Marlins vs. Cubs MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Back Pablo Lopez to Earn Road Win (Saturday, August 6)
Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images. Pictured: Pablo Lopez #49 of the Miami Marlins
Marlins vs. Cubs Odds
|Over/Under||8 (-120 /-100)|
|Time||2:20 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM . Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.|
Friday's game turned into a classic pitching duel. Cubs starter Justin Steele only needed 4.2 innings to rack up 10 strikeouts while not allowing a run. Edward Cabrera got the start for the Marlins and tossed five no-hit innings with eight strikeouts.
The Marlins pushed a run across in the seventh inning on a RBI single by second baseman Joey Wendle. The Cubs responded in the eighth inning with a two-run home run courtesy of catcher Wilson Contreras. Chicago would hold on for a 2-1 victory.
On Saturday, the Marlins will start Pablo Lopez and the Cubs will counter with Drew Smyly. Runs may be at a premium once again as the oddmakers set the total at 8 runs.
However, could Lopez give the Marlins the edge?
Marlins Leaning on Top Pitchers
Before Sandy Alcantara ascended to becoming the NL Cy Award favorite, Pablo Lopez was actually the Marlins starter who won NL Pitcher of the Month for April.
He was 3-0 with a 0.39 ERA in four starts. Regression was inevitable with such a microscopic ERA, but Lopez still is having a strong campaign and gives the Marlins a nice 1-2 punch in its starting rotation.
The right-hander is 7-6 with a 3.41 ERA and 119 strikeouts in 118.2 innings. He ranks in the 75th percentile or better in Hard Hit Percentage, Chase Rate, and Whiff Rate.
Lopez was shelled in his last start by the Mets, allowing 12 hits and six runs in 2.2 innings. However, in his previous start on July 26th against the Cincinnati Reds, Lopez struck out 11, allowed two hits and just one run in seven innings.
Lopez has allowed two runs or fewer in five of his last seven starts. He may just dominate the Cubs today. Many of the Cubs have not seen much of Lopez, but no one on the Cubs roster has a hit off of him. In particular, Yan Gomes is 0-for-10 against him.
I expect Lopez to do much of the heavy lifting today, but he will need a little help from his offense. The Marlins have scored three runs or fewer in each of the last six games and the team is 1-5 in that span.
There may be an opportunity to break out with the Cubs starting Drew Smyly. First baseman Jesus Aguilar is 4-for-8 against Smyly. He has been cold, but he hit a home run on Wednesday. Catcher Jacob Stallings only has two home runs on the season, but he has two in five attempts against Smyly.
Cubs Going Through Offensive Slump
The Cubs will start Drew Smyly and he is strong in several advanced metrics. The left-hander ranks in the 75th percentile or better in Hard Hit Percentage, Average Exit Velocity, Walk Rate, and Chase Rate.
However, he is still just 3-6 with a 4.42 ERA. Smyly has a 4.52 xERA and ranks in the 15th percentile in xSLG, 23rd percentile in Strikeout Rate, and 26th percentile in xBA. In his last seven starts, he is 2-2 with a 5.22 ERA.
As bad as the Marlins have been offensively, the Cubs have struggled just as much. They have scored three runs or fewer in each of the last five games and have a 1-4 record in that span.
The team has scored seven runs and has a .182 team batting average and .562 OPS in four games in August. Additionally, the Cubs rank 10th as a team in Strikeout Percentage for the season and eighth over the last 30 days.
Lopez may pile up the strikeouts again today.
In the summer, Wrigley Field can be a hitter's haven with the right conditions.
Today's forecast calls for 90 degrees and high humidity with the wind blowing out to left. The Cubs and Marlins have struggling offenses, but they are due to break out at some point. For that reason, I am avoiding the under.
The Marlins have the better starter on the mound in Pablo Lopez and they have had better success against Smyly. If they can give Lopez a few runs of support, I expect that to be the difference.
I like the Marlins today and will be backing them on the moneyline.
Pick: Marlins ML (-104)