Red Sox vs. Cubs MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Why Rafael Devers and Boston’s Bats Should Dominate (Saturday, July 2)

Red Sox vs. Cubs MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Why Rafael Devers and Boston’s Bats Should Dominate (Saturday, July 2) article feature image

Via Maddie Meyer/Getty Images. Pictured: Rafael Devers.

Red Sox vs. Cubs Odds

Red Sox Odds-145
Cubs Odds+120
Time7:15 p.m. ET
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

A three-run sixth inning handed the Cubs a 6-5 win in Friday's series opener over the Red Sox as Chicago's bats stayed hot yet again.

Boston will open as -145 favorites again today with rookie Josh Winckowski looking to manage another impressive showing as he takes on Alec Mills. Will Winckowski cool off a surprisingly hot Cubs lineup Saturday?

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Red Sox Bats Look to Stay Scorching Hot

Winckowski has been surprisingly steady for the Red Sox so far this season, pitching to an xERA of 4.18 over 20 innings. He seems to be adjusting well to a starting role as over his last three starts, he has pitched to an ERA of 2.16 with a WHIP of 1.20 while featuring a solid arsenal of pitches. He has managed a notably strong QOPA of 4.69 this season and has induced ground balls 65% of the time over his last two outings.

Allowing no home runs over his last 17.1 innings certainly helps, and while Winckowski is due for regression on that front, all indications show that his surprisingly reasonable results can continue moving forward.

The Red Sox offense has been scorching hot over the last six weeks of play, and has hit to a second-best wRC+ of 127 with a .351 wOBA. Alex Verdugo has been red-hot of late, and he and Rafael Devers should thrive against Mills, who has allowed a batting average of .335 over the last two seasons. This is the highest mark among pitchers who have thrown over 100 innings in that time.

Can the Cubs Survive Mills' First Few Innings?

Over a small sample size of 17.1 innings this season, Mills has essentially been throwing batting practice with an ERA of 9.87 and a shockingly high xERA of 8.24. He has allowed seven home runs in 17 innings so far this season.

Dating back to last season, opponents have a Whiff Rate of just 11% on Mills' fastball, and that is an ominous sign entering a matchup against a Red Sox lineup which has hit to a 19.8 Run Value against fastballs this season.

Mills also throws a changeup more often than any breaking stuff, and the Red Sox have been the seventh-most productive team in the league against changeups this season.

Mills has thrown to a QOPA of 4.32, and while he is obviously going to trend upward moving forward from his incredibly high ERA, he is clearly a below average pitcher. The Cubs will be lucky not to get into an early hole with Mills pitching the opening 2-3 innings.

Chicago has turned things around at the plate over the last month and hit to a 112 wRC+ with a .334 wOBA. The Cubs struck out just 20% of the time in 1075 PAs in June and have become a quietly irritating order to pitch to over the last stretch of play.

Red Sox-Cubs Pick

Boston's lineup has been among the most dangerous in the league over the last two months, and a matchup starting out against Mills isn't likely to change that.

Winckowski has been very steady through his first four starts this season, and it's reasonable to believe he's offering a notable pitching edge over Mills and much of the Cubs bullpen.

A price of -115 for Boston to win the first five innings (-0.5) holds strong value, and I certainly believe we have the edge needed to make a play here.

I also like Verdugo to stay hot and go over 1.5 bases at (+110) as he starts out with a very favorable matchup against Mills.

Pick: Boston Red Sox -0.5 First 5 Innings (-115) | Play to (-120)

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