Cubs vs. Indians Odds & Pick (Tuesday, August 11): Back Lester and Chicago in High-Scoring Affair

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Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images. Pictured: Starting pitcher Adam Plutko #45 of the Cleveland Indians

  • Check out our betting preview for Tuesday night's MLB matchup between the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians.
  • Find odds, predictions and a pick for the game below, including why BJ Cunningham is backing the Cubs as underdogs.

Cubs vs. Indians Odds 

Cubs Odds +130 [Bet Now]
Indians Odds -150 [Bet Now]
Over/Under 8 (-120/-103) [Bet Now]
First Pitch 7:10 p.m. ET 

Odds as of Tuesday at 7 a.m. ET and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


After getting the weekend off due to the Cardinals’ COVID situation, the red-hot Cubs look to extend their lead in the NL Central as they head to Cleveland for a 2016 World Series rematch. Cleveland is trailing Minnesota by one game in the AL Central, so this series is vitally important if it wants to keep pace.

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.

Cubs

Projected Lineup (via Fantasy Labs)

The Cubs were hot before their season came to halt over the weekend. They rank fourth in MLB with a .331 wOBA and 114 wRC+. They’ve been doing most of their damage against right-handed pitching too, hitting 16 of their 19 home runs against righties. Plutko is a really weak right-handed pitcher, so the Cubs set up really well against him on Tuesday.

Cubs Projected Starter

Jon Lester, LHP

Projected Stats (ZIPS) (via Fangraphs)

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Lester is starting to fall off a cliff as he gets into his late 30s. He’s posted an xFIP over 4 the past two seasons. So far through his first two starts this season he’s been great on paper with 0.82 ERA. However, his xFIP is 5.53, meaning he’s been really lucky.

Lester primarily goes between his fastball and cutter and has fantastic movement on both. However, he’s been getting shelled the past few years, allowing wOBAs well over .300 against both of those pitches. Even if Lester is on the back end of his career, he matches up well against the Indians on Tuesday.

Cleveland has been struggling versus both fastballs and cutters so far this season. The Indians also were middle-of-the-road against left-handed pitching in 2019, so Lester should be fairly effective on Tuesday.

Indians

Projected Lineup (via Fantasy Labs)

The Indians offense has been pretty anemic to being the season, ranking 28th in MLB with a .279 wOBA and 76 wRC+. It has struggled mightily against fastballs, sliders and cutters so far, ranking in the bottom-half of MLB against all of those pitches.

The biggest issue for the Indians has been the bottom of their lineup not producing. Their top four hitters have combined for 60 of their 97 hits for the season. That has lead to the bottom of their lineup hitting .125 through their first 17 games.

Indians Projected Starter

Adam Plutko, RHP

Projected Stats (ZIPS) (via Fangraphs)

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Adam Plutko is a really weak righty who has been going back and forth between the minors and majors for the last four years. He’s never had much success in MLB as he has a 5.47 xFIP for his career.

His fastball has below average velocity and hitters tagged it all over the park in 2019 to the tune of a .358 wOBA. He didn’t generate many swings and misses on it either with only a 16.4% whiff rate last season.

Plutko has been prone to also giving up the long ball on one too many occasions. He has a career HR/9 rate of 2.11, which is the highest I’ve seen for a pitcher who has pitched almost 200 innings in the big leagues. The Cubs already have 19 home runs in their first 13 games, so Tuesday is going to be a bad matchup for Plutko.

Bullpens

Despite their challenges at the plate, Cleveland has one of the best bullpens in the AL and with Monday being an off day, the pen should be fully rested.

The Cubs bullpen is most likely going to be their Achilles heel all season long. It has the fourth-worst xFIP in baseball to start the season, so the Indians have the advantage in the bullpen department for this series.

Projections and Picks

In my opinion, having Plutko as a -150 favorite is bananas against any team, let alone one of the best offenses in baseball. Also, with these two starting pitchers, I think this game will be high scoring.

I will be backing the Cubs and Lester at +130 and would bet it all the way down to +102. I also will be backing Over 8 runs at -120.

Picks: Cubs +130 & Over 8 runs (-120) [Bet now at Bet Rivers and get $250 FREE with your deposit]

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