Odds, Preview, Prediction for Cubs vs. Dodgers: Offense Will Be At a Premium Against Julio Urías, Chicago’s Stable of Arms (Saturday, June 26)
Michael Owens/Getty Images. Pictured: Javier Baez
- The Cubs and Dodgers meet in the third of their four-game set on Saturday in Los Angeles.
- Julio Urías takes the mound for LA while Chicago will rely on Alec Mills and its superb bullpen.
- Michael Arinze breaks down the matchup and makes his betting pick below.
Cubs vs. Dodgers Odds
|Over/Under||9 (-114 / -107)|
|Time||7:15 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Saturday morning and via DraftKings.|
A 6-2 Dodgers victory on Friday night tied up their series with the Cubs at one game apiece. If you just looked at the final score and went about your day, you’d probably think that the Dodgers were in full control throughout the game, but you would be wrong.
The game was tied 2-2 going into the bottom of the eighth inning, and that was when Los Angeles plated four runs on two, two-run home runs.
Saturday’s matchup will feature Alec Mills on the mound for the Cubs against Julio Urías for the Dodgers. It would seem like Los Angeles has the edge in the starting pitching on paper, and most would agree with that assertion. After all, the Dodgers are as high as a -195 favorite.
But the total shouldn’t go overlooked in this matchup. I’ll share my reasons why and much more as we get set for game three at Dodger Stadium.
Cubs Will Rely On Bullpen To Keep Pace
The Chicago Cubs didn’t go to Los Angeles to roll over for the Dodgers. This Chicago team is a legitimate playoff contender as it trails Milwaukee by one game in the NL Central.
In an offseason where the Cubs let their ace, Yu Darvish, and slugger, Kyle Schwarber go, they weren’t even projected to finish at .500 for the season.
And yet, here they are, already eight games above .500 with a 42-34 record.
Not only did they kick off this series with a combined no-hitter and hand Walker Buehler his first loss in 23 starts, but they also hung in with the mighty Dodgers and held them to two runs through seven innings before the Dodgers knocked in four runs in the eighth inning.
Nonetheless, Chicago’s relievers have been exceptional this season as they lead the league with a 2.70 bullpen ERA. Because of their stellar play, I think they can keep the Dodgers at bay despite a disadvantage in the starting pitching.
Mills will make his 16th appearance and fourth start on Saturday. He’s logged 33 innings this season and averaged 2 1/3 innings per outing. However, he’s started in his last two appearances and averaged 4 2/3 innings in those outings. One of those outings was a five-inning shutout performance against the Marlins six days ago.
Yet, when I look at this handicap with Mills as the starter, I don’t plan to factor him too much into my modeling. I suspect that if he runs into any trouble, Chicago’s best-in-class bullpen will be called into action faster than James (Cool Papa) Bell turning the lights out and being in bed before the room gets dark.
And Chicago’s bullpen should be relatively fresh as Ryan Tepera is the only pitcher who has thrown more than 30 pitches in the last three days.
Dodgers’ Offense Isn’t Fully Clicking
There’s a bit of a recency bias when it comes to Los Angeles, as I think it’s still very much viewed as the team that won 71.7% (43-17) of its regular-season games last year. That led to a wins total set at 102.5 for this season, thus requiring a .633 win percentage.
Right now, the Dodgers are 45-31 (.592), which puts them about four games off that pace. One thing that’s clear is despite a decent start, they’re just not creating as many runs as they did last year.
The Dodgers wRC+ has dropped from 122 last year to 110 this season. And over the last two weeks, that number is even worse at 99, which is slightly below average. But those numbers dwarf those of the Cubs, who have a wRC+ of 95 this season, and over the last two weeks, they’re second-to-last at 65.
The synopsis is that neither team is swinging a big stick right now, and that’s something Urías will look to take advantage of.
Urías is coming off a poor outing his last time out as he only lasted four innings and surrendered six runs on six hits with two home runs allowed and four walks. However, this is precisely when you expect him to bounce back, as there have been three occasions this season in which he allowed four or more runs. The Dodgers’ left-hander followed up those outings with a total of two earned runs in 19 innings of work.
I’d expect Urías to have a similar effort again on Saturday against a Cubs lineup that isn’t necessarily firing on all cylinders. Keep in mind that Chicago has the fifth-highest called or swinging-strike rate (CSW) at 29.3%. That should bode for Urías as he’s generating an above-average CSW rate of 31.1%.
I’m angling towards the under in this game if you’ve yet to connected the dots. It wasn’t until I dug into the numbers that I realized how the Cubs’ bullpen had played an integral role in their profile as an under team this season.
I think we’re getting a break with this total at nine because Mills is the starter and carries a 5.18 ERA. And as I mentioned, I’d expect Cubs manager David Ross, to have a quick hook at his first sign of trouble. But if you’re still unsure on how to approach this game, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Chicago is 3-0 to the under when Mills starts this season.
- Dating back to 2004, the total is 33-21-6 (+9.9 units) to the under when both teams meet.
- Chicago is 5-0 to the under in its last five games.
- The total is 14-8-1 to the under when it’s set at nine or higher in a game involving the Cubs.
- The total is 43-29-4 (10.97 units) to the under for the Cubs this season.
To sum things up, I like the total to stay under nine for this game, and that price is available at -105 odds.
Pick: Under 9 (-105)