MLB Odds, Picks and Predictions: Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago Cubs (Friday, July 24)

Credit:

Stacy Revere, Getty Images. Pictured: Brandon Woodruff

Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago Cubs Odds, Picks

Brewers odds +115 [BET NOW]
Cubs odds -130 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 8.5 (-110/-110)
[BET NOW]
Time Friday, 7 p.m. ET
TV ESPN

Odds as of Thursday 11 p.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.


Two NL Central Rivals meet on Opening Day as Brandon Woodruff and the Milwaukee Brewers make the trip to Wrigley Field to take on the Chicago Cubs.

The Brewers barely squeaked their way into the wild card last year but lost to the eventual World Series Champions. The Brewers had to make do without their best hitter, Christian Yelich, down the stretch but he’s back and healthy and will be the focal point of Milwaukee’s lineup.

The Cubs were a disappointment in 2019, missing the playoffs for the first time in four seasons. New manager David Ross and the North Siders will try to bounce back in the competitive Central Division.


If you want to know more about BaseRuns and how I use it to build my projections, check out this deep dive on my model.

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.


Brewers

Projected Lineup (via FantasyLabs)

The Brewers had some key departures over the offseason with Yasmani Grandal, Jesus Aguilar and Mike Moustakas all leaving via free agency.

That’s a decent chunk of their 2019 lineup so the Brewers will need Justin Smoak and Avisail Garcia to pick up the production and provide support behind Yelich, who rates out as the second-best hitter in my model.

Probable Starter

Brandon Woodruff, RHP

Projected Stats (ZIPS) (via Fangraphs)

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

If you haven’t been paying attention to baseball over the years, you may not know much about Brandon Woodruff. The 27-year-old should be a household name and he may get there this year.

Woodruff has a lethal fastball that can top out at 100 MPH and his sinker ranks up there with some of the best in the MLB. On top of that he’s got a nasty put-away slider that generated a 29.3% whiff rate in 2019.

It just so happens that the one pitch the Cubs struggled with the most last year was the slider.

Cubs

Projected Lineup (via Fantasy Labs)

The Cubs finished eighth in wOBA, 10th in wRC+ and eighth in OPS (on-base + slugging) in 2019, but even their top-10 offense was a bit of a disappointment. Chicago didn’t do much in the offseason to get better, which could be an issue since the bottom-half of the lineup won’t strike much fear into opposing pitchers.

I project the Cubs for just under five runs on Friday.

Probable Starter

Kyle Hendricks, RHP

Projected Stats (ZIPS) (via Fangraphs)

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Kyle Hendricks is your classic soft-tosser but he’s damn good at it.

Since none of Hendricks’ pitches top out over 90 MPH, he’s a huge change of pace for hitters who are used to seeing 95+ on a regular basis. He’s like a poor man’s Greg Maddux as he can throw all four of his pitches at any time in the count.

He earned his nickname “The Professor” thanks to his incredible ability to randomize his sequence of pitches and keep hitters off balance.

Bullpens

The bullpens are basically a wash, though it’s worth noting that I project that Woodruff will last late in the game, meaning the Brewers will most likely have to rely on their bullpen earlier in the game than the Cubs.

Projections

Based on the current odds, I don’t see value anywhere in this game unless the moneyline or Over/Under moves drastically on Friday.

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