MLB Odds, Picks & Predictions: Brewers vs. Cubs (Thursday, August 13)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images. Pictured: Yu Darvish
- The Milwaukee Brewers take on the Chicago Cubs on Thursday at Wrigley Field. First pitch is set for 7:15 p.m. ET.
- Yu Darvish will start for Chicago. He is 1-2 with a 2.32 ERA in six starts against the Brewers, and Michael Arinze expects he'll help the Cubs hold onto an early lead.
- Read Arinze's full betting preview for Brewers vs. Cubs below.
Milwaukee Brewers vs. Chicago Cubs Betting Odds
|Brewers Odds||+155 [Bet Now]|
|Cubs Odds||-177 [Bet Now]|
|Over/Under||8.5 (-108/-110) [Bet Now]|
|First Pitch||7:15 p.m. ET|
The Chicago Cubs look to stay hot as they welcome in the Milwaukee Brewers to Wrigley Field for a four-game series.
Winners of two in a row and eight of their last ten games, the Cubs have jumped out to a 12-3 (.800) record which is the best in the big leagues.
The Cubs began their season at home against the Brewers and won two out of those three games.
Since that series, both teams have seemingly gone in opposite directions, as Milwaukee has struggled to find consistency early on. The Brewers have managed only one winning streak (two games) this season and facing a red-hot Cubs team won’t make things any easier for them.
Chicago has already raked in 8.05 units for their backers this season and I’m not sure I’m willing to step in front of this Cubs money train just yet.
Milwaukee will look to starter Brett Anderson to try to tame the Cubs on Thursday night. This season, Anderson is 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA and 1.65 WHIP. He’s made three starts against the Cubs in his career and has had success, going 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA.
At the start of the season Anderson dealt with a blister on his finger which kept him sidelined for almost two weeks. In two starts this year, he’s been unable to pitch into the fifth inning, and one has to wonder if the nagging blister injury has fully healed.
Per Baseball Savant, Anderson throws five pitches: sinker (56.7%), changeup (18.3%), four-seamer (12.5%), slider (8.3%) and curveball (4.2%).
While it’s still early in the season, he’s actually throwing his sinker much more than in recent years (31.2% in 2018) but with less success. Batters are hitting .333 off the sinker compared to .253 in 2018.
It’s certainly something to watch moving forward because it’s possible that the blister is impacting his pitch selection, thus forcing him to be more reliant on his sinker.
The Brewers will be opposed by Yu Darvish in the opening game of the series. Darvish is 2-1 with a 2.12 ERA this season. His first start this season was against the Brewers, where he gave up three runs in four innings as Milwaukee won, 8-3.
For his career, Darvish is 1-2 with a 2.32 ERA in six starts against the Brewers.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been overly critical of Darvish in the past. However, a closer look at his numbers this season tells me that perhaps it’s time I dispelled with my bias. For one, Darvish is walking much fewer hitters (1.06 BB/9) than he has the past. In 2018 he was averaging 4.72 walks per nine innings. And in three outings this season he’s also yet to surrender a home run.
When Darvish came to the majors he was most known for his wipeout split-finger pitch. Yet over the last few years, he’s lost the feel of that pitch and the fact that he’s thrown it only 2% of the time this season is a good thing.
Darvish is throwing his cutter almost 12% more this season (48%) than he did last year, and batters are hitting just .172 with a .211 expected batting average (XBA). This means that even if a batter makes contact with the pitch, it’s likely to only result in a hit 21% of the time. This improvement makes me think that Yu Darvish just might be settling in to a nice little groove.
The sharps have seemingly been betting the Brewers this entire season. They kept me off the game last night against the Twins as another Japanese right-hander, Kenta Maeda, mowed Milwaukee down in a 12-2 loss.
Today, I’ll be sticking with my guns and will look to back the Cubs at home in this divisional matchup. This is a great revenge spot for Darvish and I think he’ll make the necessary adjustments this time around. Milwaukee’s lineup is hitting only .204 against Darvish with a .316 slugging percentage and six RBIs in 98 at-bats.
In 115 plate appearances, Darvish has issued 16 walks to Milwaukee hitters, but I think our analysis shows that the Cubs right-hander is unlikely to be as charitable this time around.
I think Anderson will continue to struggle in this game and it’s likely that he won’t be able to go deep since he’s yet to get stretched out. And that blister continues to be a concern for me because of how often they can resurface.
The Cubs bullpen, with Craig Kimbrel at the back end, still worries me, so I’ll swallow the juice and put my trust in Darvish on the moneyline (-154) for the first five innings at BetMGM.
Let’s hope that facing back-to-back Japanese pitchers, with nasty stuff, proves to be too much for this Brewers team to handle.
The PICK: Cubs First 5 Innings Moneyline (-154, play up to -165)