Cubs vs. White Sox Odds, Preview, Prediction: The Smart Bet for Friday’s Crosstown Classic (Aug. 27)

Cubs vs. White Sox Odds, Preview, Prediction: The Smart Bet for Friday’s Crosstown Classic (Aug. 27) article feature image
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Cole Burston/Getty Images. Pictured: Jose Abreu.

  • The Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox go to battle in the Crosstown Classic on Friday night at 8:10 p.m. ET.
  • Both teams send pitchers due to regression for the mound, meaning we might see a lot of bullpen in this matchup.
  • Michael Arinze breaks down the game below and shares his betting picks and predictions based on his analysis.

Cubs vs. White Sox Odds

Cubs Odds +170
White Sox Odds -200
Over/Under 9 (-120 / +100)
Time 8:10 p.m. ET
TV MLB Network
Odds as of Friday morning and via DraftKings.

The Crosstown Classic heads to the south side of Chicago as the White Sox host the Cubs for a three-game series this weekend.  Both teams met in early August, and it was a one-sided affair as the White Sox won all three games at Wrigley Field.

Friday’s opener features Cubs rookie Keegan Thompson against Dallas Keuchel for the White Sox. This will be just Thompson’s third career start, though he does have 26 appearances out of the bullpen.

Let’s take a look to see if there’s anything we could glean from those outings that would help in picking a side in this matchup.

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Will Thompson Regress for the Cubs?

MLB.com listed Thompson as the 30th-ranked prospect in the Cubs organization. He made his debut out of the bullpen on May 2 and scattered two hits in a scoreless inning against the Reds.

Two days later, he opposed Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers in his first career start. Thompson pitched only 3.2 innings but didn’t allow any runs as the Cubs held on for a 4-3 win.

His next 25 appearances would be in relief until he was recalled as a starter on Aug. 21 against the Royals. The Alabama native pitched four innings and allowed two runs on five hits and two walks.

Overall, he’s 3-3 with a 2.42 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP. However, his 5.12 xERA and 4.92 FIP are more than two runs higher than his ERA, making him a clear candidate for regression. Thompson’s walking 4.84 batters per nine innings and stranding 93.6% of the base runners. That’s not sustainable, and those two numbers really help make the connection as to why his regression seems imminent.

Another problem with the rookie right-hander is he’s simply not missing many bats. His Called + Swinging Strike Rate is considered below average at 25.9%. Opposing hitters are barreling him up 8.1% of the time, and that’s led to 16.3% of his flyballs leaving the ballpark as souvenirs.

Perhaps the Cubs are aware of these shortcomings, and that’s why they were reluctant to feature him as a starter. It’ll be interesting to see how he performs against a White Sox team ranked third offensively with an above-average wRC+ value of 108.


White Sox Hope to Trust Keuchel

It’s been an up-and-down season for Keuchel as he’s struggled to match the success of last year when he finished 6-2 with a 1.99 ERA and 1.09 WHIP.  This season, he’s 8-7 with a 4.71 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP.

The 10-year veteran is also a candidate for regression, evidenced by his 5.88 xERA and 5.20 FIP.

He’s really struggled with the long ball, as his HR/FB rate increased from 4.7% last year to 19.8% this season. That’s almost a 400% increase. And if we look at his barrel rate (9.6%), it’s almost double that of any season since Statcast began tracking in 2015.

The left-hander doesn’t seem to be fooling many hitters at the moment. His 5.44 K/9 ratio is the lowest in his past nine seasons.

Keuchel utilizes a five-pitch arsenal: sinker (36.6%), changeup (28.5%), cutter (25.7%), slider (7.5%), and four-seamer (1.7%). However, it’s clear that he primarily throws three pitches, and per FanGraphs Pitch Info Values, his sinker and cutter are four runs below average. That leaves him with only the cutter that’s really been effective in getting hitters out.

The warning signs are certainly there with Keuchel on the mound. He’s won just one of his last five decisions and has a 5.73 ERA in August.

He will, however, face a Cubs lineup that has one home run in 68 at-bats against him with a .221 / .260 / .324 line. If he can keep the ball inside the park, he’ll stand a decent chance to pick up a decision.

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Cubs-White Sox Pick

As you can probably tell by now, I’m not much a fan of either one of these pitchers. It could very well be a short night for both, which means the bullpens would be called into action.

If we look at their ERAs this season, the White Sox bullpen (4.16 ERA) is just a tick better than the Cubs (4.17 ERA).

However, if we focus on their performance since the trade deadline, the Cubs’ 6.61 ERA is the second-highest in the majors during that span, while the White Sox are ranked 21st with a 4.56 ERA.

The Pale Hose are as high as a -240 favorite on the moneyline, but if I were looking to get involved in this game, I’d look to play trim the juice by playing them on the run line.

Lean: White Sox Run Line (-115)

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