Cardinals vs. Cubs MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Target Total in Series Finale (Thursday, August 25)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images. Pictured: St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt
Cardinals vs. Cubs Odds
|Over/Under||9 (-120 / +100)|
|Time||2:20 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.|
On Thursday afternoon, the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs will finish off their five-game series at Wrigley Field. The arch-rivals have traded swings all week. The Cardinals took Game 1 of the series 1-0 on Monday night. The clubs split a doubleheader on Tuesday. Then the Cubs evened up the series by taking last night’s game, 7-1.
The Cardinals were shut down offensively on Wednesday, but Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado were out of the lineup most of the game. The weather forecast will call for favorable hitting conditions. Could that lead to a high-scoring game on another summer afternoon at Wrigley?
Bats Fueling First-place Cardinals
The month of August has been very kind to the Cardinals, who have gone 17-5 this month. The Redbirds have opened up a 5.5-game lead in the NL Central. Their hot play has been fueled by its two best players in first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and third baseman Nolan Arenado.
Goldschmidt is hitting .364 with seven home runs, 22 runs batted in, and a 1.166 OPS this month. He remains on track to win his first NL MVP award and is the betting favorite. Arenado is hitting .341 with seven home runs, 22 RBIs, and a 1.088 OPS.
Goldschmidt and Arenado both should be well-rested after Goldschmidt got last night off and Arenado was ejected for arguing balls and strikes. However, they are not alone in carrying the Cardinals offense of late. Albert Pujols is hitting .432 with seven home runs, 14 runs batted in, and a 1.467 OPS. If you did not know any better, you would think you are watching the 2006 version of the future Hall-of-Famer. Pujols has done most of his damage against lefties, but he has gotten more starts against RHP during his hot stretch.
The Cardinals are averaging 5.9 runs per game this month. The pitching has been solid too with 3.42 team ERA in August. However, Dakota Hudson has not been one of the contributors to that. Hudson is 6-6 with a 4.33 ERA. His ERA has jumped to 5.50 in his last seven starts and 6.08 in August. Hudson ranks in the 10th percentile or worse in Strikeout Percentage, Whiff Percentage, xBA, and Chase Rate. He also ranks in the 15th percentile in both Walk Percentage and Average Exit Velocity.
Can Offense Bail Out Cubs Starter?
Chicago is 13-7 over its past 20 games and will look for its six consecutive series win with a victory over the Cardinals. Pitching has led the way as the team has a 3.65 ERA in August and 3.19 ERA since the All-Star break.
Marcus Stroman will get the start on Thursday, and he has been strong with a 2.45 ERA over his last seven starts and 3.38 ERA in August. However, he could be in for a rough outing on Thursday.
In two starts against the Cardinals this season, Stroman has allowed 12 runs and five home runs in 10.2 innings of work. The Cardinals have had a ton of success against Stroman, as well. Goldschmidt is 6-for-13 with three home runs against Stroman. Pujols is 5-for-14 against Stroman while Tommy Edman is 3-for-9. Rookie Nolan Gorman is 2-for-6 with two home runs against Stroman while Corey Dickerson has owned Stroman dating back to their days in the AL East. He is 17-for-41 with three home runs against Stroman in his career.
The Cubs have a few hot hitters of their own led by designated hitter Franmil Reyes. He has hit safely in 13 of his last 15 games since joining the club and is hitting .308 with two home runs and eight runs batted in.
Outfielder Ian Happ has four home runs and 10 runs batted in his last 15 games while catcher Wilson Conteras has six home runs and 15 runs batted in over his last 15 games. Third baseman Christopher Morel is hitting .333 with a home run and two runs batted in over his last seven games.
The Cardinals’ bats were held down last night, but the team played the majority of the game without its two biggest bats. I expect the Cardinals to bounce back with a strong performance against Stroman, against whom they’ve already had a lot of success this season.
On the other side, Cardinals starter Hudson has struggled of late, and the Cubs will look to take advantage.
Additionally, the forecast calls for upper 70s, 81% humidity and the wind blowing out to left. The conditions were pretty similar to Stroman’s June start against the Cardinals. St. Louis hit three of its five home runs on the day against him while Patrick Wisdom added one for the Cubs. The wind blowing out to left will favor the right-handed power threats in the game like Goldschmidt, Arenado, Pujols, Conteras, Reyes, and Wisdom.
Do I expect six homers to be hit again? No, but I do expect 10 runs to be scored to cash the over 9.5 on the total.
Pick: Over 9.5 (-115)
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