Brewers vs. Cubs Odds, Predictions, Preview: Monday’s Clear Pitching Edge

Brewers vs. Cubs Odds, Predictions, Preview: Monday’s Clear Pitching Edge article feature image
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Getty Images. Pictured: Kyle Hendricks, Freddy Peralta

  • Starting pitching? Check. Favorable situation? Check.
  • MLB betting analyst Michael Arinze sees a clear edge in Brewers-Cubs.
  • Find out which team he's backing on Monday night in Milwaukee.

Cubs vs. Brewers Odds

Cubs Odds +132
Brewers Odds -155
Over/Under 7
Time 8:10 p.m. ET
TV BSWI
Odds as of late Monday morning and via DraftKings

The highlight of Chicago’s West Coast trip was a combined no-hitter in the opening game of the Cubs’ series against the Dodgers. That setback seemed to awaken the Dodgers as they won the remaining three games of the series, outscoring the Cubs 16-5.

Now Chicago has to trek halfway across the country to Milwaukee after wrapping up that series on Sunday Night Baseball. Oftentimes, this isn’t a good spot for a team to find itself in, particularly when it’s on a three-game losing streak.

I’ll expound on that and much more to get you set for this series opener between the Cubs and the Brewers.

Chicago Cubs

Chicago will send Kyle Hendricks to the mound on Monday night. The California native has won his last eight starts to improve to 10-4 on the season with a 3.84 ERA and 1.26 WHIP.

Interestingly, Hendricks is six games above .500 despite being somewhat of a different pitcher this year than at any other point in his career. His 1.15 GB/FB ratio is a career-low, while his 19.6% HR/FB rate is a career-high.

I went back to see if there was any change in his velocity, but there’s nothing that really stands out. After all, he only tops out at about 87 mph.

Traditionally, Hendricks could count on his changeup and four-seamer as two of the better pitches in his arsenal. But this season, they’ve been responsible for 61% of his home runs allowed. In fact, he’s thrown the four-seamer 19.4% of the time, and batters have a .848 slugging percentage against the pitch with a .533 wOBA.

Overall, opposing hitters aren’t having much trouble making hard contact against him as his 10.8% barrel rate is more than double that of his 2020 rate of 4.5% and his career rate of 4.7%.

Another thing that stands out with Hendricks is that he’s stranded 83.1% of runners that reach base. That number is also a career-high for him, but I’m not sure that’s sustainable for a pitcher who only strikes out 7.27 batters per nine innings.

Thus, when you factor in the increase in home runs, barrel rate and lack of strikeouts, it becomes clearer why Hendricks has an xERA of 5.12 in addition to a 5.07 FIP.

To sum things up, these advanced numbers would certainly make him a candidate for regression despite his lofty win-loss record.

cubs-odds-picks-predictions-world-series-2021
Ron Schwane/Getty Images. Pictured: Kyle Hendricks

Milwaukee Brewers

The Milwaukee Brewers have quietly built one of the best rotations in baseball.

Monday’s starter, Freddy Peralta, hasn’t even been a mainstay in their rotation in the prior two seasons. Peralta started just 16.7% of the games he appeared in over that time, but he’s started 14 out of the 15 games he appeared in thus far this season. That seems like a pretty smart move considering that last season, while primarily being used as a reliever, he went 3-1 with a 3.99 ERA.

Perhaps the Brewers were enticed to use him as a starter after considering his 2.81 SIERA. Nonetheless, Peralta has rewarded their decision by going 7-2 with a 2.11 ERA this season. His advanced numbers are also within reach, given is 2.50 xERC and 2.79 FIP.

Note that this is quite a contrast to Hendricks’s numbers coming into Monday night.

Peralta should be full of confidence going into this matchup against the Cubs. The Brewers have already faced the Cubs nine times this season, and Peralta started three of those games. He’s 2-0 in those outings with a 1.80 ERA, and Milwaukee won all three contests.

A deeper dive into the numbers reveals that in 68 at-bats, Chicago’s lineup has a .191/.304/.294 line against him. He’s also been able to keep the ball inside the park, as evidenced by his .103 ISO. This is also on par with the 0.78 HR/9 ratio that he’s registered in all his outings this season.

Peralta is truly a quality thrower, with all four pitches in his arsenal receiving an above-average grade per FanGraphs Pitch Values data. This is another area in which Peralta has the edge over Hendricks, who rated below-average with each of his pitches using the same metric.


Cubs-Brewers Pick

While it’s clear that the Brewers have a clear advantage in the starting pitching, their edge for this game might be just as much situational as anything else.

You see, the Cubs’ previous game against the Dodgers was the last contest on the Sunday slate, which started at 7 p.m. ET (or 4 p.m. PT). The game took two hours and 42 minutes to finish, so the Cubs probably didn’t depart Los Angeles until after 9 p.m. local time. They would then lose an hour due to the time zone change and fly through the night to Milwaukee only to arrive at their hotel probably around 1 a.m. CT.

This is often as bad a spot that a team can be in, and there’s a decent enough sample size to support it. It also doesn’t help that the Cubs come into this series opener in a bit of a slump while the Brewers are riding high on a five-game win streak.

I ran some queries to see how teams like the Cubs have done in this spot, and the results were not in their favor:

  • Road teams on a minimum of a three-game losing streak facing an above .500 team on a five-game win streak after playing on Sunday night are 0-2 dating back to 2003.
  • Since last season, teams off a Sunday night road game who play their next game on the road against a team with an above .500 record are 1-7 (-6.5 units).

Lastly, Central Time zone teams that play the following Monday against a team with an above .500 record after a West Coast trip are just 34-50 (-12.17 units) in this spot.

All three trends are active for tonight’s game against the Brewers, and that’s why I think Milwaukee is the right side in this matchup. The best price on the board as of writing is -144, but be sure to use our MLB odds page to shop for the best line available. I like it down to -152.

Pick: Brewers ML (-144)

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