MLB Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Chicago Cubs (Friday, Sept. 4)
Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images. Pictured: Willson Contreras (40) and Andrew Knizner (7).
- Only 3 games separate the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central Division race.
- The two contenders will each send their aces to the mound on Friday night for Game 1 of a 5-game series at Wrigley Field.
- BJ Cunningham analyzes current betting odds and offers his game projections to help you bet Cardinals vs. Cubs.
Cardinals vs. Cubs Odds
|Cardinals Odds||+112 [Bet Now]|
|Cubs Odds||-130 [Bet Now]|
|First Pitch||Friday, 8:15 p.m. ET|
We have a heavyweight pitching matchup at Wrigley on Friday night as Cardinals starting pitcher Jack Flaherty faces Yu Darvish of the Cubs. Chicago is clinging to a three-game lead over St. Louis as we approach the final stretch of the season. So, this series will be absolutely crucial in determining who will be crowned NL Central champions.
Check out our free MLB odds page, which automatically surfaces the best line for every game.
Advanced Stats Glossary
FIP or Fielding Independent Pitching measures what a pitcher’s ERA would look like if the pitcher experienced league-average defense and luck. xFIP is a regressed version of FIP that adjusts or “normalizes’ the home run component based on park factors.
wRC+ or Weighted Runs Created Plus takes the statistic Runs Created and adjusts that number to account for critical external factors — like ballpark or era. It’s adjusted, so a wRC+ of 100 is league average, and 150 would be 50 percent above league average.
wOBA or Weighted On-Base Average is a catch-all hitting metric with more predictive value than on-base percentage. An average MLB hitter can be expected to post a .320 wOBA. xwOBA is a regressed version of wOBA that accounts for variables like park factors.
BaseRuns is a formula designed to estimate how many runs a team would be expected to score (or allow) given their underlying offensive (or defensive) performance. In other words, BaseRuns is a context-neutral run estimator used to evaluate teams. Major League average for an individual batter per game is 0.50 BaseRuns and a for a pitcher its 0.52 BaseRuns per inning.
Cardinals Projected Lineup
St. Louis’ offense has heated up as of late, accumulating a .343 wOBA and 117 wRC+. However, much of that is due to their 16-run outburst on Tuesday against the Reds.
Paul Goldschmidt and Brad Miller have been carrying the offense this season, as they are the only two Cardinals with a wOBA over .350. The rest of the Cardinals offense has been stagnant, so if Darvish can get by Goldschmidt and Miller, he should have no trouble with the rest of the Cardinals lineup.
Cardinals Probable Starter
Jack Flaherty, RHP
Projected & Actual Stats (via Fangraphs)
Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant) (2019)
Jack Flaherty has been as good as advertised through his first four starts of 2020. He’s put up a 1.93 ERA and 3.43 xFIP in his first 18.2 innings. He has also improved the effectiveness of his three main pitches, each of which has allowed a lower wOBA this season than in 2019. Flaherty led Major League Baseball in batting average against last season, and he very well could do it again this year (0.80 WHIP).
He has a four-pitch arsenal, and they’re all fantastic. His slider and curveball are especially lethal: Each garnered a whiff rate above 40% last season. As you can see in the clip below, Flaherty’s off-speed pitches are almost untouchable.
Jack Flaherty carving dudes up like Michael Myers. pic.twitter.com/4WDLNla5M0
— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) August 29, 2020
The Cubs have hit right-handers pretty well this season, so Flaherty will have to be on point on Friday night.
Cubs Projected Lineup
Chicago is starting to heat up offensively. Over the Cubs’ last seven games, they’ve hit a whopping 17 home runs, which has led to a .342 wOBA and 114 wRC+. Ian Happ has been the Cubs best hitter this year, slugging 10 home runs and driving in 22 runs on his way to a .440 wOBA. Unfortunately for Chicago, Happ injured his eye on a freak foul ball yesterday, so his status is questionable for Friday.
The Cubs have done most of their damage against right-handed pitching, checking in at a .338 wOBA and 110 wRC+. Even though they’ve crushed righties thus far, they’ll still face a tall task against Flaherty.
Cubs Probable Starter
Yu Darvish, RHP
Projected & Actual Stats (via Fangraphs)
Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)
Yu Darvish is finally getting the recognition that he deserves, and for good reason — because he has some of the best stuff in the game. Darvish has a ton of different pitches, but he mainly uses his cutter, which has been really effective this season. His cutter has allowed a .240 batting average and has produced a 36.3% whiff rate in 2020.
Darvish’s cutter has been excellent, but he’s really been excelling with his fastball and slider. He’s allowed only seven hits on 199 fastballs or sliders and is producing over a 42% whiff rate on those two pitches. In each of Darvish’s previous two starts, he’s really put on a show with his slider, which has been literally untouchable:
Yu Darvish, Ridiculous 85mph Slider…Part san. 😳
And pitching with 🔥
10th K. pic.twitter.com/AIYIfC4lCL
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 23, 2020
The one pitch in Yu Darvish’s arsenal that the Cardinals have struggled against this season is the slider, so look for Darvish to utilize it a lot tonight.
The Cubs made a couple moves at the deadline to acquire a couple left-handed relief-pitchers, but it didn’t significantly improve their bullpen. The Cardinals stood firm at the deadline, so the bullpen matchup in this series is basically a wash.
Projections and Pick
This is one of those games that I would wait until closer to game time to bet. If Happ doesn’t play, I would alter the Cubs’ projected odds to -137.
Additionally, the wind is projected to blow 11 mph from left to right at game time. Since wind affects Wrigley Field more than any other ballpark, I would like to wait and see what the wind is doing closer to game time.
If conditions are favorable Friday evening, I would target the Cubs at -120 or better, and I would play the Cardinals at +158 or better.