Explosive Offenses Make 'Over' 9 The MLB Pick In Cubs vs. Diamondbacks

Mark Lathrop

Thursday, April 7, 2016 6:22 PM GMT

Our MLB handicapper looks a level or two underneath the hood at this pitching matchup. Read on as he finds the wagering value and makes his MLB pick.

The Arizona Diamondbacks continue their long season-opening home stand with a 4-game series against the Chicago Cubs, who are fresh off of a sweep of the Los Angeles Angels. This game is slated to feature starters John Lackey for the Cubs and Rubby De La Rosa of the Diamondbacks. As will be the case for most of this season, the Cubs are favored heavily in this game and listed at -150 on the moneyline at Bovada. If you want to play the run line and get a run and a half at home, you can get Arizona at -130 at Pinnacle. The O/U total has been set at 9 runs across the board.

John Lackey had the best year of his career last year with the Cardinals at age 37, putting up an ERA of 2.77 while going 13-10 over 218.0 IP. These numbers are not likely to be repeated though, as when you look a little deeper there was a bit of luck, and stellar defense, built into that ERA. Lackey’s runners stranded percentage of 82.6% was nearly 10% higher than his career average. His fielding independent pitching (xFIP) was also a full run higher than his ERA. If I would guess, I would think that Lackey’s ERA will be higher than his career average of 3.91 this year, especially with a move to more hitter-friendly Wrigley Field.

Speaking of Wrigley Field, the historic ballpark has gone under a significant reconstruction over the offseason. Definite upgrades to personal comfort, and luxury boxes, should be found for sure. We’ll have to see if any of the changes effect the usual wind patterns on those blustery mid-summer day games. Either way, this is the reason that the Cubs have opened the season on an extended road trip, to end on April 11th against the Cincinnati Reds.

Taking the mound for the Diamondbacks is Rubby De La Rosa, who’s claim to fame is a very decent fastball and a not so decent platoon split. De La Rosa is very slick against right handed batters, allowing only a .214 batting average against and and carrying a 90/25 K/BB in 2015. Not so much against the left handers, as he allowed a .315 batting average against and held a more pedestrian 60/38 K/BB rate last season. Left handed batters that De La Rosa needs to be concerned about tonight are Anthony Rizzo, Dexter Fowler, and Ben Zobrist. Being at home didn’t help him much last year either, as he put up a 5.23 ERA in 15 games started in Arizona.

Betting Analysis
Both of these pitchers are coming off of rough spring performances. De La Rosa gave up six earned runs and 11 hits on Sunday to Colorado in his last tune up game. Lackey gave up five runs and six hits against the Giants on Saturday. Both pitchers have spring ERA’s of nearly 7 or over this year.

Each team’s offense has not had trouble scoring runs early this season in their opening series, respectively. The Cubs put up 15 runs against the Angels in two games and the Diamondbacks put up 16 over their first two. With each pitcher being a bit of a wild card in this game, I’m looking to the total in this one as the value wager. One or both of these pitchers will give up multiple home runs in this game (ok, probably De La Rosa), so I think the Over 9 at -115 MLB odds is the way to go. Take over 9 runs as one of your MLB picks.

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MLB Picks: Over 9
Best Line Offered: at Heritage