Cubs vs Cardinals Pick Today | MLB Odds, Predictions for the London Series on Sunday, June 25
Pictured: Seiya Suzuki. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
Cubs vs. Cardinals Odds
The Chicago Cubs (37-38) and St. Louis Cardinals (31-45) will play the second and final game of the 2023 London Series on Sunday, with an atypical morning start time in the United States.
The Cubs scored a 9-1 victory on Saturday as -130 consensus favorites. Meanwhile, the total opened as high as 14.5 and went down to 13.5. The ballpark didn't seem to have the same offensive burst we saw in 2019, but the over was still just a couple of hits away from cashing.
Regardless, I lowered my park factor from Saturday to Sunday and the betting market did the same, pushing the total below the key number of 13.
Below, I’ll provide my projections and favorite betting angles for Sunday's Cubs vs. Cardinals matchup.
The Cubs have some advantages over the Cardinals that I mentioned before Saturday's contest — Chicago's position players are more athletic, which translates to value on defense and on the basepaths. That also helps close the offensive gap between these teams.
Chicago ranks 12th in Defensive Runs Saved, sixth in Outs Above Average and seventh in baserunning value. Conversely, St. Louis ranks 28th, 21st and 23rd in those categories.
The Cardinals offense had the projected splits edge Saturday, but with the handedness of both starters flipped, the Cubs should close that projection gap Sunday. The Cubs rank sixth against lefties this season (113 wRC+) compared to 17th against righties (95 wrC+), whereas the Cardinals are ninth against righties (108 wRC+).
I still project the Cardinals' offense about 8% better than I do the Cubs for Sunday — which essentially aligns with the difference in my projected wRC+ (117 for St. Louis against a righty, 110 for Chicago against a lefty).
Still, that's better than the expected offensive deficit they faced Saturday, and the Cubs should retain a similar starting pitching advantage with Marcus Stroman (3.66 xERA) facing Matthew Liberatore (7.61 xERA).
Stroman has been a bit lucky this season (2.28 ERA), thanks to a career-best .235 BABIP and a 80.2% strand rate — both of which should regress toward his career marks (.296 and 73%) and/or the major league averages (.295 and 71.8%). Otherwise, Stroman's underlying indicators align with the previous three seasons, when he carried an ERA between 3.02 and 3.50.
Stroman has an absurdly low barrel rate (3.7%) and relies on deceptiveness and subtle changes in movement to mess with the timing of opposing hitters.
The Cubs only saw Liberatore a couple of times last season and have just 15 combined plate appearances against him. From a splits perspective, Dansby Swanson (119 wRC+ vs. lefties since 2021) and Seiya Suzuki (139) seem like the Cubs' best plays against a left-handed starter. Additionally, both righties perform well against fastballs and curveballs — Liberatore's preferred pitch mix.
I'll take a shot on Suzuki Over 1.5 bases (-105).
Current Cardinals hitters have seemingly had reasonable success against Stroman (a combined .734 OPS across 145 plate appearances). Paul Goldschmidt (8-for-21, 5 xBH, 3 BB, 5 K) and Nolan Gorman (4-for-15, 2 HR) are responsible for the majority of the damage, however. Aside from those two hitters, Stroman has posted a 26:2 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 105 plate appearances against the other Cardinals bats.
Considering Chicago only has one left-hander in its bullpen — and Anthony Kay already pitched Saturday — I'll take a shot on Gorman Over 1.5 bases (+125).
The Cubs are better positioned in terms of offensive splits than they were Saturday and also retain a starting pitching advantage.
Liberatore has pitched to a 6.03 ERA in 15 career appearances (59 2/3 innings). Across those outings, the southpaw has a 6.37 xERA and a 5.21 xFIP. He's been functional against lefties (.294 wOBA, 4.81 xFIP), but awful against righties (.404 wOBA, 5.35 xFIP). Well, Chicago can throw out nine right-handed bats against him.
Pitching models view Liberatore as a significantly below-average arm (high 80s Stuff+ and Location+) and would project his ERA somewhere around 5.9, in line with his 5.59 xFIP this season.
The two bullpens compare favorably on paper and in my model. The Cardinals rank ninth in xFIP (3.97) and eighth in K-BB% (15.7%), while Chicago ranks 11th in both categories (4.04 and 15.3%). Pitching models think the Cardinals have the livelier arms (108 vs. 104 Stuff+). I don’t see a significant difference between the teams and would rate both bullpens closer to league average than top-10 units.
Still, if the Cardinals can keep this game competitive until it gets to the bullpens, they could make the matchup closer to a coin flip because the discrepancy between the starting pitchers is significant.
That means St. Louis could have a quick hook for Liberatore — especially with an off day Monday before a difficult spot with some jet lag on Tuesday night. I'll bet the Under on Liberatore's strikeout prop against a lineup full of right-handed bats as Liberatore has a career 15.8% strikeout rate against righties.
Cubs vs. Cardinals Betting Pick
I set the Cubs as 59.5% favorites (-147 implied odds) and would back Chicago at -135 (57.5%) or better. And given the discrepancy between the starters and relievers, I’m higher on the Cubs’ chances in the first five innings (F5). My F5 price target is -152 (projected -165).
I set the total at 12.2, implying a park factor on par with Coors Field.
Compared to that projection, I would bet Over 11.5 up to -115, but prefer to wait for a live Over 11.
Additionally, I’m going to place three-player prop bets for this matchup.
- Chicago Cubs (-134, 0.5u) at FanDuel (bet to -135)
- Nolan Gorman Over 1.5 Total Bases (+125, 0.25u) at DraftKings (bet to +115)
- Matthew Liberatore Under 3.5 Strikeouts (-140, 0.25u) at DraftKings (bet to -150)
- Seiya Suzuki Over 1.5 Total Bases (-105, 0.25u) at DraftKings (bet to -115)
What is QuickSlip?
QuickSlip is an Action Network feature that allows users to automatically pre-load their bet slip at FanDuel Sportsbook.