Back The Top-Form Cubs As They Pay A Visit To Struggling Astros

Chicago Cubs Players Celebrate

Saturday, September 10, 2016 2:30 PM GMT

The Cubs won the first of three on Friday night and return this afternoon to battle the Astros once again. Let's review this matchup, as well as the MLB odds, and cash a ticket.

Swinger's MLB Record: 71-48, +21.11 units
There are games you like and games you love that crop up during the long, winding grind that is the Major League Baseball season. I have to say it's highly unusual for a professional handicapper to talk about a game he "loved" that went down in a ball of flames. But that's what we do here because I want my experience, good or bad, to be your experience. I have never purported to have all the answers unlike many in the industry who hide their losses like an addict stashes away his syringes. I try to learn from my experiences and when the dust settles, get a little bit better than I was the day before.

When last we spoke, I loved Texas Wednesday night at a virtual pick'em over the Mariners. I was dead wrong as the Mariners coasted to an 8-3 victory and my brash tweet that the MLB odds makers had this line all wrong wound up causing me to eat my share of humble pie. It happens, and if you believe there is such an animal known as a sure thing in your MLB picks, well let me disabuse you of that notion. All we can do is try to make money when the season is over and it's fair to say we will do that. As of this moment, a $100 bettor is up over $2100 by tailing me this season and that is something that gives me solace when a 'can't miss' play like Texas misses the mark entirely. Let's try again, shall we?

Cubs Cruising Into Postseason
The Chicago Cubs have built what is looking more and more like a super team this season. Their offense is third in the league in runs scored, averaging nearly five runs per game, and second in on-base percentage (.342). Their pitching corps is tops in the league with a 3.09 ERA and their starting rotation consisting of Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, John Lackey and Jason Hammel has combined for a sparkling 2.85 ERA.

What makes this year's iteration of the Cubs even more impressive is that despite having a legitimate closer in Hector Rondon, the Cubs' brass went out and procured the hardest thrower in MLB history in Aroldis Chapman as their new lights out closer. Once Pedro Strop gets back from the DL the Cubs will have the most feared trio of late-inning relievers in the game. The team currently boasts the best record in baseball with a 90-50 record and are 16 games in front of St. Louis in the NL Central. Chicago is cruising into the postseason with their only concern - staying healthy.

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Betting Analysis
Veteran John Lackey (9-7, 3.36, 1.02) didn't look the worse for wear after coming off the DL with a right shoulder strain and allowing two runs on one hit in the Cubs 3-2 win over the Giants on Sunday. Lackey boasts a 2-0 mark with a 1.65 ERA over his last five starts. He will be the next man up in a rotation that has been mowing down opposition lineups with regularity. Last night Jon Lester took his turn and combined with the devastating one-two late inning punch of Hector Rondon and Aroldis Chapman to stifle the Astros' bats in a 2-0 victory.

Twenty-nine-year-old Collin McHugh (9-10, 4.96, 1.51) makes his first career start against the Cubs this afternoon. McHugh has been volatile this season as evidenced by his last two starts. In his most recent appearance, he was lit up for five runs on seven hits and chased from the game after four-plus innings in what resulted in a 7-6 win over Texas. However, prior to that, he blanked the Athletics over six innings in a 3-1 victory.

The problem McHugh will have is that the Cubs can do a lot more damage than a team like the Oakland Athletics. The Astros also have their share of injuries and have now lost three straight. Fortunately for us, we will get the best team in baseball at a reasonable price so let's lay the small number on the road with the Chicago Cubs!

Free MLB Pick: Cubs -115
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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