Lo Duca’s Game 163 Betting Guide: Finding Value in Brewers-Cubs, Rockies-Dodgers
Jayne Camin-Oncea, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Walker Buehler
- The Cubs are a small favorite over the Brewers to win the NL Central tiebreaker.
- The Dodgers are a -165 favorite in the one-game playoff for the National League West.
Two one-game playoffs to decide who plays in the one-game playoff. Isn’t baseball great?
Just a quick note on how this will work. The loser of Monday’s Colorado/Los Angeles game will travel to play the loser of Monday’s Milwaukee/Chicago contest on Tuesday night. The winners of each game will advance to the National League Divisional Series, which begin on Thursday.
Betting odds: Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago Cubs
- Brewers Moneyline: +115 (Jhoulys Chacin)
- Cubs Moneyline: -125 (Jose Quintana)
- Over/Under: 8 (-105/-115)
- First pitch: 1:05 p.m. ET
- Channel: ESPN
The Brewers come into this game red hot. They’ve won seven in a row, nine out of 10 and are 19-7 in September. Milwaukee has been consistent all season but it is oozing confidence right now.
The Cubs have stumbled a little bit in September. Chicago blew a five-game lead in the division and finished the month 15-12. They should have wrapped this up a while ago, but put themselves in a precarious situation.
Given the fact that the Cubs blew a big lead, the pressure will be on their shoulders at home on Monday afternoon. The Brewers are playing with house money.
Jose Quintana gets the ball for Chicago and he’s been up and down all season. His second half has been slightly better than his first half but the big picture reveals an average season from the Cuban.
Quintana’s been plagued by walks (3.61 BB/9) and home runs (1.33 HR/9) this season. The Brewers own the ninth-best walk-rate (9.1%) against lefties, so they will make Quintana pay if his control fails him.
The 29-year-old has also struggled in the Windy City. He’s got a .329 wOBA (weighted on-base average) and has allowed 15 homers in 75.2 innings at Wrigley Field. The Brewers have also seen Quintana A LOT this season. He’s pitched against them six times in 2018 and that is a huge plus for the Crew.
The Brewers, after much posturing, have tabbed Jhoulys Chacin as the starter for the tiebreaker. Chacin’s numbers look good on the surface, although his .256 BABIP and 4.43 xFIP suggest he’s been lucky.
It’s hard to have much faith in either of these pitchers and I think the matchup is a coin flip, but the battle of the bullpens here is a mismatch.
Chicago’s relievers rank 21st in the MLB with a 4.29 xFIP. They walk 4.18 batters per 9 innings and strike out less than a batter per inning. Milwaukee’s bullpen, on the other hand, ranks third with a 3.51 xFIP and 10.31 K/9.
I like the Brewers to touch up Quintana in the early going and then lean on their bullpen to get through this one. This game to me is very close to 50/50 so I’ll take the value with the underdog.
The Bet: Milwaukee +115
Betting odds: Colorado Rockies at Los Angeles Dodgers
- Rockies Moneyline: +154 (German Marquez)
- Dodgers Moneyline: -164 (Walker Buehler)
- Over/Under: 7 (-105/-115)
- First pitch: 4:05 p.m. ET
- Channel: ESPN
Walker Buehler is on his way to being a star. His best pitch is his exploding fastball which I expect to have even more life to it with his adrenaline pumping.
The 24-year-old right-hander is emerging as one of the game’s best strikeout artists, averaging 10.2 strikeouts per 9 innings.
It’s a good matchup for Buehler, too, as the Rockies rank second-to-last in all of baseball in wRC+ against righties. A big part of their problems against right-handed pitching is that they strike out a lot. Their 23.3 K% is the ninth-highest mark in the MLB.
The 24-year-old also seems to love pitching during the day. He’s made three daytime starts over his career at Chavez Ravine. In those starts he’s allowed four earned runs and struck out 25 in 18 2/3 innings. It’s a small sample size, but is still encouraging.
If Buehler’s got his stuff, he should cruise through the first part of this game.
Yet as good as Buehler has been for the Dodgers this season, this is not going to be a pitching mismatch.
German Marquez gets the ball for the Rockies and he’s been fantastic for Colorado. The 23-year-old righty posted a 3.11 xFIP and average 10.4 K’s per 9. Over his last 15 starts, the Rockies are 11-4 and have profited bettors 6.4 units (per Bet Labs).
The Dodgers do handle right-handed pitching well — they rank second with a .339 wOBA against righties this season — but I still like Marquez to keep Los Angeles off balance, especially the first time through. Like it or not, this is a playoff game and I expect hitters to be a little tight, especially in the early part of the game.
Another reason I’m leaning toward a pitchers’ duel is that if either of these starters get in a jam, they have the right combination to get out of trouble. Not only do both of these hurlers rack up punch outs, but they also get a ton of ground balls. Buehler owns a 50% ground-ball rate in 2018 and Marquez isn’t far behind him at 47.9%.
The odds make the Dodgers a decent favorite but I think this thing will be tight in the early going.
Bet: Under 3.5 Runs First-5-Innings (-116)
All odds courtesy of 5Dimes.
Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.