Lester & Cubs Will Get Job Done in Atlanta

Thursday, May 17, 2018 11:43 AM UTC

Thursday, May. 17, 2018 11:43 AM UTC

In a bit of a funk with three losses in four games, the Cubs turn to Jon Lester as very slight road chalk on the MLB odds in Thursday’s series finale against the Braves in Atlanta.

Chicago Cubs (22-18 SU, 17-22 O/U) at Atlanta Braves (26-16 SU, 20-19 O/U)Free MLB Pick: Cubs MLBest Line Offered: 5Dimes

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They might be kids, but that doesn’t mean they’re pushovers. Atlanta’s youngsters proved that Wednesday night by beating the Chicago Cubs for a third time in five tries this year, and the Braves go for a second series win this year over the North Side 9 tonight (7:35 ET). Old guy vs. young kid is the mound duel with Jon Lester (3-1, 2.66) on tap for Chicago opposite Michael Soroka (1-1, 3.68) for the Braves. 5Dimes has the Cubs -105 on the morning nickel line with 9 for the total.

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Add it to @albertalmora's reel. pic.twitter.com/SDTOOsfx2i

— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) May 17, 2018

Umpires At Center Of Controversy Beginning Monday In Chicago

These teams faced each other Monday in Chicago to make up an earlier contest postponed by weather, the Braves on the good end of a 6-5 final in a back-&-forth contest that featured plate umpire Shane Livensparger’s often questionable strike zone. They then moved to Atlanta on Tuesday when the Cubs scored two in the ninth in a 3-2 victory, and a different umpiring crew failed to make any friends with Braves fans, players and coaches due to controversial calls at the plate and third base. A 3-run eighth helped the Braves into the winner’s circle last night, the 4-1 final coming as small favorites on the MLB odds and halting what was a 6-game win streak in Atlanta for the Cubs, that stretch spanning two stadiums. ‘Under’ bettors are 4-1 when these two sides play at SunTrust Park.

Taking center stage for the umps Thursday is Alfonso Marquez who works the plate in the series and season finale between the clubs. It’s his 10th game of 2018 behind the mask, six of the previous nine cashing for ‘over’ bettors to follow his lean that direction the last three seasons (48-38-4 O/U/P).

Chicago 5-0 When Lester Faces Braves

The Cubs have dropped Lester’s last two road starts, though he didn’t pitch poorly totaling 12.1 innings with five runs scoring. The long ball hurt him in the defeat at Cleveland, and walks were a problem 11 days later in St. Louis. Chicago has won all five of the 34-year-old southpaw’s starts against the Braves, Lester pitching to a 1.69 ERA (33.1 IP). Defense let Soroka down in his last effort, four of the five runs he allowed in Miami of the unearned variety. This will be the fourth career start for the 20-year-old Canadian, his lone home start ending in the loss column (4 IP, 4 ER).

They might have to play this one between raindrops as the forecast calls for a 70% chance of a passing storm just before game time and only diminishing slightly after that. Lester’s control will be the key, and I believe it will be good enough to take the Cubbies with my free baseball pick.

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