Braves vs. Cubs MLB Best Bet: Steele To Stay Strong Against Fried

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All 30 MLB teams are in action Wednesday across the 15-game slate of Major League Baseball betting matchups, including five afternoon games.

As usual, we have three best bets for today’s slate with the highest betting value according to the current MLB odds provided by the top-rated sportsbooks.

These best bets are based mostly on our proprietary model. Our model points to a side in the Windy City Wednesday with the Braves visiting the Cubs.

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And if you’re looking for even more value picks, make sure to visit our YouTube channel.

MLB Pick: Cubs ML (+122) at Bookmaker (visit our Bookmaker Review)

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Cubs ML (+122)
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Atlanta Braves vs. Chicago Cubs

Wednesday, May 22, 2024 – 07:40 PM ET at Wrigley Field

In what looks like a deceptively good pitching matchup, we think the undervalued Justin Steele is the bet as an underdog at home facing Max Fried and the Braves.

Much Better Than ERA

Steele is coming off a breakout season last year where he went 16-5 with a 3.06 ERA and 3.32 xFIP, leading to a third-place finish in the Cy Young Award voting.

Now, some would say he is “bouncing” this season given his 5.21 ERA through four starts, but his xFIP is better at 3.97 and he had a season-high seven strikeouts despite allowing four earned runs in 5.2 innings last time out.

More importantly, his fastball velocity was at a season-high 93.1 MPH, so he appears to be approaching full strength after spending about five weeks on the injured list after his season debut.

His early strikeout rate of 8.53/9 is a bit down from 9.14/9 last year, but as mentioned it is improving with every start. Another promising sign is his swinging strike rate last time out was the highest it has been since his season debut before getting shelved.              

Good But Overvalued

Now, we do like Fried quite a bit as he has a 3.81 ERA and 3.64 xFIP while leading the majors in groundball rate at 64.3%. Our issue here is the price, because if we are correct about Steele being ready to regain his 2023 form, then we would not think that Fried should be favored by this much on the road.

And putting the groundball rate aside, Max does not blow anyone away with a moderate strikeout rate of 7.07/9. Also, his walk rate is way up this season to 3.62/9, compared to 2.09 last year and 2.48 for his career.

Furthermore, the Southpaw is facing a Cubs lineup that has been much better against left-handers with a wRC+ of 109 compared to a slightly below-average 97 against righties.

The Pick

So in the end, we see this pitching matchup as too close for the Braves to be decided favorites on the road, making the Cubs a good value bet as home underdogs.

Predicted Score: Cubs 4 – Braves 3

MLB Pick: Cubs ML (+122) at Bookmaker

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Cubs ML (+122)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.