Cubs-Giants Betting Preview: Will Chicago Continue To Give Lester Run Support?

Cubs-Giants Betting Preview: Will Chicago Continue To Give Lester Run Support? article feature image

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Jon Lester

Betting odds: Chicago Cubs at San Francisco Giants

  • Cubs moneyline: -145
  • Giants moneyline: +135
  • Over/Under: 9
  • First pitch: 3:45 p.m. ET

>> All odds as of Wednesday afternoon. Download The Action Network App to get real-time MLB odds and track your bets

(Note: Jon Lester has been scratched by the Chicago Cubs for his start Wednesday against the Giants.)

The 2019 season has been a pretty down year for Jon Lester when you look at his baseline numbers:

  • Lester owns a 3.87 ERA, which is his third-highest since 2008.
  • Opponents are hitting .280 against Lester (their highest average since his rookie year in 2006).
  • Maybe most importantly, opponents are hitting 1.51 home runs per nine innings and are slugging .465 against him —  both the highest marks of his career.

With Lester having long ball issues this year, how has that affected the betting markets?

The best strategy for playing Lester’s games is to focus on the Over/Under.

In 2019, the over is 12-6-1 (66.7%) when Lester starts, going over the total by 1.5 runs per game. This year is currently on pace to be the most profitable season to the over in Lester’s career. But this isn’t a new trend.

Over the last three seasons, the over is 49-31-3 (61.3%) in Lester starts, profiting bettors $1,570 on a $100 per game basis.

In that span, Lester is the third-most profitable pitcher in all of baseball to the over, behind just Zack Wheeler and Dan Straily.

Since 2017, runs seem to find the scoreboard when Lester pitches — both at home and on the road. During that span the over is 26-19-1 (57.8%) when Lester starts at home, going over the total by 1.8 runs per game and profiting bettors $573. The over is 23-12-2 (65.7%) on the road, profiting bettors $997.

Lester hasn’t been All-Star caliber the past two seasons, but the main reason over bettors have cashed in his starts is that he receives some big-time run support. Since 2017, Lester is receiving 6.54 runs of support per start, the highest average of all 102 starting pitchers with at least 300 innings pitched during that timeframe.

In that span, the average starting pitcher in Major League Baseball is receiving 4.65 runs of support per game and the Cubs are giving their starters on average 4.93 runs per start, which is 10th in all of baseball.

Another reason overs have performed well when Lester is on the mound? He doesn’t pitch deep into games anymore. The 35-year-old southpaw has only worked seven innings or more in two of his 19 starts this season and over the last three seasons Lester has only made it through seven innings in 16 of 83 (19.3%) starts. In his previous nine years, Lester logged seven innings in 47.6% of his starts.

The good news for Lester? In his career, he has faced San Francisco six times and he owns a 2.00 ERA and the Cubs are 5-1 in those games.

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