Cubs May Not Beat Dodgers in Game 5, but It Will Be Close

Mark Lathrop

Thursday, October 19, 2017 5:17 PM UTC

Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017 5:17 PM UTC

Our MLB handicapper Mark Lathrop spots excellent line value in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series Thursday night from Wrigley Field as the Dodgers look to finish the Cubs.


Free MLB Pick: Cubs RLBest Line Offered: Bovada

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Los Angeles Dodgers at Chicago Cubs

If MLB oddsmakers have their way, the Chicago Cubs; season will end tonight as they have been placed as heavy home underdogs to the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 5 of the NLCS. The Dodgers can be found with chalk as heavy as -170 over at Bovada. With two quality left-handers on the mound, the line on the total has also been set very low at 7 across the board. That line has stayed steady with slight juice action favoring the 'over.'

Jose Quintana starts the game for the Cubs and has been better since switching Chicago teams in July. His FIP dropped from 4.02 to 3.25 between the 1st and 2nd half of the season. What has impressed me lately with Quintana has been his command. He ran an elite 36/4 K/9 rate in September while giving up just one home run over 32.1 innings pitched. The other thing that Quintana has going for him tonight is his positive left-handed split, as he allowed just a .219 BAA to southpaws all year. His ground-ball rate also improved to 47.2% in the second half of the season, which kept his home runs to a minimum over the last few months.

The Dodgers will counter with ace Clayton Kershaw. He’s a pretty good pitcher, I’ve been told. His numbers in the second half of the season are much worse than the first half; however, his BABIP shot up to .316 over that timeframe from .248. This indicates the variations in Kershaw’s performance are more due to luck than anything. He has excellent command and just a 4.6% walk rate on the road. The only split that is negative with Kershaw in this matchup is a .310 road lefty split over 13.2 innings pitched. I don’t know how much stock we can put into that with that few innings in the sample size.

For me, this pick will come down to line value. I can get the Cubs at home in an elimination game on the +1.5 run line at near even money with a quality left-hander on the mound. As it is an elimination game, I also expect that every pitcher on the roster other than Jake Arrieta will be available for the Cubs to get good matchups later in the game. I’ll be taking the Cubs to keep it close.

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