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Cubs vs. Padres Odds, Preview, Prediction: Betting Value on Kris Bryant & Chicago (Monday, June 7)

Cubs vs. Padres Odds, Preview, Prediction: Betting Value on Kris Bryant & Chicago (Monday, June 7) article feature image

Christian Petersen/Getty Images. Pictured: Kris Bryant.

Cubs vs. Padres Odds

Cubs Odds+114
Padres Odds-134
Time10:10 p.m. ET
Odds as of Monday morning and via FanDuel.

This matchup is a tale of two teams.

The Cubs have been playing unexpectedly well recently, while the Padres have been somewhat mediocre. For example, these teams played a series in Chicago just a week ago, and Chicago swept San Diego.

However, you can never count out Fernando Tatis Jr. and the Padres offense, and the young lefty starter, Ryan Weathers, has been having a great rookie season.

So, who has the edge in the series opener at Petco Park?

How Kris Bryant is Running the Show

At the beginning of this season, it seemed like the Cubs’ championship days were past them. The roster was aging, and many expected a fire sale.

Instead, the Cubs went 19-8 in the month of May and now sit atop the NL Central. During May, the Cubs’ lineup posted the third-highest OPS (.768), while the Cubs’ pitching staff posted the sixth-lowest FIP (3.78). That led to Chicago recording a whopping +46 run differential during the month.

The unlikely star of the show has been Kris Bryant, as he’s hitting .309 with a .976 OPS and 13 home runs. Bryant’s getting the barrel on the ball more often, as his barrel rate has nearly doubled from last season (11.8% 2021, 5.5% 2020) while his strikeout rate is down nearly 5% (22.8% 2021, 27.2% 2020).

All-in-all, Bryant’s on pace to post the highest wOBA of his career (.414).

The Cubs’ lineup doesn’t seem to be the issue, however. Instead, the starting pitching is clearly the Achilles’ heel of this team. But today’s starter might be turning into the much-needed ace in Chicago.

Starting pitcher: Adbert Alzolay (RHP)

Adbert Alzolay has been a consistent arm in the Cubs’ rotation and has even shown flashes of brilliance this season.

On May 22, Alzolay threw seven full innings while allowing just two runs on five hits against the Cardinals. Plus, he’s allowed just one run over his past two starts against the Reds and the Padres.

Alzolay’s most impressive stat is his super low 5.2% walk rate. He really struggled with his command last season and had one of the highest walk rates among qualified pitchers, but he’s been much better in that area this year and has a .91 WHIP to show for it.

The big change for Alzolay has been his slider. After throwing his slider just 21.8% of the time in 2019 and then 6.7% of the time in 2020, it’s now Alzolay’s most-used pitch.

Alzolay is throwing his slider nearly half the time, and the pitch has been incredibly effective. Opponents are batting just .163 with a .206 wOBA against it this season, and Alzolay’s posted a 32.7% strikeout rate on the pitch.

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San Diego May Continue to Struggle

The Padres haven’t been in top form recently.

They’re 4-6 in their last 10 games, and over the past two weeks, the offense is 28th in OPS (.610) while the pitching staff is 27th in FIP (4.45). Most recently, the Padres dropped 2-of-3 to a very mediocre Mets team.

But the Padres are treading water. They’re still a game up in the wild card race and only two games back of the Giants in the division. They have a run differential of +70 and are 20-12 at home this season. San Diego will be just fine.

Of course, none of this is the fault of Fernando Tatis Jr. Over his past 10 games, the shortstop has a 1.095 OPS with four home runs and 10 RBIs. Plus, he leads the league in slugging so far this season (.682).

Additionally, today’s starter has been very good so far.

Starting pitcher: Ryan Weathers (LHP)

Weathers has been a bit of a revelation this season. He’s now made 12 total appearances and started seven games while recording a 2.09 ERA and .99 WHIP in 39 1/3 total innings.

Unfortunately, he’s coming off the worst performance of his career so far. On June 1, he allowed four runs on seven hits over five innings against these Cubs. Even more unfortunate, I have reason to believe more of these starts are to come.

Behind a 46.4% hard-hit rate and a 91.5 average exit velocity, Weather’s xERA is all the way up at 5.28. Additionally, his FIP and xFIP are both way above 4.0, his strand rate sits above 93%, and his BABIP is a ridiculously low .210.

I would expect a lot of regression from Weathers soon.

Cubs-Padres Pick

Everything is pointing Cubs here.

While they lost their most recent series to the Giants, the Cubs are clicking on all cylinders. Prior to the Giants series, the Cubs had swept the Pirates, took 2-of-3 from the Reds and swept these Padres.

The lineup is cruising, and I’m expecting it to knock around the vulnerable Weathers once again. The Cubs are 13-4 against left-handed starters this season, too.

It’s worth mentioning that Weathers is a fastball-slider pitcher, and Bryant has been mashing both pitches, posting a .353 BA/.529 SLG against the slider and a .342 BA/.747 SLG against the fastball. I’d potentially look into some Bryant props today.

Meanwhile, the Padres lineup has been beyond mediocre recently while Alzolay has been pitching well. And while Alzolay often won’t pitch deep into games, the Cubs relievers are third in WHIP (1.01) and seventh in FIP (3.30) among bullpens over the past two weeks.

Finally, we’ve tracked sharp money coming in on the Cubs. At the time of this writing, the Cubs are receiving just 36% of the bets but 50% of the money. I’ll happily follow the money in this spot and am looking to play the Cubs at even money or better.

Pick: Cubs ML +114 (Play to +100)

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