MLB Odds, Picks for Saturday, June 3: Cubs vs Padres Prediction
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images. Pictured: Fernando Tatis Jr.
- The San Diego Padres host the Chicago Cubs for the second game of their four-game series on Saturday night.
- Drew Smyly has enjoyed a rock-solid season thus far, but he could be in trouble against a Padres team that lights up left-handed pitching.
- Action Network’s Nick Martin previews Cubs vs. Padres below and makes the case for backing the San Diego runline.
Cubs vs. Padres Odds
Drew Smyly looks to continue his surprisingly dominant season against the Padres at Petco Park on Saturday night. He will be opposed by Yu Darvish, who has disappointed on the surface with a 4.61 ERA in 56 2/3 innings.
Despite the fact that Smyly's had the superior season to Darvish, and that both the Cubs (25-31) and Padres (26-31) have identical records, Chicago enters the second game of this series as +146 underdogs on the moneyline as of this writing on Saturday.
Is that price unfounded? Will Smyly continue a solid start to his 2023 campaign? Will the Padres break out a bad spell that has them fourth in the NL West? Find out in my Cubs vs. Padres betting preview below.
Drew Smyly's rock-solid season thus far doesn't appear to be fool's gold as his 3.45 ERA is backed by an xERA of 2.96. His xFIP is less elite, but still quite solid at 4.38.
There is always something to be said for pitching with elite command and a strong plan of attack. Still, it has been pretty shocking to see Smyly limit hard contact to an elite 28.5% rate over a 60-inning sample size.
That being said, his last two outings have been far less dominant with an ERA of 6.85 and WHIP of 1.63 over 9 2/3 innings. Two games is a fairly irrelevant sample, but it's logical to suggest Smyly could pitch to more modest results rest of season.
Similar to the Padres, Chicago has scuffled offensively over the last month. The Cubs have struck out 27.4% of the time, and own a wRC+ of 90. That comes while holding a middle-of-the-pack BABIP of .298.
Chicago offers drastically differing splits between righties and lefties this season. Against right-handers, the Cubs are 15th with a 99 wRC+; against lefties, they tie for fifth with an elite mark of 117.
In what is now a three-season-long sample size, Yu Darvish has found considerably better results inside the pitcher-friendly confines of Petco Park. He has pitched to an ERA of 3.30 and WHIP of 1.17 at home. His xERA is encouraging at 3.69, and the same can be said for his xFIP of 3.94.
While his chase rate is down compared to last season, Darvish's stuff still rates well. He seems to be a logical candidate for steady results from here on out despite three consecutive disastrous outings.
San Diego's inability to hit with runners in scoring position (RISP) is a key reason why their offense has been disappointing. The Padres have a .218 batting average with RISP, which is last in MLB — though that doesn't tell the whole story and masks reasonable process.
Pertinent to this matchup against Smyly, the Friars have hit left-handed pitching well. They own a 105 wRC+ and a .322 wOBA. Fernando Tatis Jr., in particular, has thrived vs. lefties, slugging .676 with four home runs in 41 plate appearances.
Cubs vs. Padres Betting Pick
Darvish pitches to significantly better splits at Petco Park. And be it at home or on the road, Darvish is due for slightly better results and I believe he could snap out of his funk on Saturday night.
Offensively, the Padres are better than they've shown this season and will make for a tough matchup for Smyly. While Smyly's underlying results are solid, I'm not sold that his stuff is going to allow him to finish with drastically better results than last season.
There's a good chance the Padres touch up Smyly while Darvish is outright dominant — +125 (BetRivers) is a strong price to back San Diego to win by two or more.
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