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MLB Odds, Picks and Predictions for Cubs vs. Orioles: Will Baltimore’s Magic Continue at Home? (Thursday, Aug. 18)

MLB Odds, Picks and Predictions for Cubs vs. Orioles: Will Baltimore’s Magic Continue at Home? (Thursday, Aug. 18) article feature image
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Tim Heitman/Getty Images. Pictured: Jorge Mateo #3 of the Baltimore Orioles.

  • The Baltimore Orioles (61-56) host the Chicago Cubs (49-67) on Thursday afternoon at 3:05 p.m. ET.
  • The Orioles are 1.5 games out from the final AL wildcard spot and should be highly motivated to win at home.
  • MLB betting analyst Alex Hinton previews today's MLB matchup, including updated odds, picks and predictions for Cubs vs. Orioles.

Cubs vs. Orioles Odds

Cubs Odds +135
Orioles Odds -160
Over/Under 8.5 (-120 / +100)
Time 3:05 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

On Thursday afternoon, the Chicago Cubs head to Baltimore to battle the Orioles in a make-up game originally scheduled for June 8. Back then, the Orioles were in last place in the AL East and an afterthought to make the MLB playoffs.

Since then, the O’s are 37-23 and have been one of the best teams in baseball. Following yesterday’s loss, Baltimore enters play 1.5 games back from the third and final AL wildcard spot.

The Orioles took two from the Cubs in Chicago during a 10-game winning streak in July. Chicago has struggled throughout the season amidst its rebuild. However, it will enter this series with momentum. The Cubbies took two of three from the Nationals and have won six out of the last 10 games overall.

Can Chicago continue its momentum, or will the Orioles complete the season sweep?

Chicago Cubs

Offense has been hard to come by for Chicago; the team ranks 21st in runs scored. However, the Cubs have averaged five runs per game during their last three series. Playing the Nationals and Reds does help but so has the hot hitting of Nico Hoerner, Ian Happ and Franmil Reyes.

Hoerner is hitting .358 with six runs batted and a .915 OPS in his last 15 games.

Happ is hitting .308 with three home runs, eight runs batted in and a 1.049 OPS in his last seven games.

Reyes is .367 with two home runs and five runs batted in and a 1.133 since joining the team. He has been playing with a chip on his shoulder since being released by Cleveland.

The Cubs will send Adrian Sampson to the mound, and Sampson has yet to record a win in 11 starts. The right-hander is 0-3 with a 3.88 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 53.1 innings.

Sampson excels at limiting hard contact, ranking in the 86th percentile in average exit velocity and 87th percentile in hard hit percentage. However, he ranks in just the 22nd percentile in strikeout percentage, 31st percentile in whiff rate, 38th percentile in xBA and 41st percentile in xSLG.

Sampson is also slightly worse away from the friendly confines of Wrigley Field. In four road starts, he has a 4.34 ERA and 1.34 WHIP while averaging only 4.2 innings per start.


Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles have vastly exceeded expectations this season and continue to demonstrate that their success is not a fluke. Baltimore averages 4.6 runs per game and has hit .261 with a .747 OPS during in the month of August. As a result, the team is 10-5 in that span.

Baltimore has received contributions from a few unexpected sources in Terrin Vavra and Ryan McKenna. Vavra is hitting .324 with seven runs batted in over his last 15 games. McKenna is hitting .368 with four runs batted in over his last seven games. Cedric Mullins and Jorge Mateo are each hitting over .300 with three home runs and three stolen bases over their last 15 games.

Spenser Watkins will get the start for the Orioles, and he comes in at 4-2 with a 4.23 ERA in 15 starts. However, he has been better over his last seven starts, boasting a 3-1 record, 3.38 ERA and 1.13 WHIP during that span.

Watkins may not wow you with his strikeout numbers, but the Cubs will present a good matchup for him. Over the last 30 days, the Cubs have a 23% strikeout percentage against right-handed pitching and have the fourth-most strikeouts in the league over that span.

On July 13, Watkins had five strikeouts against the Cubs and only gave up one run in five innings of work. Watkins has reached the sixth inning in just three of his 15 starts. However, he will be backed up by the one of the best bullpens in the league. The Orioles rank fourth in bullpen ERA (3.15).

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Cubs vs. Orioles Pick

Baltimore has been the most profitable team for bettors to back this season. That is largely because of its success as an underdog, but in this spot I like the Orioles as a favorite. Baltimore is 33-21 at home while Chicago is 24-34 on the road.

On paper, the starting pitching matchup looks about even. However, Sampson has struggled away from home and Watkins is trending up of late, including his start against the Cubs.

The Orioles have had a knack for coming up with timely hits over the last few months. I expect them to push across a few runs against Sampson. However, even if they don’t, they should have success against a Cubs bullpen that ranks 21st in bullpen ERA.

If it turns into a bullpen game, the Orioles will have a big edge, and that is among the reasons I expect the Orioles to win at home.

Pick: Orioles ML -155

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