Cubs vs. Dodgers MLB Picks: Ignore Recent Trends & Back 'Over' in Lester-Latos Pitching Matchup

Mark Lathrop

Saturday, August 29, 2015 6:04 PM GMT

We spot a trend that you should not follow, but that could be affecting the line offered by sportsbooks. Read below as we finds the value in this pitching matchup and give our MLB pick.

The Los Angeles Dodgers look to build on the strong pitching performance Friday by Clayton Kershaw against the Chicago Cubs as they took last night’s game 4-1. The Dodgers need to keep winning to hold their 2.5 game lead over the San Francisco Giants in the NL West, as both teams are on mini winning streaks, respectively. With last night’s loss the Cubs extended their recent slide to three games, but are still 4.5 games ahead of those same Giants for the second NL wild card. Either way, this game is important for both team’s postseason dreams because if the Giants overtake the Dodgers it is both of these teams in line for that second wild card spot. The money line MLB odds for this game indicate an even pitching matchup, as the visiting Cubs can be found slightly favored at -107 at Pinnacle. That would make the Dodgers a home dog on the run line, although you will have to pony up -175 to get the +1.5 runs at the same book. The O/U run total can be found at 7 with heavy juice or at 7.5, depending on where you shop.

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Pitching Matchup
Jon Lester get’s the start for the Cubs after a stellar pitching performance his last time out versus Cleveland at home. In a pitching duel Lester was one out away from a shutout, but ended up giving up the one run that tied the game. Although he gave up six hits, his command was excellent as he only walked one batter. That was a welcome sign for Lester as he gave up 3 walks and 3 home runs while giving up 7 earned runs in a 2.2 inning smack down against Detroit the start before. He followed up his worst performance of the year with his best, so who knows how he will respond against the Dodgers. The last time he pitched against them in late June he only lasted four innings, giving up 4 earned runs while walking four in a 4-0 loss at home. At that time, it was Lester’s shortest outing in three years. That is, until two games ago when Detroit knocked him out in the third inning. Still, Lester’s overall numbers aren’t that bad on average and he has posted a 3.44 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 159/40 K/BB rate, and .250 BAA this year over 157 IP.

With a scheduling oddity of having three off days sprinkled around eight games, the Dodgers decided to move expected starter Mat Latos to the bullpen for the last two weeks. With the resulting four-man rotation posting quality starts Latos got zero work and ended up having to throw a simulated game in the Dodgers’ Arizona practice facility. Hopefully he can get the rust off quickly because his last two starts were atrocious. Latos never made it out of the 5th inning in his last two games and gave up 10 earned runs over 8.2 IP. He gave up seven hits and each, but at least he didn’t walk many batters. Sounds like the old adage of being “wild within the strike zone.” Overall Latos is posted a 4.81 ERA and 87/28 K/BB rate over 103 IP this season.

I’m going to take the easy out here and wager that one of these pitchers throws a clunker. With the O/U total still at 7 at a few sportsbooks, I’d jump on this line early. Go against the trend that five of the last five of the meetings between these two teams have gone under. They didn’t involve these pitchers and that is what matters.

MLB Pick: Take 'Over' 7 at +118 at 5Dimes for your Saturday MLB pick.