Fade Cubs' Steep Odds & Grab The Over In Inter-league Matchup Against Rangers

CH Cubs

Jay Pryce

Friday, July 15, 2016 1:53 PM GMT

The Rangers and Cubs each own two of the best records in baseball, but limped into the All-Star break. Check out our pick for the first of a three-game series in this thrilling interleague matchup. 

Texas Rangers (54-36) – Martin Perez (7-5, 3.85 ERA)
Texas is hoping to catch fire as they did last season after the All-Star break, going 46-28 to end the regular season and capture the AL West crown. They need to turn their recent fortunes around quickly. Owning the best record in the American League, the Rangers are just 3-9 in their last 12 games.

Opponents shelled the staff during this stretch for 8.2 runs on 11.9 hits per game. Martin Perez, commanding the hill for manager Jeff Banister this afternoon, is the only one in the rotation to put in a quality start in this span—a 3-2 win against the Twins two outings ago, in which the southpaw gave up two earned runs on five hits in seven frames.

Perez has never faced the Cubs. Giving his road efforts this season, it may be a rough first meeting. The left-hander is just 1-4 with a 5.23 ERA in nine starts away from Arlington. In addition, the Cubs pound southpaws this year, going 20-10 with 5.1 runs per game against left-handed starters. The roster has slugged 28 home runs in these efforts.

Texas is 3-9 SU when Perez goes off a road dog of +130 or higher, losing the last six straight. Although he and the pen yield just 4.8 runs per contest in this spot, the lineup has aided with just 2.8 of their own.

The Rangers dropped a three-game series to the Cubs one game to two the last time they visited Wrigley Field back in 2013. They are 6-2 in interleague play this season versus the NL Central, besting the Pirates at home 2-1, sweeping the Cardinals 3-0 at Busch Stadium, and splitting two with the Reds in late June.

 

Chicago Cubs (53-35) – Kyle Hendricks (7-6, 2.55 ERA)
Like Texas, the Cubs are hoping to duplicate their post-All Star run in 2015 where they went 50-25 to wrap up the season and win a wild-card spot. After a hot start to 2016, winning 25 of their first 31 games, the team has been in a tailspin over the last month. Since June 20, manager Joe Maddon’s men are 6-15 SU, allowing 6.1 runs per game against.

Kyle Hendricks is tapped this afternoon to lead Chicago back to its winning ways. The team is 9-7 in the sinkerballer’s starts this year but has picked up a W in his last four outings.

Like Perez, Hendricks has never faced today’s opponent, but unlike his counterpart has been lights out at home. The right-hander is 5-1 with a 1.67 ERA and 0.81 WHIP in eight outings at Wrigley this season. In fact, the Cubbies are 22-9 lifetime when Hendricks is on the bump in the North Side.

Chicago is 24-2 at Wrigley this year when crossing the plate for four runs or more. Winning by 3.4 runs per contest, they are 20-6 against the point spread at average MLB odds of +102, returning bettors a hefty 58 percent profit.

 

Final Analysis
The OVER is 18-3 in the Rangers’ last 21 games against a team that scores more runs, yet gives up fewer than them on the season, like the Cubs. Going off a dog in all but five games, Bannister’s squad has gotten to the opponent’s rotation, averaging 5.4 runs per game. Likewise, run-producing teams have put up their fair share against Texas’ arms. The wind, which makes playing totals at Wrigley so finicky is projected to blow in from left at about 10 miles per hour. This may keep the number down when totals are released later in the morning. 

We like the Cubs to win, but the odds at the different sportsbooks are way too steep and actually offer value on the Rangers. Moreover, a run-line play backing Hendricks is out of the question if mother nature helps keeps runs down. The way the two staffs are operating over the last two weeks, we'll make OVER our MLB pick, but are keeping it light with so much uncertainty.

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SBR Record YTD: 85-54-4 (avg. odds -104); MLB YTD: 23-10-2 (avg. odds +104)
Free MLB Pick: OVER