Dodgers vs. Cubs MLB Odds & Picks: Will Walker Buehler Prevent a Chicago Sweep? (Wednesday, May 5)
Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images. Pictured: Anthony Rizzo
- The Dodgers, as expected, are favorites on Wednesday against the Cubs in a nationally televised game.
- With Walker Buehler taking on Adbert Alzolay, is there value in the underdog Cubs?
- Kevin Davis breaks it down and makes his pick below.
Dodgers vs. Cubs Odds
|Time||7:40 p.m. ET|
The Los Angeles Dodgers are the best team in the league. They are the defending World Series champions, and they are tied for first place in the NL West. The Chicago Cubs are below .500 and fighting to stay out of last place in the NL Central. As you might expect, the Dodgers are heavily favored on Wednesday night at Wrigley Field.
Do the Cubs have any value as an underdog? Let’s take a look.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers are averaging 5.1 runs per game, which is 0.77 more runs per game than the average lineup. In 2020, the Los Angeles lineup led the league with 5.77 runs per game. The Dodgers’ lineup is certainly formidable, but it is missing former NL MV Cody Bellinger with an injury.
Wednesday’s starting pitcher, Walker Buehler, has a 3.16 ERA, and a 3.33 xFIP. However, last season Buehler had similar numbers but opposing hitters had a BABIP of only .198. Eventually, Buehler should regress to the mean which is as a good pitcher but not someone with an ERA below 3.60.
While Buehler averages around six innings per start, the Dodgers’ bullpen has been vulnerable this season. LA’s bullpen has an xFIP of 4.33, which is close to the median MLB bullpen this season.
While the Dodgers’ lineup is indisputably one of the league’s best, the Cubs’ lineup is strong as well. In the first game of their seven-inning doubleheader on Tuesday, the Cubs managed to score seven runs against the Dodgers despite going up against ace Clayton Kershaw. The Cubs’ lineup is averaging 4.61 runs per game, which is the 12th highest in the league.
What is scary about Chicago’s lineup is that many players have not played up to their potential yet. While Willson Contreras and Kris Bryant are meeting their expectations offensively, other Cubs are not. Javier Báez, Joc Pederson and David Bote are all performing below their preseason expectations and should see some positive regression at some point soon.
While the Cubs’ lineup has been a strength this season, their pitching as been a weakness. Despite having one of the better lineups in the league, the Cubs entered Tuesday with the seventh-worst run differential in baseball largely because of their pitching.
Fortunately for Chicago, they have a talented arm in rookie starting pitcher Adbert Alzolay on Wednesday night. In four starts, Alzolay has a 1-2 record with a 4.71 ERA. However, Alzolay also has a 3.52 xFIP, indicating that he has been the victim of bad luck this season. Last season in 21 1/3 innings, Alzolay had a 2.95 ERA and a 3.62 xFIP. While Alzolay averages five innings per start, he should give the Cubs a chance to stay in the game against the formidable Dodgers’ offense. Additionally, the Cubs bullpen has an xFIP of 4.09, which is slightly better than the average MLB bullpen.
The Dodgers are the best team in the league and that is why they are +350 favorites to win the World Series. However, even the best teams frequently lose regular season games in baseball.
The Cubs have a strong lineup and on Wednesday night they have a decent starting pitcher. That is why I like Chicago as a +160 underdog and I would bet them up to +145
Pick: Chicago Cubs Moneyline (+160) (PointsBet) would bet up to +145
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