Friday MLB Betting Odds, Picks, Predictions for Cubs vs. Phillies: Rhys Hoskins, Philadelphia Bats Have Home Edge
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images. Pictured: Kyle Schwarber #12 and Rhys Hoskins #17 of the Philadelphia Phillies.
- The Phillies host the Cubs as short favorites on Friday night in Philadelphia.
- Justin Steele and the Cubs will look to generate some momentum after limping into the All-Star break while Kyle Gibson and the Phillies look to stay hot.
- Doug Ziefel breaks down the matchup and shares his best bet below.
Cubs vs. Phillies Odds
|Time||7:05 p.m. ET|
|Odds updated as of Friday afternoon via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.|
The second half of the MLB season is in full swing, and one of the first games this evening is the series opener between the Cubs and the Phillies. The Cubs are a team that desperately needed the All-Star break as they finished the first half on a 1-9 stretch.
They'll attempt to change that tune to start the second half as they give the ball to Justin Steele. Steele has been very solid for the Cubs and pitched much better than his 4.15 ERA portrays. However, he will be challenged against Philly.
The Philadelphia Phillies have managed to stay afloat without Bryce Harper by leaning on their starting rotation and having Kyle Schwarber carry the load offensively. Kyle Gibson will toe the slab this evening and finished the first half strong, allowing just one run over his last two starts. Can Gibson keep his momentum going and carry the Phillies to another victory? Let's take a closer look to find out.
Look for Gibson to Keep Cubs Off Balance
Gibson was dominant in his final two starts prior to the All-Star break as he allowed just one run and six hits over 13 innings of work. The key to his success is producing soft contact. Gibson is not someone who will overpower hitters with his fastball or wipe them out with a nasty breaking ball. Instead, he relies on movement to miss barrels and induce efficient outs.
Fortunately, he's getting a Cubs lineup that loves to swing the bat. They enter this game with the 10th-highest Strikeout Rate in the majors, and they also have the highest Ground Ball Rate. That's a significant boost for Gibson as his primary pitch is his sinker. I expect him to be sinker-heavy to righties and to pound his cutter in to lefties.
However, the Cubs' Strikeout Rate will also work in Gibson's favor tonight. Not only are they top-10 as a team, but they also hold some of the highest individual Strikeout Rates in the majors. Patrick Wisdom, David Bote, Nelson Velazquez, Christopher Morel, and Alfonso Rivas all have Strikeout Rates above 30 percent.
Gibson is not a high-strikeout guy, but he should punch out his fair share of hitters, and when they do make contact, there's almost a 50 percent chance it will be on the ground.
Phillies' Righties Will Need to Step Up
Justin Steele has been a pleasant surprise for the Chicago Cubs this season. His 3.40 FIP is one of the best on the staff because of his excellent stuff. Steele is primarily a fastball-slider pitcher, and his slider has been trouble for opposing batters, who are hitting just .138 off him this season.
I expect Schwarber and the other Phillies lefties to see almost exclusively sliders. However, given the tear that Schwarber has been on, Steele and the rest of the Cubs staff should try to limit his impact by pitching more carefully against him.
That means righties like Rhys Hoskins, Matt Vierling, J.T. Realmuto, and Alec Bohm will have to shoulder the load offensively. They each have proven they are capable of doing so as they all possess Hard-Hit Rates above 41 percent and an xwOBA above .324.
On top of that, Steele has not been all that great against right-handed hitting as he holds a 4.14 ERA against them this season.
The market has steamed the Cubs down here quite a bit as the sharps are probably hyper-focused on Steele's FIP as it's a clear sign of positive regression.
However, Philly's true advantage is with Gibson. He has the perfect arsenal to shut down the Cubs lineup and give his team plenty of chances to support him. I'm banking on another solid effort from Gibson as he should turn in a quality start at a minimum while Hoskins and company spark the offense in the middle innings.
Pick: Phillies ML (-130)