The MLB ESPN Sunday night nationally televised game this week involves the heated NL Central rivalry between the Cubs and Cardinals. We are focusing our handicapping attention on the odds trading for run totals.
Cubs and Cards Sunday Night ESPN Telecast
The Cardinals will look to complete a three game sweep of the Cubs today at Busch Stadium. This will be the Sunday night ESPN national broadcast with the first pitch slated for 8:05 PM ET. St. Louis has gone 5-1 at home versus the Cubs this season, and four of the six went over the total. My handicapping focus will be geared toward the total in this game.
Jason Hammel will take the hill for the Cubs tonight, and the right-hander has been very good of late. Hammel has posted a terrific 2.01 ERA and 0.99 WHIP in his last five starts. As a matter of fact, Hammel has been solid all season long, posting a stellar 2.65 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, and compiling nearly a 6:1 strikeout to walk ratio in fourteen starts. Hamels has averaged 6.55 innings per start this season. His opponent tonight has gone 7-0 under the total in 2015 when facing a pitcher that averages 6.5 or more innings per start. Those seven averaged a paltry average of 5.1 runs combined scored per game.
The Cardinals will go with Carlos Martinez on the mound tonight. Martinez is 5-1-1 under the total in his last seven starts with a superb 1.33 ERA and 0.97 WHIP. It must be noted that Martinez endured his worst start of 2015 in his only appearance versus the Cubs. In that outing, he allowed 7 earned runs, gave up 9 hits, and walked 4 in only 3 2/3 innings pitched. However, I don’t feel that’s a concern against a cold hitting opponent like the one he’ll face tonight.
Cubs Offensively Anemic in Recent Games
The Chicago Cubs enter today having scored only a combined 6 runs during their previous five games. They’ve left 19 men on base in the first two games of this series versus St. Louis. The Cubs have also gone 6-1-1 under the total during their previous eight games.
Cardinals Awesome Pitching
The St. Louis Cardinals pitching staff has been unequivocally the best in all of baseball at this juncture. They’re allowing a paltry 2.8 runs per game. As a matter of fact, St. Louis has allowed a combined total of 8 runs during their last six games. The Cardinals are 44-27 (62%) under the total in 2015, and that includes 23-11 (67.6%) under at home.
This NL Central battle tonight has all the earmarks of a low scoring game. The home plate umpire will be Bill Miller, and he’s gone 45-32 (58.4%) under the total in his 77 games behind the plate since 2013. I’ll have a strong lean on this total tonight for one of my MLB picks for Sunday. After shopping all the major sportsbooks for the best value, I’ll be calling Heritage to make this wager.
MLB Picks: Play on the Cubs and Cardinals under 7.0