White Sox vs. Cubs Odds, Preview, Prediction: Crosstown Classic Features Two Teams Heading in Opposite Directions (Friday, August 6)
Ron Vesely/Getty Images. Pictured: Former Cub and current White Sox reliever Craig Kimbrel.
White Sox vs. Cubs Odds
|White Sox Odds||-170|
|Over/Under||9 (-110 / -110)|
|Time||2:20 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Friday morning and via DraftKings.|
When the Chicago Cubs won the World Series in 2016, the White Sox were middling in baseball mediocrity. But in the five years since that World Series, these two franchises have trended in opposite directions. The White Sox are out of the shadows of their rivals to the north and headed back to the playoffs, and are now the dominant Chicago team.
The Cubs sold off four of their best players at the trade deadline last week and are entering a rebuild. Chicago’s two teams meet on Friday afternoon for the first of a three-game series at Wrigley Field.
The White Sox have all but locked up the AL Central, but they’re playing for seeding and home field advantage in the ALDS now. Two consecutive losses to Kansas City see them in third place in the overall AL standings, but ace and Cy Young contender Lance Lynn will take the ball for them on Friday afternoon.
For the Cubs, veteran right-hander Kyle Hendricks is having his worst season as a pro, but despite this, the total is too high and both offenses could again struggle.
White Sox Offense Has Been Sluggish of Late
The White Sox have one of the league’s best offenses, but you wouldn’t know that watching their last two games against Carlos Hernandez, Daniel Lynch and Kansas City. The White Sox totaled three total runs in two games against two bad starters and a mediocre Royals bullpen.
The White Sox perform better against southpaws than righties. They’re just 13th in slugging against righties and rely on lots of balls in play and walks to generate offense. Hendricks doesn’t walk anyone, so the White Sox will need to rely on lots of hard contact to generate offense. The White Sox are 13th in hard-hit rate against right-handers and top five in BABIP, so they haven’t been quite as good as their topline numbers suggest.
The starting rotation has plenty of talent but has featured inconsistent performances in recent weeks. No one has been more solid than Lynn, though, who matches up really well with this weak Cubs lineup. The Cubs already had a high strikeout rate, and that was before trading two of their best hitters in Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo. The Cubs strikeout too much and don’t hit enough hard balls to do damage to Lynn. His 2.80 xERA and 3.08 FIP are among the league’s best.
Cubs Looking at a Bleak Final Two Months
It’s been one week since the Cubs traded Javier Báez, Rizzo and Bryant. In the last week, their offense ranks 23th in OPS, 25th in OBP and 24th in total bases. They’re not a good offense at all and those numbers came against a depleted Washington pitching staff and in a trip to Coors Field against Colorado at altitude. Lynn is by far the best starter the new-look Cubs’ lineup has faced and their league-high strikeout rate is a bad matchup.
There won’t be relief for the Cubs if they get to the White Sox ‘pen, which is arguably the league’s best on paper.
Hendricks is always at risk to give up big run numbers because of the amount of contact he allows, but if he can keep the White Sox from earning free passes, he should keep the White Sox offense under control.
White Sox-Cubs Pick
Before betting any Wrigley Field game, the wind must be taken into consideration, and it’s forecasted to be blowing out 10-15 mph on Friday afternoon. Despite the Wrigley wind trend, the total is too high with this Cubs lineup and an elite starter in Lynn.
I wouldn’t take anything lower than nine, but hold your breath and hope that Hendricks and Lynn keep the ball out of the air.
Pick: Under 9 (-110 or better)