MLB Odds & Pick: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Chicago Cubs (Monday, Sept. 7)
Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images. Pictured: Johan Oviedo
Cardinals vs. Cubs Odds
|Cardinal Odds||+155 [Bet Now]|
|Cubs Odds||-182 [Bet Now]|
|Over/Under||7.5 (-118/-103) [Bet Now]|
|First Pitch||4:10 p.m. ET|
The St. Louis Cardinals will try to extend their winning streak to four games against the Chicago Cubs on Monday afternoon.
The Cardinals have been able to pick up three games in the standings and now trail the Cubs by just 1.5 games with nine games still to make up. They’ll send rookie pitcher, Johan Oviedo, to the mound in the final game of this series — he’ll be opposed by Cubs veteran Kyle Hendricks.
When there’s a ballgame at Wrigley Field, you had better check the weather report: 12 mph wind gusts blowing in from left field are expected for this game, which could suggest that runs will be hard to come by.
They’ve gone under the total in three of the four games of this series (with one push). And when you factor in the wind along with the pitching matchup, there’s a good chance the under trends continue on Monday. Let’s find where the exact betting value lies.
St. Louis Cardinals
With three starts under his belt, Johan Oviedo is still in search of his first big league win. His first start was actually against the Cubs as part of a doubleheader — he pitched five innings while allowing two runs on two hits.
Oviedo is very much a heralded prospect in the Cardinals farm system. MLB.com lists him as the 12th-ranked prospect in their organization. At 6-foot-6, the Cuban native is an imposing figure on the mound. His fastball can get up to 98 mph and it probably seems a bit faster to hitters given the release point with his tall, physical, frame.
Thus far this season, Oviedo is 0-1 with a 4.30 ERA and 0.95 WHIP. While he’s allowed seven earned runs in 14.2 innings, I’d expect his ERA to improve over the course of the season and his lower 4.10 FIP suggests the same. Batters are hitting only .173 against him, and when they make contact, it’s only .195.
Per Baseball Savant, Oviedo’s two main pitches are his fastball and slider — batters are hitting .188 against both pitches.
Like many young pitchers, Oviedo has struggled with his command at times as evidenced by his 3.07 BB/9 ratio. This is often the case in later innings as he starts to mix in his other pitches, which are still a work in progress. With that said, he’s been effective in the first inning when the adrenalin’s pumping and his fastballs are darting towards home plate.
Kyle Hendricks rebounded from a rocky outing against Reds to deliver a quality start his last time out. Hendricks went six innings on one-run ball in a dominant 8-2 win over the Pirates. The win brought his record to 4-4 and improved his ERA to 3.78 with a 1.12 WHIP.
Hendricks has already faced the Cardinals once this season and took the loss in a tightly contested 3-1 ballgame. For his career, he’s 8-3 with a 3.00 ERA against St. Louis. With 231 plate appearances, we’ve got a good sample size as to how he’s fared against the Cardinals lineup: St. Louis is hitting .227 against him with a .294 OBP and only two home runs.
The right-hander is a very consistent pitcher and he’s been that way his entire career. His 3.73 FIP is right around his ERA, but more impressively, he’s never finished a season with a FIP higher than 3.88 in his career.
In an era when flamethrowers can get all the attention, it is truly remarkable to watch a pitcher like Hendricks work. His fastball is averaging around 87 mph, yet with his changeup at 80 mph, he’s able to locate and move his pitches through all corners of the strike zone.
The lack of velocity has always made it difficult for hitters to barrel up against him — it’s likely contributed to a fair share of games going under the total. In fact, Hendricks is 104-72-4 to the under (+26.1 units) for his career.
The total for this game opened at 8 and it’s already been bet down to 7.5. Sharps are always watching the wind projections at Wrigley Field, so those numbers tend to move pretty quickly.
However, I’m going to eschew the traditional play on the full-game total and instead hone in on the first inning under.
Much of the data I’ve found supports a low-scoring game, and a play on the first inning works almost as a derivative. I queried both pitchers’ performances in the first inning and neither has yet to allow a run in 12 outings. Our chances improve even more with the winds blowing in. Hendricks is still hard to barrel up and Oviedo’s fastball should play early on.
DraftKings is offering the first inning under at -118, which is too good to pass up in this spot. I’ll lay a half unit that both pitchers make it out of the first inning unscathed.
THE PICK: First Inning Under 0.5 (-118); bet to -125