The Chicago Cubs deserve everything earned to this point of the season. It’s hard to believe they’ve actually cashed in five times at online sportsbooks as terrible the offense has been thus far! As a diehard fan of the franchise, I have zero sympathy for the running joke that is the everyday roster taking the field every passing day. They’ve got a billionaire owner crying poor. No moves were made in the offseason to shore up the prior team’s deficiencies because of it. There’s still no lead-off hitter on the roster. There’s no bonafide staff ace. There is no stability within the everyday lineup as Ross tinkers with it every passing game. The only good thus far has been the reemergence of Craig Kimbrel. If he keeps it up, maybe he brings back some solid prospects in return once Jed Hoyer unloads him to a playoff bound team down the road. Until then, Cubs fans will be forced to watch the decline of what should’ve been a dynasty for 150 more games. That includes this Sunday night when they close out a three-game set against an Atlanta Braves team much better than its 4-8 record and last place standing in the NL East suggests.
First pitch for this primetime showdown between the Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs is scheduled for Sunday, April 18, 2021, at 7:08 p.m. ET from Wrigley Field. This week’s Sunday Night Baseball telecast will air live on ESPN. Bet on MLB odds at BookMaker.eu every day of the season.
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This series pits two of the biggest money burners of the young season against one another. Sitting four games under .500 through their first 12 games, the Braves have cost MLB bettors upwards of $470 overall; only the Colorado Rockies have burned more money. That’s what happens when you fail to come through 67 percent of the time when linemakers have you favored in 10 of 12 games. Atlanta’s been equally bad at home -$245 as on the road -$227. It hasn’t been much better for the North Siders whose 5-7 overall record has amounted to a near -$300 return on investment. If not for a lucky win in Game 2 at Milwaukee to avoid having the brooms busted out on them, they would’ve entered this series losers of five straight after dropping two of three on the road to the dreadful Pittsburgh Pirates the series prior. Chicago has split its six played games at the “Friendly Confines” with 20 percent fan capacity.
Bryse Wilson: This was supposed to be Max Fried’s turn in the rotation. Unfortunately, the left-hander tweaked his hamstring while running the bases in his last outing against Miami. The mild injury could end up being a blessing in disguise with Fried getting off to a wretched start for his fantasy and player prop supporters. While it hasn’t been announced, Wilson figures to get the call from the alternate site to make his 2021 debut in front of a nationally televised audience. He was initially expected to man the Braves No. 5 slot, but Atlanta hasn’t needed to go to its fifth starter because of the schedule and postponements. Wilson made six appearances and a pair of starts last season throwing to a 4.02 ERA and 15:9 K/BB ratio through 15.2 total innings. The Cubs lit him up for 6 hits 1 HR and 4 ER through 4.1 innings in his lone run-in with them back in 2019.
Alec Mills: Due to Kyle Hendricks coming down with a bout of the flu earlier in the week, it looks like the soft-tossing Mills will make another spot start in his stead. Hendricks hasn’t been ruled out by management as of yet, but they’re continuing to run COVID tests on him just to make sure the bug isn’t just hiding before showing its hand. In Hendricks’ stead Tuesday night, Mills stepped in and threw four innings of 2 ER ball while striking out and walking none. He would’ve taken the loss if not for Wilson Contreras’s 8th inning heroics that allowed for Chicago to log the 3-2 comeback win. It’s all about control and minimizing the damage for the right-hander evidenced by his career 4.04 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and .172 BAA. Historically however, he’s been at his worst within Wrigley Field where he’s conceded seven long balls and 32 ER through 65 IP. He does however own the advantage of this being the first time ever he will have thrown at the Braves.
Braves vs. Cubs Prediction
Each of ESPN’s first two Sunday night telecasts have been of the high scoring variety. Will tonight make it three in a row? It’s tough to say considering the Braves have cashed over tickets in at a 7-4-1 clip while the Cubs have played to low scorers in 67 percent of their 12 played games. Even so, I’m not one to play against a trend. If the roulette wheel has come up black 10 times in a row, I’m hitting black expecting 11. As bad the Cubs offense has been against the Pirates and Brewers, the Braves’ pitching staff could prove to be the elixir that gets it back in a groove. Though Atlanta was just swept at home by the Miami Marlins, it wasn’t because of the offense after averaging 5.3 runs per game. Ronald Acuna Jr. is smoking hot right now! If Chicago is to hold serve, Anthony Rizzo and company must get going at the plate. He and his mates roughed Wilson up before, so they “should” be able to do it again. I’m expecting runs to hit the board in the series finale.
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