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Cubs-Tigers Betting Preview: Take Advantage of Recent Pitching Form

Aug 22, 2018 10:39 AM EDT

Betting odds: Chicago Cubs at Detroit Tigers

  • Cubs Moneyline: -185 (Jon Lester)
  • Tigers Moneyline: +166 (Francisco Liriano)
  • Over/Under: 9.5 (o-115/u-105)
  • First pitch: 7:10 p.m. ET

>> All odds as of 11:30 a.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time MLB odds and track your bets


Tuesday night I focused on two pitchers who are really struggling during the second half of the MLB season. Combined, they gave up a million runs. It was great.

Anytime I get a projection that’s so far off from the total for the first five innings, I tend to question my model before I question the market. And I still question it, but at least there were a million runs.

The Tigers play the Cubs Wednesday night, and I’ll give you one guess who everyone is betting right now. Eighty-six percent of the tickets are taking the Cubs moneyline, according to The Action Network’s public betting data.

Fortunately for you, despite that lopsided action, I didn’t find much value on Detroit. However, I did pinpoint another glaring total discrepancy, and here is my attempt to explain it.

Let’s take a closer look at Lester, the Cubs’ starter tonight. He carries with him a reputation of being both a dominant pitcher and someone who can’t throw the ball to first base.

But in the second half of this season, he has struggled mightily. His splits are … well here they are:

  • Before All-Star break: 19 starts, 12-2 record, 111.2 IP, 92 hits, 32 ER, .224 BAA
  • After All-Star break: 6 starts, 1-3 record, 28.2 IP, 41 hits, 26 ER, .357 BAA

Bear in mind that Lester’s second-half struggles have occurred against teams that include the Padres and Pirates. It wasn’t some Interleague blip where Boston and Houston came in and got hot for a couple weekends.

Lester’s been awful. No other way around it. Call him by another name if it makes it easier for you to bet against him. Call him Jimmy Lister.

Jimmy has an 8.16 ERA in the second half of the season and is starting on the road, facing a team that hits lefties MUCH better. We probably want the over when Jimmy’s pitching.

The Tigers starter is no picnic either, and I know this because I bet on him last time out and he got wrecked. It was really fun.

Francisco Liriano faced 13 Twins in his last start, and I’m not sure there’s a single positive takeaway from any of those at-bats. When you begin the game allowing a double, a single and a home run before recording an out, it’s probably not going to be your night.

His splits have gotten progressively worse throughout the season, and his metrics do not point to some type of regression back to better form. He very much is what he is right now: below average.

You’re getting a better price but a higher total than you were getting with my Tuesday bet. Considering all the factors involved, I consider it unlikely that one, or both, of these starters can put together a consistently effective performance.

The Bet: Cubs-Tigers First 5 Innings (Over 5.5)

Credit:

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports Pictured: Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jon Lester

Follow Ken Barkley on Twitter
@LockyLockerson

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