Cubs vs. Brewers Odds & Picks: Bet On Milwaukee Against Chicago’s Hapless Offense
Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Luis Urias and Manny Pina.
- The Cubs have had one of the worst offenses in baseball in the early days of the season.
- The Brewers looked impressive in taking a series from the Cardinals over the weekend.
- Tanner McGrath breaks down their Monday night matchup and makes his prediction.
Cubs vs. Brewers Odds
|Time||7:40 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Sunday evening and via BetMGM.|
The Cubs and Brewers are heading in very different directions entering this series.
The Cubs just dropped two of three to the lowly Pirates, somehow losing the last two games by a combined score of 15-3. The Cubs have lost four of five overall and their offense has been pathetic.
Meanwhile, the Brewers have picked it up recently. After starting the year 1-3, Milwaukee has won four of its last five, including two games against a reinvigorated Cardinals team.
Can the Cubs bounce back and get back on track? Or will the Brewers continue to roll in this one?
Let’s dig deeper into this series and see where the value lies.
The Cubs’ offense has been absolutely pathetic early on.
The Cubs have scored just nine runs in their past five games, and currently average the second-fewest runs per game in baseball. Even worse, the Cubs actually have the lowest batting average in the league.
Moreover, the Cubs currently rank 27th in OPS (.604), 26th in wOBA (.270) and 29th in wRC+ (70). The Cubs can’t buy a run this season, which is why the team is just 2-7 to the over through their first nine games.
The Cubs’ lineup has been bad, but they’ve also gotten unlucky. The Cubs currently sport a .199 BABIP, which is by far the lowest in the league. And while they don’t produce a lot of hard-hit contact (36.8%), they are 133th in the league in barrel percentage, at 8.0%, per Baseball Savant.
Either way, Chicago fans have been ripping their hair out watching the Cubs attempt to hit in 2021. It’s been particularly bad for guys like Willson Contreras and Joc Pederson, who both sport xBA in the bottom-3% of the league, per Baseball Savant.
If that continues, they’ll be relying on starting pitcher Adbert Alzolay to carry the load on Monday.
Starting Pitcher: Adbert Alzolay
Alzolay has been one of the top pitching prospects in the Cubs’ system for a few years now. He has slowly worked his way up to the show and has had a number of quality starts since 2019.
Last week against the Brewers was not one of them. He allowed four runs on four hits and two walks over five innings. Of course, the Cubs provided no run support and Alzolay suffered the loss in his season debut.
However, that shouldn’t take away from Azolay’s stellar 2020 season and his strengths. Last season, he ranked in the 90th percentile or better in xBA, xSLG, and strikeout rate. He also posted a 2.95 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP in 21 1/3 big league innings.
Opposite of the Cubs, the Brewers are starting to hit the ball well.
Milwaukee’s scored 27 runs in the past five games and have posted a +14 run differential in that time. The Brewers’ overall numbers are still lagging behind due to a slow start, but the Brewers are beginning to show life again.
Of course, as soon as the Brewers start to hit again, Christian Yelich gets injured. Luckily, it’s just back soreness and he’s day-to-day, but I would monitor his status as we get closer to Monday night’s first pitch.
I hesitate on playing the Brewers because of their struggles with right-handed pitching. Against righties, Milwaukee posted a 96 wRC+ in 2019 and an 84 wRC+ in 2020. So far this season, the Brewers have been similarly bad against that side.
However, the past few games have alleviated some of the worries. The Brewers teed off on righties Daniel Ponce de Leon and Carlos Martínez, and Milwaukee fans are hoping they can continue this hot streak.
Starting Pitcher: Freddy Peralta
Peralta is a very serviceable pitcher both as a starter and out of the bullpen.
So far this year, Peralta has pitched seven scoreless innings and has allowed just three total hits.
Peralta is a strikeout machine. He has a lifetime 12.3 strikeouts per nine innings and posted a career-high of 14.4 last season. He’s also struck out 14 guys through his seven innings this season.
However, he also walks a lot of guys, as he finished in just the fourth percentile among qualified pitchers in walk rate last season, per Baseball Savant.
Either way, the advanced statistics love his aggressive approach. Peralta finished above the 80th percentile in xERA, xBA, xSLG and xwOBA, while also finishing in the 82nd percentile in hard hit percentage against.
Look for Peralta to throw mainly a four-seam fastball while mixing in a curveball and the rare slider. Peralta’s average velocity on the fastball this season is 94.5 mph, which would be the highest of his career.
At the time of this writing, I played the Brewers moneyline at -135 on BetMGM. Based on a few, very simple factors:
First, I’m riding the hotter offense. I keep thinking the Cubs’ lineup will see some positive regression, but the bats continue to stay cold. Meanwhile, it’s actually the Brewers that have witnessed that regression, and I think their bats stay hot as they return for this homestand.
Second, Peralta’s actual and expected numbers this season have been fantastic, and I’m hoping he continues to see his fastball velocity increase over the course of this season. I like him to continue this streak against a hapless Cubs’ offense.
Finally, we’re noticing some big money coming in early on the Brewers. While I expect those numbers to change dramatically as we get closer to first pitch, I’ll happily side with the sharp money now.
However, I would be cautious playing the Brewers at anything worse than -140.
Pick: Brewers -135 (Play to -140)
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