Dbacks vs. Cubs MLB Picks: 'Under' Betting With Arrieta On Mound

Sunday, June 5, 2016 10:48 AM GMT

A record winning streak for the Chicago Cubs ended the last time ace Jake Arrieta was on the mound. He's back on the bump Sunday in the series finale against visiting Arizona. 

What You Need To Know
The Chicago Cubs have the best record in baseball and are going to win the National League Central Division for the first time since 2008 as they have by far the largest division lead in MLB. Go ahead and mark down the Cubs as the NL's top seed barring a major injury to someone like Arrieta, first baseman Anthony Rizzo or third baseman Kris Bryant. In fact the, Cubs could have six All-Star starters for July's game in San Diego. In the first voting results released, the entire Cubs starting infield of Rizzo, second baseman Ben Zobrist, shortstop Addison Russell and Bryant all lead voting at their positions. Center fielder Dexter Fowler is among the top three in the outfield. All those guys deserve to be All-Stars except Russell. Arrieta could be the starting pitcher, although that's up to NL manager Terry Collins of the Mets -- the managers pick the reserves and all the pitchers.

June 1 was Wednesday this week and that's a good benchmark to forecast the rest of the season. Since the advent of the wild card in 1996, 69 of 120 division winners held the lead on June 1. That said, the last time all three division winners on that date (Nationals, Cubs and Giants this year) went on to win their divisions in the National League was 2003 (Braves, Cubs and Giants). Last year, none of the three June 1 division leaders in the AL (Yankees, Twins and Astros) won it.

But here's perhaps the worst news for Cubs backers, who are eternally optimistic but also always expecting something to go wrong because it usually does: in the past nine seasons, no Senior Circuit team with a division lead on June 1 has gone on to win the World Series. Chicago is currently the +250 favorite on MLB odds to win the Fall Classic.

Arizona already is without injured outfielders A.J. Pollock and David Peralta, and now struggling Yasmany Tomas is dealing with a left knee issue and could head to the DL or to Triple-A with Peralta due off the DL on Monday. The Cuban Tomas, who got a $68.5 million deal in November 2014, looks like a huge bust.

Probable Pitchers
Arizona starts left-hander Patrick Corbin (2-5, 4.96), who is in his first full season back from Tommy John surgery. He has been rather inconsistent. Corbin pitched Tuesday at home against Houston and wasn't sharp, allowing seven runs (tying season high) and nine hits (also tying season high) in just 3.1 innings (season low) in a loss. Corbin threw only 40 of 73 pitches for strikes and said he never felt comfortable. Inconsistent pitching like that from its rotation is why Arizona has underachieved this season. The Diamondbacks are 2-6 in Corbin's past eight starts on MLB odds.

Corbin didn't face the Cubs when they were in Arizona early this season. He hasn't faced them since 2013 -- Corbin missed all of the 2014 season and the first half of last year off that surgery. Thus only a few current Cubs have seen him in a regular-season game. Fowler is 5-for-12 with a double, triple and three RBIs. Rizzo is 1-for-4 with an RBI and two walks. Jason Heyward is 0-for-4.

Arrieta (9-0, 1.56) is in position to repeat as the NL Cy Young winner, although the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw might be the leader right now. Arrieta shut out the Dodgers on two hits in seven innings on Tuesday while striking out eight. But the Cubs lost the game 5-0, which is newsworthy. They had won his past 23 regular-season starts, which tied the big-league modern-day record for most consecutive wins by a team with the same starting pitcher. The Cubs are 10-1 Arrieta's past 11 on MLB picks at home. Arrieta was going for his 21st straight win, but at least he didn't lose. The Cubs were one-hit in Tuesday's loss. The last time they lost a game started by Arrieta in the regular season? July 25, 2015, when the Cubs were no-hit at home by the Phillies' Cole Hamels, who was traded a few days later to Texas.

On April 10, Arrieta pitched in Phoenix and beat the Diamondbacks, allowing three runs and eight hits over seven innings, striking out six and walking none. Those three earned runs allowed are the second-most Arrieta has allowed this year. He also gave up two homers for the only time in 2016. Arizona's Paul Goldschmidt is 3-for-10 career off him with a double and homer. Jake Lamb is 3-for-6 with an RBI. Jean Segura is 3-for-18 with an RBI.

Betting Analysis
There won't be a total set until a few hours before the game when the wind conditions are determined. If it's not blowing out, the likely total here will be 7.5. Go 'under' that. The Cubs will start a new winning streak behind their ace. Chicago is 5-1 in its past six against a lefty. Arizona is 0-4 in it past four against a right-hander.

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MLB Pick: Under 8
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle