Cubs vs. Tigers Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions (Wednesday, August 26)
Ron Schwane/Getty Images. Pictured: Jon Lester.
- Check out our MLB betting preview for Wednesday's matchup between the Chicago Cubs and Detroit Tigers.
- Both the Cubs and Tigers draw advantageous offensive matchups against their respective opposing pitchers: Michael Fulmer and Jon Lester.
- Brad Cunningham breaks down odds for today's game and explains why he's betting on this game to go over the five-inning total.
Cubs vs. Tigers Odds
|Cubs Odds||-157 [BET NOW]|
|Tigers Odds||+133 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||10 (+100/-118) [BET NOW]|
|First Pitch||7:10 p.m. ET|
The Chicago Cubs will look to maintain their lead in the NL Central as they send Jon Lester to the mound Wednesday to face the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers’ hot start to the season seemingly has come to an end, as they are 2-8 in their last 10 games. They’ll send Michael Fulmer to the mound in hopes he can put his bad start to 2020 behind him.
Advanced Stats Glossary
FIP or Fielding Independent Pitching measures what a pitcher’s ERA would look like if the pitcher experienced league-average defense and luck. xFIP is a regressed version of FIP that adjusts or “normalizes’ the home run component based on park factors.
wRC+ or Weighted Runs Created Plus takes the statistic Runs Created and adjusts that number to account for critical external factors — like ballpark or era. It’s adjusted, so a wRC+ of 100 is league average, and 150 would be 50 percent above league average.
wOBA or Weighted On-Base Average is a catch-all hitting metric with more predictive value than on-base percentage. An average MLB hitter can be expected to post a .320 wOBA. xwOBA is a regressed version of wOBA that accounts for variables like park factors.
BaseRuns is a formula designed to estimate how many runs a team would be expected to score (or allow) given their underlying offensive (or defensive) performance. In other words, BaseRuns is a context-neutral run estimator used to evaluate teams. Major League average for an individual batter per game is 0.50 BaseRuns and a for a pitcher its 0.52 BaseRuns per inning.
Cubs Projected Lineup
The Cubs have been above average offensively so far this season, ranking 11th in MLB in terms of wOBA (.324) and wRC+ (103). They’ve done most of their damage against right-handed pitching. They have a .335 wOBA versus righties compared to only a .303 wOBA against left-handed pitching.
Anthony Rizzo and Ian Happ have been carrying the Cubs offensively, as the two have combined for 11 home runs and 25 RBIs so far this season. The Cubs have been successful versus fastballs and sinkers this year, ranking in the top half of MLB, which are Fulmer’s two primary pitches.
Cubs Probable Starter
Jon Lester, LHP
Projected & Actual Stats (via Fangraphs)
Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)
Jon Lester’s house of cards has fallen. He came into his last start with a 2.74 ERA, but had a 5.35 xFIP. Lester proceeded to give up eight earned runs and four homers in only 3.2 innings pitched. It’s no secret that Lester is starting to fall off a cliff as he gets into his late 30s. He’s posted an xFIP over 4.00 in each of his previous two seasons and looks to be trending that way in 2020.
Lester primarily alternates between his fastball and cutter, and he has fantastic movement on both. However, he’s been getting shelled over the past few years, allowing a wOBA higher than .300 against each of those pitches in both 2019 and 2020.
The Tigers rank inside the top 10 in MLB against fastballs, so look for Lester to go to his cutter a lot on Wednesday night.
Tigers Projected Lineup
The Tigers offense has surprisingly been not that bad so far in 2020. They have a .304 wOBA and 90 wRC+, which is much higher than their preseason projections.
Pretty much all of their success has come against left-handed pitching, as they rank second in MLB with a .383 wOBA and 144 wRC+. Lester faced the No. 1 offense against lefties last time out against the White Sox, and we all saw how bad he was hit around. The Tigers should have no trouble hitting Lester all around the yard.
Tigers Probable Starter
Michael Fulmer, RHP
Projected Stats (ZIPS) (via Fangraphs)
Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant) (2018)
Michael Fulmer missed all of the 2019 season after Tommy John surgery. His return after that surgery has not gone according to plan. In fact, it’s been a total and complete disaster. Through his first four starts of 2020, he’s yet to make it past the third inning due to a mixture of the Tigers remaining cautious and him being flat-out terrible.
Fulmer has already allowed six home runs and 18 hits in only 11.1 innings pitched. The velocity on his fastball and sinker have dropped by more than 2 mph on average from 2018 and hitters have been taking advantage of it.
He’s only allowed four hits on his fastball so far, but they’ve all been home runs. His sinker has also been hit to the tune of a .391 wOBA in 51 pitches, while opponents are averaging a wOBA over .400 against his slider and changeup as well. As I previously mentioned, most of the Cubs’ success has come against right-handed pitching, so they should have no trouble against Fulmer on Wednesday.
Projections and Pick
Both offenses have favorable matchups against these two starting pitchers, so I think we’ll see a lot of runs scored early. Since I have 6.05 runs projected I will be betting Over 5.5 runs for the first five innings at +100 (BetRivers) and I would play it up to -107.
Pick: First Five Innings Over 5.5 runs (+100)