Mets vs. Cubs MLB Odds, Pick & Preview: Back Chicago as a Home Underdog (Friday, July 15)

Mets vs. Cubs MLB Odds, Pick & Preview: Back Chicago as a Home Underdog (Friday, July 15) article feature image

AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin. Pictured: Marcus Stroman

  • Marcus Stroman will take the ball for the Cubs as they host Taijuan Walker and the Mets.
  • Walker's numbers have certainly been better than Stroman's this season, but is that sustainable?
  • D.J. James breaks down the matchup and shares his best bet below.

Editor's Note: Friday's game between the Mets and Cubs has been postponed.

Mets vs. Cubs Odds

Mets Odds-128
Cubs Odds+108
Time2:20 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Marcus Stroman will make his second start off of the Injured List for the Cubs against the ailing New York Mets and Taijuan Walker on Friday afternoon. Stroman looked sharp in his last outing. He threw four shutout innings with three strikeouts and only allowed three baserunners against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Walker has been pretty solid, too. In his last outing, he went seven innings with seven strikeouts against the Miami Marlins. That said, he has been lucking out a bit. His xERA is 3.56, which is still solid, but his ERA is almost a full point lower at 2.63. He has been one of the more reliable Mets pitchers lately, but he ranks in the bottom half of the league in Average Exit Velocity and Hard-Hit Percentage.

Stroman ranks low in those categories as well, but that is largely attributed to the injury he sustained, which sidelined him for more than a month. He has looked more like himself in his past few starts.

In addition, the Cubs have actually hit righties better than the Mets have, so that is the edge in this game. Even with the occasional bullpen struggles, the Cubs have value on the moneyline.

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New York Mets: Is Regression Coming for Walker?

Walker has had a trend of falling off in the second half. He has posted a Chase Rate in the top-21% of MLB and ranks in the 74th percentile in Barrel Percentage. In the month of July, the Cubs are now fully healthy and have five batters with a xwOBA over .330. This is not necessarily the best, but they have a few others at the bottom of the order who can battle when Walker remains in the game. Chicago also has four hitters with an average exit velocity over 89 mph, which should be enough to exploit one of Walker’s noteworthy weaknesses. Lastly, the Cubs have a 104 wRC+ over the past month off of righties, which is above average.

The Mets do have a solid bullpen with a 3.24 xFIP over the past month. Trevor Williams is the only Mets pitcher with a 4.00+ xFIP. The rest of the ‘pen has been shut down, but given how the Cubs put together strong plate appearances with righties on the hill, they might be able to push across a run late. This likely is not happening against Edwin Díaz and his sub-0.00 xFIP.

Chicago Cubs: Stroman Looking Better Lately

Stroman has been a bit unlucky. He has a 4.91 ERA against a 4.51 xERA. His Hard-Hit Percentage does hover around 47% with an Average Exit Velocity of 91.2 mph. Many of these numbers have seemed to stabilize in his past few outings, as mentioned briefly above. He still rarely walks hitters and limits barrels.

The Mets lineup has been below average off of righties this month. They have a team 95 wRC+ with a paltry .290 OBP. James McCann is on the IL, but the rest of the lineup is just slumping. They also have five bats over the .300 xwOBA mark, but the rest of the lineup does look similar to the Cubs.

David Robertson, Mychel Givens and Chris Martin look to be good deadline acquisitions for a contender. Depending on how the Cubs do with Walker on the bump, bettors could see at least two of these relievers in the latter part of the game. Stroman only threw four innings in his last start, so he may be on a pitch limit out of the injury gates. Either way, this is comparable to what the Mets can trot out.

Mets-Cubs Pick

The Cubs do have a slightly better lineup off of righties lately and this is the angle to target in this game. Based on Stroman’s recent, encouraging performances, he will be a better starter than Walker. The Cubs get the edge in the earlier part of the game, though they will need to be leading upon Walker’s exit. Take them to +115, though, and play to -110. This game is much more even than the market has shown.

Pick: Chicago Cubs +115 | play to -110

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