Ronald Acuna Jr. is enjoying a blazing start, hitting .447 with six homers through just 13 games. (Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire)
- The Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs begin a three-game set on Friday, April 16th, at Wrigley Field
- Atlanta sends Drew Smyly to the mound, while Zach Davies gets the start for Chicago
- Get the odds, preview, and best bet for the game, below
The Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs face off at Wrigley Field on Friday, April 16th (first pitch 2:20 pm ET). It’s been an underwhelming start for both clubs, each sitting below .500. But Atlanta will be looking to build off a 7-6 comeback win over the Marlins on Thursday.
Drew Smyly makes his third start of the season for the visitors, while the Cubbies counter with a struggling Zach Davies.
Braves vs Cubs Odds
|Team||Runline||Moneyline||Total at PointsBet|
Odds as of April 15th.
Smyly Hoping to Forget Last Start
Smyly hasn’t done great to start the year, compiling a 5.73 ERA in two appearances while tossing just 11 innings. He got hit around by the Phillies last Sunday, giving up five earned runs in only five innings of work, while also allowing two home runs. The long ball has been an issue for the lefty, already surrendering three of them.
Smyly has only faced the Cubs once in his career and was roughed up by their offense. But, their bats are struggling and his curveball could potentially five Chicago some real problems on Friday.
Cubs Stats vs Smyly
The Cubbies are currently hitting just a league-worst .163 as a team, while also sitting dead last in OBP and SLG. They’re scoring a dismal 2.7 runs per game, which is 30th in the bigs as well.
Final: Brewers 7, Cubs 0. pic.twitter.com/NKRVjoGb4R
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) April 14, 2021
The likes of Kris Bryant and Javier Baez have both clubbed three homers, but are batting well under .250. The production simply hasn’t been there from this offense, but it seems likely that things will turn around sooner rather than later because, on paper, there’s a lot of talent throughout the starting lineup.
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Davies Getting Lit up
After an outstanding 2020 season with the Padres where Davies had a 7-4 record and 2.73 ERA, it’s been a much different story for the right-hander in a Cubs uniform.
Davies has lasted only 7.1 innings throughout two starts, compiling an atrocious 11.05 ERA. Both of his appearances came against the Pirates as well, who are expected to be one of the worst teams in baseball. However, it was the second appearance that killed him, giving up seven runs in just 1.2 innings.
Things won’t get any easier for the 28-year-old against the Braves, who have enjoyed a respectable amount of success against him.
Atlanta also has no issues scoring runs, especially via the long ball. Therefore, it will be a goal for Davies to keep his pitches down in the zone and generate weak contact on the ground.
Braves Stats vs Davies
Just like the Cubs, Atlanta’s bats have also been pretty quiet throughout the first few weeks of the MLB season. They’re 25th in the majors in hits and AVG, while posting a dismal .290 OBP.
However, their power numbers have been a clear positive. The Braves have gone deep 18 times, which is top-five in the league. A huge part of that has been superstar Ronald Acuna Jr, who is on an absolute tear currently.
The youngster is slashing a ridiculous .447 with six bombs and six doubles. He’s also drove in 12 RBI’s and came across the plate 15 times. Acuna has also hit three home runs in his last two games and comes into this Cubs series red-hot. This will be the guy that Davies will need to watch out for because if he makes a mistake, Acuna will punish him badly.
Atlanta scored 20 runs in three games vs. Miami and is starting to find their stroke at the dish. They’re facing a guy in Davies who looks lost right now, which is why I believe the Braves will take advantage.
Smyly will bounce back with a better start and keep the Cubs’ offense at bay. Chicago has their problems with off-speed stuff and the left-hander throws a lot of it, which is going to definitely be a recipe for success in the series opener at Wrigley.
Pick: Atlanta Braves (-142)
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Quinn Allen is a sports journalist, with a background and education in broadcast journalism (BCIT ’17). He writes about European Football, Basketball, and Baseball for numerous sites across the globe.