Impressive Pitching Signal Safe Bet For The Under When Cubs Visit Dodgers

Jon Lester

Sunday, August 28, 2016 2:18 PM GMT

It's rare when Los Angeles tosses the first pitch as underdogs at Dodger Stadium, but that's the case on Sunday afternoon when Brock Stewart squares off against Jon Lester and Cubs. Get your free MLB pick here.

Chicago Cubs (82-46) – Jon Lester (14-4, 2.81 ERA)
The Cubs' 3-2 loss to the Dodgers on Saturday was rare. In the last 30 days, the NL Central leaders are 22-6 overall. They're winning by a 2.3 run margin, beating the point spread in 20 of the victories for a 44 percent return to investors at -101 average MLB odds.

Manager Joe Maddon turns to Jon Lester to keep the hot run going on Sunday afternoon. The four-time All-Star is dealing of late, yielding just six earned runs over his last 25 2/3 innings. His 2.81 ERA entering Dodger Stadium is the lowest since July 3.

The Cubs are 19-6 when Lester takes the bump this season, their best record behind any in the rotation with more than two starts. The southpaw and relief allow 3.3 runs on 7.7 hits per game, holding teams to three runs or fewer in all but one of the last seven games. Lester has put in a quality start in all but one too.

Lester is 2-2 with a 3.76 ERA in four career starts against the Dodgers. He's shut down the current team roster to a collective .144 batting average (16-for-111). Utility infielder Enrique Hernandez is the only player with a .250 mark or better (.300, 3-for-10) with more than five plate appearances.

Will bettors see a lot of runs in this matchup? The OVER is 10-3 when Lester commands the hill as road chalk in a Cubs uniform. The lineup supports the veteran southpaw with 6.0 runs per game when expected to win away from Wrigley.

Los Angeles Dodgers (72-57) – Brock Stewart (0-2, 11.25 ERA)
Los Angeles., 41-26 at Dodger Stadium this season, will toss the first pitch as home underdogs for just the sixth time all year. Opening at +148 odds, it's the highest number bettors have seen since June 2013.

What's the reason behind the big price? Manager Dave Roberts sends long reliever Brock Stewart to the hill for the “optioned” Kenta Maeda, who is scheduled to return Monday after shuttling out to Rookie Ball. It was a procedural move taking advantage of a rule to allow the Dodgers to have an extra arm; there's nothing wrong with the Japanese rookie sensation.

Stewart has bounced back and forth between Triple-A Oklahoma City and the Dodgers this season, serving as a fresh option in the bullpen when needed. He's worked two starts in the process and didn't fair too well in either. He allowed five earned runs on eight hits in five innings in a 7-0 defeat to the Brewers on June 29 in his MLB debut and gifted nine earned on 10 hits in four frames in the thin air of Colorado his second time out, dropping a 12-2 decision to the Rockies on August 3.

Crossing the plate 4.5 times per game, Roberts' squad has struggled a bit against left-handed starters, scoring just 3.8 on 7.8 hits per matchup. L.A. is 15-17 versus southpaws. Nearly half of these wins have come as high-priced chalk, where they are 7-1 at -170 odds or higher. It is 8-15 otherwise, losing a little more than 33 percent to investors at -109 average odds.

The OVER is 5-0 when the Dodgers take the field as a home dog. They've scored 5.8 runs per game and allowed 4.6 in this situation.

Final Analysis
The UNDER is 40-9-1 when L.A. scores fewer than six runs at Dodger Stadium this season. Most of these come with a victory but is still 15-8-1 in defeat. Lester is pitching the best he has all season and is expected to keep the score down. A Cubs win seems like a shoe-in, and a run-line bet would be the best option if playing Chicago, but we're passing on the side and sticking to the total.

Stewart has MLB quality stuff and has yet to roll out a start at the pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium. He could improve, and for this, the UNDER 8.5 runs look the safer option. But if he doesn't the big-hitting Cubs lineup will likely handle the game total on their own. UNDER 8.5 runs is the free MLB pick.

Free MLB Pick: Under 8.5 -110
Best Line Offered: at SportsInteraction

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