The Atlanta Braves (69-37) and the Chicago Cubs (56-53) begin a three-game weekend series on Friday, August 4. First pitch from Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois is set for 2:20 p.m. ET. Atlanta will start Max Fried (2-1, 2.08 ERA) in his long-awaited return from the IL, while Chicago counters with veteran Kyle Hendricks (4-5, 3.49).
The Braves are the -166 moneyline favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook. The Cubs are the +140 underdogs, and the run total is set at 8.5.
Braves-Cubs picks: Friday, August 4
Out: OF Sam Hilliard (heel)
Out: SP Marcus Stroman (hip)
Max Fried vs. Kyle Hendricks
Fried will start just his sixth game of the season on Friday after multiple stints on the injured list this season. The most recent was from a forearm injury suffered on May 5. He threw six innings against the Baltimore Orioles and allowed seven runs (five earned) on eight hits. Fried struck out seven and walked two to earn his first loss of the year.
Hendricks will take the mound for the 14th time this year. The 33-year-old has been inconsistent this season and at the mercy of the Cubs’ lineup for success. He last pitched against the St. Louis Cardinals. Hendricks threw seven innings and allowed three earned runs on eight hits. He struck out two and walked one, but the Cubs got shutout, and he took his fifth loss of the season.
Chicago is riding a hot streak and scored a whopping 41 runs over the last three games of their series against the Cincinnati Reds. They picked up wins in each but also allowed 18 runs of their own. Atlanta took two of three against the Los Angeles Angels and has scored at least five runs in four of its last five games.
Pick: Over 8.5
This series should be electric, with each team playing well over the last two weeks. Chicago is 11-2 over its last 13 games, while Atlanta is 9-4 over that same span. If Fried isn’t rusty and has returned to form, he should give the Braves the edge on Friday in the series opener.