Cash These Free MLB Picks On The Cubs vs Cardinals Series

Willie Bee

Wednesday, May 25, 2016 11:39 AM UTC

Wednesday, May. 25, 2016 11:39 AM UTC

The Chicago Cubs end a long road trip Wednesday afternoon with their ace Jake Arrieta on the mound as a big favorite on the MLB odds against the St. Louis Cardinals.

25th May
Cubs vs. Cardinals Game 3

By: Willie Bee



Considering how much the St. Louis Cardinals struggled against Jason Hammel on Tuesday night, imagine the fits Chicago Cubs ace Jake Arrieta will give them Wednesday afternoon when the clubs close out their 3-game set.

Chicago took control of Game 2 with a 6-run first inning en route to a 12-3 victory in Game 2 to even the series, putting the Cubs in position to close out their long road trip with a series win in a getaway matinee today (1:45 PM ET). Arrieta and the North Siders are pronounced chalk for the affair, Bookmaker listing them -160 on the morning moneyline. Carlos Martinez is tasked with trying to salvage the series for the Redbirds, MLB odds for the contest including a 7 run total that favors the 'over.'


Martinez Seeking 1st Win Of May
The Cubs are 9-0 in Arrieta's assignments this season, and he looks to become the first NL hurler to reach the 9-win plateau in this one. You have to go back to last July 25 to find the last time either he or Chicago lost one of his regular season starts. He's facing the Cardinals for the first time in 2016, Chicago splitting his four regular season starts against them a year ago, both losses taking place in St. Louis (12.1 IP, 5 ER).

Martinez was a perfect 4-0 in April when he posted a sub-2.00 ERA, but is 0-4 in May with an ERA approaching six. One of those April victories came against these Cubs, the young Dominican going seven 3-hit innings, Chicago's only run coming plateward on an Anthony Rizzo homer. Mike Matheny has been giving Martinez extra rest between starts at times, but he'll be pitching on his usual rotation Wednesday afternoon.


Umpire Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick
I got to watch CB Bucknor work the plate in a 2-1 Texas win at Houston this past weekend, and he called a pretty solid, by-the-book strike zone. But therein lies the rub on the 20-year veteran: He could be way off in Wednesday series finale at St. Louis. Bucknor is 3-3-1 O/U/P vs. the baseball odds this year when he's behind the dish, and his last four appearances at Busch were 'over' winners.

A slight 20%-25% chance of rain is in the St. Louis forecast once again, but the game doesn't appear to be in jeopardy. The thermometer should be in the low-80s for first pitch with a 10-15 mph SSE wind (out to left). Let's get behind Arrieta and the Chicago bats with a run line play for our free MLB pick.

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MLB Pick: Cubs -1½ (-105)
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker
Season: 23-22 (+1.95)


24th May
Cubs vs. Cardinals Game 2

By: Willie Bee



It's victories like Monday night's 4-3 walk-off decision for the St. Louis Cardinals that can spur a team forward and right back into the thick of the race. The same kind of games for the losing side, in this case, the Chicago Cubs, that can send clubs spiraling downward.

Whether or not that will be the case remains to be seen, but Randal Grichuk's walk-off clout did at least give the Cardinals a much-needed victory while sending the Cubs to a 3rd-straight loss for the first time in 2016. Perhaps we'll understand the game's impact a little more when the old rivals lace 'em up Tuesday in front of ESPN's cameras for a 7:10 PM (ET) start at Busch Stadium.

The MLB odds are once again very tight with many shops listing the game close to a pick 'em as Jason Hammel takes the mound for Chicago opposite Michael Wacha. St. Louis is slightly favored -- we'll call it a -110 money line for ease of conversation -- and the 7½ run total at Pinnacle favors the 'over.'

Cubs Seeing Wacha For 1st Time In '16
It's the second time Hammel has taken on the Cardinals this season, and his first effort was a good one with six innings of 1-run baseball on April 19 for a 2-1 victory. That leaves the veteran 2-2 in St. Louis since joining the Cubs a couple of years back, the two wins solid performances with the two losses going in the forgetful column for a 7.28 overall ERA.

Wacha is squaring off against Chicago for the first time in 2016, and he has struggled this month with 16 runs (12 earned) allowed over 14 innings his last three assignments. The former Texas Aggie has made eight career starts vs. the Cubs, plus a relief outing, and is 3-3 with a 4.86 ERA.


Umpire Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick
Jim Reynolds is slated to work the dish this evening, and he's coming off an 'under' winner last week in the series between the Yankees and Diamondbacks to leave him 3-4 O/U on the campaign. The most prominent trend on Reynolds' scorecard this year has been a favoritism towards visitors who are 6-1 when he calls balls and strikes.

There is a slight chance of rain in and around Arch City today, but the forecast calls for most of it to clear out by game time when the weatherman says it will be a very muggy 78º. I do like the Cubs to bounce back, but I like the 'over' better for my free MLB pick.

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MLB Pick: Cubs-Cardinals Over 7½ -110
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle
Season: 22-22 (+0.95)


23rd May
Cubs vs. Cardinals Game 1

By: Willie Bee



A couple of weeks ago, the Chicago Cubs were cruising along with the best record in the majors and threatening to run away from the rest of the NL Central. Well, they still own the top MLB mark and enjoy the largest advantage of any division leader, but the Cubs have definitely hit a bit of a snag of late as they head into St. Louis to end a long road trip against the Cardinals.

The 3-game series gets underway Monday evening with an 8:15 PM (ET) first pitch at Busch Stadium, and the series opener begins with a mound duel between former teammates as Chicago's John Lackey makes his second appearance in St. Louis since signing with the Cubs this past winter, Adam Wainwright serving as his counterpart for the Cardinals.

MLB odds for the affair opened tight and remain that way following overnight wagering with the Cubbies -115 at Bookmaker. It's the first time since a 2012 pick 'em contest against Roy Halladay and the Phillies that Wainwright hasn't been chalked at home. A 7½ run total greets scoreboard bettors, most sports books splitting the juice evening high and low.


NL Central 0-For-5 On Sunday
That the Cubs still on the top record with an MLB-best 29 wins and have a 6-game lead in the NL Central gives you an idea just how hot they were to begin the 2016 baseball betting campaign. Chicago stood 25-6 after play on May 10 and had already pulled off four series sweeps at that point.

Joe Maddon's club has gone 4-7 since then and enter this series on a 2-game skid, the third time in that span the Cubs have dropped two in a row after only suffering one 2-game losing streak the first six weeks of the season. They're not the only NL Central team playing poorly of late with the entire division 20-30 the last week-&-a-half and all five teams losing their Sunday contests.

It's the second time this year the old rivals have met, the Cubs taking two of three on this diamond a little more than a month ago. The series has belonged to the Cards in recent years, St. Louis entering 2016 having taken honors the past five seasons with a 53-36 record from 2011-15. Since the latest rendition of Busch opened in 2006, St. Louis has won 54 of 92 contests, including seven of 10 a year ago.


Weather Could Be A Factor In Series
Coming off a fantastic 2015 with the Cardinals, Lackey is once again defying Father Time with a 3.31 ERA in eight starts, Chicago 5-3 in those games. Take away two rough roadies at Milwaukee and Cincinnati, and the big Texan owns a 1.68 ERA in the other six assignments. He was outstanding facing his former team on this mound in April, firing seven shutout frames and whiffing 11 would-be St. Louis hitters.

Wainwright has had more downs than ups in 2016, tonight marking his 10th start of the season. Despite that, the Cardinals have won his last five starts and the big righthander is coming off his best performance last Wednesday when he pitched into the seventh of a 2-0 St. Louis triumph. Wainwright missed the Cubs back in April, but has plenty of experience against them over the years as he prepares for his 29th assignment vs. Chicago.

Monday's forecast looks fine, the weatherman calling for most clear skies and temps in the 70s for most of the game. We'll be following this series the whole way through, and the next two days look a bit iffy with an 80% chance of rain each day.

So, is tonight when the Cubs suffer a 3rd-straight defeat for the first time in 2016? I'm not betting on it even though their offense has been a bit dormant. My free MLB pick is on Chicago as a small road favorite.

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MLB Pick:  Cubs -115
Best Line Offered:  at Bookmaker
Season: 22-21 (+2.10)

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