Cardinals vs Cubs Odds, Picks, Predictions | MLB Betting Preview for July 20
Justin Setterfield/Getty Images. Pictured: Steven Matz #32 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches against the Chicago Cubs.
Cardinals vs. Cubs Odds
-115 / -105
-115 / -105
The St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs are both trending upward heading into the weekend, setting up a tantalizing National League Central matchup.
Will Cub starting pitcher Marcus Stroman be able to quiet a hot Cardinals offense, or will a slugfest break out at Wrigley Field?
Let's break down where to find a smart betting prediction in our Cardinals vs Cubs preview.
Dare I say Steven Matz has been … OK? The left-hander hasn't exactly had the prettiest last four years, but a move to the bullpen seemed to turn his career around. As a reliever this year, Matz worked 16 innings and posted a solid 2.81 ERA with 15 strikeouts and just five walks. This was good enough to reclaim a spot in the rotation, and while there have been some ups and downs through two starts there's been a lot to be proud of.
Matz's expected batting average in the month of July stands at .196. It's just the second time since 2016 that the former Mets farmhand has had a month with an xBA under .200, so while his ERA for the month may stand at 4.50 he's actually been pretty decent. His whiff rate is also up to a season-high 31.3% this month, which would mark the third-best of his career.
It's helped that Matz has faced the Marlins, White Sox and Nationals this month in 12 innings, but there's surely enough to build on for the southpaw.
I don't mean to underscore the month that Matz has had without talking about the offense, but there's not really too much to say here. St. Louis has the third-best wRC+ in baseball over the last two weeks and is hitting a whopping .285. The Cardinals have been excellent with runners in scoring position and haven't relied on the longball too much.
Speaking of former Mets, Marcus Stroman has been the total opposite of Matz. He's been one of the best pitchers in the National League all season, but in July simply hasn't had his best stuff. Stroman's gone 16 2/3 innings to this point, recording a 5.40 ERA. The positive news is that he's allowed 19 base runners and just one home run, striking out 16 in the process.
Another piece of positive information is that like Matz, Stroman's expected batting average this month has been elite. His .213 xBA represents his best mark of the season to this point, and when you factor in his relatively decent strikeout and walk numbers coupled with his singular home run allowed, it seems he's been the victim of some rotten luck this month.
There's nothing unlucky about this Cubs offense right now, though. Their BABIP over the last two weeks is an absurd .335, and while they've walked over 10% of the time, their poor strikeout and power numbers suggest some regression will eventually set in for one of the 10 best offenses in the game over that period in time.
Cardinals vs. Cubs Betting Pick
I think both of these pitchers have been much better in the month of July than we've seen to this point. Matz has clearly figured something out since being booted from the starting rotation, and while Stroman has taken a step back lately, he's not too far away from regaining his dominant form from earlier in the season.
With both offenses running unsustainably hot, I like the under in this game. St. Louis will eventually crater with runners in scoring position, considering that's a highly volatile stat, and the batted-ball luck is due to turn for both sides as well.
Play this one to eight runs.
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