Cubs vs. Cardinals Odds, Pick & Preview: The Smart Way to Bet Chicago (Monday, July 19)

Cubs vs. Cardinals Odds, Pick & Preview: The Smart Way to Bet Chicago (Monday, July 19) article feature image
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Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Jake Woodford

  • Alec Mills takes on Jake Woodford in the first of a series between the Cubs and Cardinals on Monday.
  • For Woodford, it will be the first start of the season for the former top St. Louis prospect.
  • Who has the edge in this one? Michael Arinze breaks down his Cubs at Cardinals pick below.

Cubs vs. Cardinals Odds

Cubs Odds -115
Cardinals Odds -105
Over/Under 9 (+100 / -120)
Time 8:10 p.m. ET
TV ESPN
Odds as of Monday morning and via DraftKings.

The Cubs will look to maintain their dominance over the Cardinals when they head to St. Louis for a four-game series. Chicago is currently 6-2 in the season series, and it’s won five of the last six meetings.

The Cubs will send Alec Mills to the mound on Monday night for his 19th appearance and the seventh start of the season. Mills will be opposed by Jake Woodford, who will be making his 18th appearance and first start of the season.

This is a game where both bullpens could be summoned pretty early, and that’s all the more reason why it would actually make sense to target one of the sides for a play in the first five innings.

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Mills Gives Cubs a Shot

With a 4.84 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP, Mills hasn’t exactly been Tom Seaver on the mound for Chicago. But he also hasn’t been as bad as you might think, given that his record stands at 4-2, and his 4.16 FIP does point to some positive regression.

Mills is coming off a decent outing by his standards when he pitched 5 2/3 innings and allowed three runs in an 8-3 win over the Phillies. In fact, in his last 20 1/3 innings, he’s limited the opposition to seven runs. The right-hander will be facing a Cardinals lineup that has a .282/.349/.513 line against him in 39 at-bats. This will actually be his first appearance against St. Louis this season, and that could offer an advantage heading into this game.

One thing we do know about the Cardinals is that they’ve struggled mightily to create runs. Per FanGraphs, St. Louis ranks 27th with a wRC+ of 87. In its most recent series against San Francisco, St. Louis averaged just 2.3 runs per game.

Both teams come in with identical records at 46-47, and that’s why even the slightest of edges could make all the difference in which team comes out on top.

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Starving For Pitching, Cardinals Turn to Woodford

The thought of Woodford even starting this game gives a clear indication of how starved the Cardinals are for pitching depth. This will be the second start of his career, and while he hasn’t pitched more than 2 1/3 innings this season, St. Louis recently sent him down to the minors to be stretched out. One interesting thing to note is how poor the Cardinals’ record is when he appears in a game as they’re just 1-17 in those outings.

Overall this season, Woodford is 1-1 with a 4.62 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP. However, his advanced numbers make him a candidate for regression, given his 5.43 xERA and 6.57 FIP. Perhaps what’s most unsettling about him is his 4.97 BB/9 ratio. He might have been one of the Cardinals’ top prospects following his 39th overall selection in the 2015 MLB Draft, but I’m not quite sure he’s ready for primetime at the moment.

One thing I am sure of is that the Cubs will certainly fancy their chances against the right-hander. After all, in 39 at-bats, they have a .527 wOBA against him with .643 ISO in 14 at-bats.

He’ll need to be especially wary of Wilson Contreras, who has already taken him deep on two occasions.

Cubs-Cardinals Pick

I’m not sure the Cardinals have been entirely pleased with Woodford’s progression since he was drafted. He didn’t make Double-A until his fourth season in the minors, and he went 3-8 with a 5.22 ERA and a 5.75 FIP. But my biggest concern is that wherever he’s gone, the walks have followed.

Woodford is now 24-years-old, and I’m sure the Cardinals don’t want to see their once highly touted prospect continue to toil around in the minors after drafting him six seasons ago.

By my account, I don’t think he’s ready for the big show or to at least be trusted as a starter at the moment.

I’d approach this game by looking to isolate Woodford in the early frames and back the Cubs on the first five moneyline. After shopping around, DraftKings has the best price on the board with Chicago at -110, so I’ll look to place my action there.

Pick: Cubs F5 ML (-110)

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