Brewers vs. Cubs MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Play the Over/Under in Matinee Matchup (Friday, August 19)

Brewers vs. Cubs MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Play the Over/Under in Matinee Matchup (Friday, August 19) article feature image

Matt Dirksen/Getty Images. Pictured: Keegan Thompson of the Chicago Cubs.

  • Two young hurlers will take the mound Friday afternoon in a matinee matchup between the Brewers and Cubs.
  • Aaron Ashby and Keegan Thompson have had their bright spots, but can they limit scoring in this division battle?
  • DJ James breaks down the matchup, including how he's betting the over/under.

Brewers vs. Cubs Odds

Brewers Odds-135
Cubs Odds+115
Over/Under9.5 (-115/-105)
Time2:20 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Keegan Thompson was one of the few bright spots for the rebuilding Chicago Cubs going into the All-Star Break. He has since owned a 4.66 ERA, and his peripherals are not nearly as encouraging as they once were.

However, on Friday afternoon, the Cubs will host the Milwaukee Brewers in a division rivalry game in a classic Wrigley Field matinee. The Brewers have not hit right-handers well, which should play into the hands of Cubs pitching and Thompson.

Meanwhile, Aaron Ashby will start for the Brewers. He owns a 3.22 ERA in the second half, after displaying some early-season issues. His Average Exit Velocity and Hard Hit Percentage both rank in the top-32% of the MLB, and the Cubs have had issues with southpaws this month. Expect him to limit Chicago early on and hand it to the Milwaukee bullpen after a quality start.

Let's take a look at how that could impact the over/under and which side has value in the matchup.

Has Ashby Turned a Corner for the Brewers?

Ashby’s main problem has been allowing walks to his opponent. His walk rate is 10.6%, so this is something he needs to deal with in his development over the next season. He gave up six hits total in his past two starts, but also issued seven walks. Fortunately for him, the Cubs rank in the middle of the pack with an 8% walk rate off of lefties in August.

Jason Heyward is on the Injured List, but the rest of the Cubs’ hitters are healthy. They own the 25th-ranked wRC+ off of lefties in August at 70. They also have a 23.5% strikeout rate with a .270 OBP. Franmil Reyes and P.J. Higgins are the only Cubs with a .330+ xwOBA, so Ashby is a brutal matchup for this cohort of hitters. He will embarrass the bottom of this lineup.

The Brewers also have a 3.38 xFIP out of the bullpen in August. They have their fair share of injuries. Five of their relievers own a sub-3.00 xFIP. This means they will hold the Cubs in check late in the game. Chicago has hit right-handers better than lefties lately, but Taylor Rogers and Hoby Milner are left-handers, who can handle this Cubs lineup.

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Chicago Needs to Lean on Bullpen 

Thompson may be having some struggles, but he has a 3.67 ERA. He is getting lucky against a 4.60 xERA, and a below average walk and strikeout rate. Still, this Milwaukee team has an 84 wRC+ off of righties this month along with a .286 OBP. Pitting an average, serviceable starter against a poor lineup should at least lead to a strong start from Thompson.

Omar Narváez and Jace Pederson are on the IL for the Brew Crew. They do have six hitters above a .350 xwOBA off of right-handers in August, but the bottom three take a nosedive after the top of the order. Thompson will have to battle with the top but should manage five innings of work.

Upon trading a few key pieces, the Cubs rank 20th in xFIP. This is one of the main concerns for the total in this game. They at least have four pitchers below a 4.00 xFIP, but this is by no means a lockdown ‘pen. Be hopeful the better half of the bullpen can throw in this game after Thompson exits.

Brewers-Cubs Pick

The Brewers should win this game, so a play on their moneyline would be a fine bet. However, neither team dominates the respective handedness they will face from the starters in this game. Thompson is solid for the Cubs and Ashby is an up-and-coming mainstay of the Brewers rotation. Take the under from 9 (-105), and play to 8.5 (-125).

Pick: Under 9 (-105) | play to 8.5 (-125)

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