Cubs vs Tigers Odds, Prediction | MLB Picks Today for August 22
Matt Dirksen/Getty Images. Pictured: Drew Smyly of the Chicago Cubs.
Cubs vs. Tigers Odds
With the rest of Marcus Stroman's season in doubt due to a rib cartilage fracture, Drew Smyly is set to return to the Cubs rotation on Tuesday to face Reese Olson and the Tigers.
It hasn't been a pretty August for Smyly, as he's sporting an 8.53 ERA over 12 2/3 innings (two starts; three relief appearances). Thus, the line for Cubs vs. Tigers on Tuesday at Comerica Park is much closer than most would expect.
Olson has not been impressive this season. The rookie right-hander doesn't issue many walks and has an average strikeout rate, but he gives up hard contact, and that's led to underwhelming results. It's not hard to spot Olson's potential pitfall on Tuesday. The Cubs have trounced righties this month, so he has a tall task ahead of him.
The Cubs bullpen has been questionable at times, but since the Tigers can't hit left-handers, Chicago has the edge in this matchup.
Though Smyly's stats this month aren't good, he enters this game in some good form. He hasn't allowed a run over his last three relief appearances (three innings). Given that the Cubs are trying to clinch an NL Wild Card spot, they're hoping he can maintain this down the stretch.
Looking at Smyly's advanced metrics, he has an Average Exit Velocity of 87.4 mph, Barrel Rate of 7.1% and Hard Hit Rate of 33.8%. This is a clear advantage over Olson.
The Cubs have hit righties consistently, particularly over the last month. They own a team wRC+ of 132 and OPS of .865, with a 20% strikeout rate and 10.3% walk rate.
Only their catchers (Yan Gomes and Tucker Barnhart) and Christopher Morel have sub-.330 xwOBAs off righties. Anyone manager Davis Ross pencils into the lineup is capable of putting up a reasonable performance.
Seiya Suzuki extends the Cubs lead with a solo HR!! 💪
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) August 20, 2023
In relief, the Cubs are about even with the Tigers. They only have three pitchers with an xFIP below 4.00 in August (Michael Fulmer, Mark Leiter Jr. and Julian Merryweather).
Overall, they carry a 4.53 xFIP and 10%+ walk rate into this game. This is a concern for bets on the Cubs moneyline — that being said, there's potential for Smyly to pitch deep into this game with Detroit's woes against left-handers.
Olson has a 4.83 ERA against a 4.92 xERA. His Barrel Rate is 10.1%, his Average Exit Velocity is 90.3 mph and his Hard Hit Rate is 39.2%. Since the All-Star Break, he has a 5.70 ERA over 30 innings. Much like Smyly, the second half has not been kind to Olson.
The Tigers have only hit righties this month. They own a 49 wRC+, .493 OPS and 4.6% walk rate against southpaws. They are also striking out nearly 30% of the time.
Detroit only has two batters over a .330 xwOBA this month: Spencer Torkelson and Kerry Carpenter.
The Tigers also have a bad bullpen (4.58 xFIP this month). Their walk rate sits at 12.5%. While they have four relievers who have an xFIP below 4.00, they're not that deep if Olson exits early.
Cubs vs. Tigers
Betting Pick & Prediction
Bank on the Cubs to continue hitting right-handers. Olson is not strong enough to back and neither is the Tigers lineup against a left-handed pitcher. Chicago should be a heavier favorite.
What is QuickSlip?
QuickSlip is an Action Network feature that allows users to automatically pre-load their bet slip at FanDuel Sportsbook.