MLB Betting Picks April 1 – Chicago Cubs at Atlanta Braves (Listen)

Written by:
Phil Simon
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That Atlanta Braves aren’t sneaking up on anyone this season. So they better be ready to get every team’s best shot.


The following article is courtesy of our friends at

The surprise winners of the NL East last year, the Braves figure to be in the thick of the race, but every other team in the division made major improvements to try and catch them.

The Braves play their home opener on Monday night against the Chicago Cubs, who play their first NL opponent of the year after dropping two of three in Texas, even though they scored 28 runs.

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Chicago Cubs at Atlanta Braves

Date and Time: Monday, April 1, 2019, 7 p.m. ET

Location: Sun Trust Park, Cumberland, GA

Opening MLB Odds: Cubs -109, Braves -101, O/U 8.5

Probable Pitchers: Kyle Hendricks vs. Sean Newcomb

Cubs at Braves TV Coverage: ESPN

Two playoff teams from a season ago have gotten off to slow starts this season. The Braves were swept in Philadelphia as their new-look division foe outscored them 23-11 in the three games. Atlanta concluded the first weekend of the season as the only winless team in MLB. The Cubs opened with a win over the Rangers then lost the next two, but offense wasn’t a problem. The Cubbies plated 28 runs in the three games. It’s evident what both sides need and it’s up to Kyle Hendricks and Sean Newcomb to try and supply it.


Probable Starting Pitchers

While the Cubs keep searching for an ace to anchor the rotation, Kyle Hendricks goes about his job as one of the most consistent pitchers on the team and in MLB. He had a solid season in 2018 with a 14-11 record and 3.44 ERA posting career-highs of 33 starts and 199 innings pitched. Management thinks so highly of the righthander they recently gave him a four-year extension.

Hendricks hasn’t enjoyed as much success as the 2016 season when he went 16-8 with a NL-best 2.13 ERA leading the Cubs to the World Series title. But he has been consistent. He’s not overpowering and pitches to contact. So it’s a good thing he has a strong defensive team behind him. The Cubs have yet to commit an error this season.

In three starts over four games in his career against the Braves, Hendricks is 1-0 with a 2.33 ERA and 1.14 WHIP over 19.1 innings. Not a big strikeout guy, Hendricks averages nearly 8.5 Ks per nine innings in his career against the Braves. He hasn’t faced Atlanta since 2017 and he’s never pitched in Sun Trust Park.

No Braves starter went longer than 5.0 innings in the opening series with Philly, so there is some pressure on Newcomb to not only pitch well but eat some innings. The lefty had a nice campaign in 2018 helping the Braves to the NL East title and the postseason. Newcomb was 12-9 with a 3.90 ERA and 1.33 WHIP across 164 innings. He fanned 160 batters but he also allowed 18 home runs.

We also saw Newcomb fade in the second half of the season after a marvelous pre All-Star break run. In 12 games and 59 innings after the break, he pitched to a 4.58 ERA with opponents hitting .242 against him. I’m not sure if the workload got to him or teams figured him out. I guess we’ll find out more on Monday. This is a pivotal game for Newcomb, who was on the verge of being sent down before injuries to Kevin Gausman and Mike Foltynewicz required his arm in the rotation.

Key Stats

The torrid start will cool at some point, but the Cubs have the potential to be one of the most destructive offensive teams in baseball. They showed that in Texas by scoring 28 runs and hitting .342 against the Rangers. The only problem is that the pitching faltered, especially the bullpen in the series loss. Chicago relievers allowed 13 earned runs in the series for an ERA of 10.03 with the Rangers hitting .333 against the group. That’s another area that will even out over time, but there are some issues right now and the Braves could take advantage.


Bet Cubs at Braves at

Hendricks is a baller no matter what team he faces and he seems to always give his team a chance at winning. And a solid outing is desperately needed to give a shaky bullpen more time to figure things out. The righty will probably have a longer leash because the offense will get him some runs. The Braves aren’t going to lose them all and they should be pumped for their home opener. But they set themselves up for failure after a sparkling 2018 and Newcomb is unreliable on the bump at this point. I’ve got to go with the Cubs in this one.

MLB Score Prediction: Chicago 7, Atlanta 4

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