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Sunday Night Baseball Betting Notes: Brewers-Cubs Rubber Match at Wrigley Field

May 12, 2019 6:20 PM EDT
Credit:

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Brewers shortstop Orlando Arcia and Cubs third baseman David Bote

  • The Chicago Cubs are -135 favorites over the Milwaukee Brewers with an Over/Under of 7.5 on Sunday Night Baseball.
  • Will the Cubs continue their terrific play at Wrigley Field? Our baseball analysts break it down:

The Cubs and Brewers will meet in Chicago on Sunday night in the rubber match of their three-game series. Only one game separates Chicago and Milwaukee in what should be a hotly-contested NL Central race all season.

Each team has been very good at home to start the year, but are just a combined 17-17 on the road. Can the Brewers buck that trend and leave the north side tied for first in the division?

Let’s take a closer look at tonight’s matchup, starting with a glance at both starters. We will then peek at each respective bullpen in addition to the umpire behind the plate and some noteworthy trends. We will then finish up with a few bets to watch. Let’s get to it.

Betting odds: Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago Cubs

  • Brewers Moneyline: +125
  • Cubs Moneyline: -135
  • Over/Under: 7.5
  • Probable starters: Jhoulys Chacin (3-3, 5.03 ERA) vs. Jon Lester (2-0, 1.41 ERA)
  • First pitch: 7:08 p.m. ET on ESPN

>> All odds as of 1:30 p.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time MLB odds and track your bets


Scrutinizing the Starters

In a vacuum, with a neutral umpire and neutral weather on a clear day at Wrigley field, I would have this game projected for 9 runs — with 5.3 runs in the first five innings.

The actual totals — 7.5 (full game) and 4 (First 5) — are much lower due to the forecast and the ump behind the dish.

But let’s not forget: both of these pitchers have been below major league average by most metrics. League average xwOBA (a catch-all batting statistic) is .318; Jhoulys Chacin is at .326, Jon Lester is at .337. Jon Lester has a 1.49 ERA but an xFIP (a regressed version of Fielding Independent Pitching) two full runs higher, Meanwhile, Chacin’s ugly 5.03 ERA is an improvement over his 5.95 FIP and 5.66 xFIP.

Chacin’s low strikeout rate (6.64 K/9) and 1.45 strikeout-to-walk ratio are extremely concerning performance metrics. However, that regression is perhaps unsurprising considering he outpitched his 4.03 FIP in 2018 while his whiff rate never surpassed 8%.

Lester’s strikeout rate and walk rates are currently at their best levels since 2004, but an 8.6% whiff rate suggests an unsustainable strikeout rate. He’s getting more called strikes by hitting the zone 51% of time (46% career) but better offensive team’s will feast on his aggressiveness.

Lester’s strand rate (90.3%) is about 20% above league average and due to regress along with his .267 BABIP (.297 career). — Sean Zerillo

Bullpen Barometer

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