hit .388 with eight extra-base hits, and he’s gone for two or more total bases in three of his last four games.

Swanson, meanwhile, looked fantastic in his return from injury on Tuesday with two hits and is always a threat to find the gap.

Learn how to bet a same-game parlay with these helpful tips and strategies.

Braves vs Cubs odds

Braves vs Cubs live odds

Braves vs Cubs opening odds

  • Run line: Atlanta -1.5 (+127) | Chicago +1.5 (-141)
  • Moneyline: Atlanta -135 | Chicago +124
  • Over/Under: Over 9.0 (+101) | Under (-113)

Braves vs Cubs spread and Over/Under analysis

  • The Cubs opened up around +125 on the moneyline and have flown down roughly 10 cents as we sit here early on Wednesday afternoon.
  • The total opened up at 8.5 runs, and after moving up to nine runs early on Wednesday, there’s been a recent move back down to 8.5.
  • DraftKings is reporting that 80% of the bets and 70% of the cash is on the Braves to win this game.
  • While just 37% of the tickets wagered on the total have come in on the Over, it’s accounted for 45% of the handle.

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Braves vs Cubs trend

The Cubs have hit the moneyline in 27 of their last 47 games (+8.20 Units / 14% ROI). Find more MLB betting trends for Braves vs. Cubs

Braves vs Cubs game info

Location: Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL
Date: Wednesday, 5-22-2024
First pitch: 7:40 p.m. ET
TV: Bally Sports South, Marquee
Seattle starting pitcher: Max Fried
(3-2 3.81 ERA)
New York starting pitcher: Justin Steele
(0-1, 5.21 ERA)

Braves vs Cubs latest injuries

Braves vs Cubs weather

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