Atlanta Braves' Mike Foltynewicz pitches against the Colorado Rockies during the first inning of a baseball game Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)

John Amis/Associated Press

The two best teams in the National League will square off in SunTrust Park on Thursday, when the Chicago Cubs (78-54) visit the Atlanta Braves (74-58) as small road underdogs at sportsbooks.

Both teams are coming off losses Wednesday, but Chicago is still leading the NL Central by 4.5 games, while Atlanta is up 3.5 in the East.

            

MLB betting line: The Braves opened as -136 favorites (wager $136 to win $100); the total is at eight runs, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. Line updates and matchup report.

MLB betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 5.7-3.0, Braves. MLB picks on every game.

Check out the OddsShark podcast on iTunes or at OddsShark.libsyn.com for more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news.

                      

Why the Cubs Can Pay on the MLB Lines

The Cubs have won eight of their past 12 meetings with the Braves, dating back to last season, according to the OddsShark MLB Database. That includes four of the past five played at Atlanta, with the teams splitting a pair there in May.

Chicago is going with a six-man starting rotation, and that means Mike Montgomery (4-4, 3.62 ERA) will get the call in this make-up game before the team heads to Philadelphia for a three-game series against the Phillies. Montgomery was dealing with shoulder soreness but should be well-rested, with his most recent appearance coming August 11.

             

Why the Braves Can Pay on the MLB Lines

This could be a big game in terms of helping to determine which team has home-field advantage in the playoffs, and the Braves will have one of their better pitchers on the mound here in Mike Foltynewicz (10-8, 2.67 ERA).

Foltynewicz has allowed one earned run or less in each of his previous four outings for Atlanta, going 2-1 during that stretch with one no-decision and seeing his ERA drop from 3.04. He is also 4-2 with a 2.63 ERA in 12 home starts this season and walked away with a no-decision versus the Cubs on May 15 despite striking out 10 and giving up one earned run in five innings.

               

Smart Betting Pick

The Braves are rightfully favored in this spot with an advantage in the pitching matchup, and they have earned their four recent wins in this series over the past six meetings. Two of them took place at Wrigley Field earlier this season, and the other was a 4-1 victory at SunTrust Park on May 16. Look for Atlanta to come through as a home favorite.

               

MLB Betting Trends

The total has gone under in 15 of Chicago’s past 21 games.

Chicago is 2-4 in its past six games when playing Atlanta.

Atlanta is 6-3 in its past nine games.

                  

All MLB odds and betting trends according to Bleacher Report’s official odds partner, OddsShark. Check out OddsShark on Twitter and Instagram or head to YouTube for more betting picks and analysis on this week’s top games. You can also download the free odds tracker app.

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