Jon Lester and the Cubbies are heavy favorites for the opener of a three-game series against Arizona at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley on Friday afternoon.
Diamondbacks-Cubs Friday Odds
As of early Friday morning the best line we could find on Chicago and lefty Jon Lester in the MLB odds market was the -205 at Pinnacle, while Arizona and rookie righty Zack Godley were getting +205 at 5Dimes. And as usual the MLB betting market was holding off on posting a total on this Wrigley Field game.
Chicago just dropped two of three games at home to last-place Cincinnati, losing Wednesday's rubber match 7-4. So the Cubs are 0-3 over their last three series, 2-6 over their last eight games.
At 75-57 Chicago will not catch St. Louis in the NL Central, but still leads the race for the second National League wild-card spot by seven games over San Francisco.
Arizona, meanwhile, just split four games at Colorado, losing Wednesday 9-4. So the Snakes are 0-2-1 over their last three series, 3-8 over their last 11 games.
At 65-69 Arizona, which reached the .500 mark not too long ago, is now playing out the string on this season.
This is the second series between these teams this season; back in May the D'Backs took two of three games from the Cubbies in Phoenix, with two of those games playing OVER.
Friday's Mound Match-Up
Lester (8-10, 3.59), by our tough standards, is 15-for-26 on quality starts this season, but running a bit hot/cold as of late. Three starts ago he got bombed by Detroit for seven runs in less than three innings; next time out he held Cleveland to one run through 8 2/3 innings; but last time out, last Saturday, the Dodgers got him for five runs, with help from three stolen bases, in six innings. For the season Lester has allowed 157 hits through 163 innings, walked 40 and struck out 166.
Chicago is 14-12 in Lester's starts, with the totals skewing UNDER by a 16-8 margin.
In one start this season against Arizona, back in May, Lester allowed just two runs and five hits through seven innings of a game the Cubs eventually lost 5-4 in 13 innings.
Godley (4-0, 1.90) went two-for-three on quality starts back in late July-early August, then made two appearances in relief, most recently allowing one run through 3 2/3 innings against Cincinnati back on Aug. 22. He then got sent back down to the Minors, but will be recalled to start today.
On the season Godley has allowed 18 hits through 23 2/3 innings, walked eight and struck out 22. The D'Backs are 3-0 in Godley's starts, with the OVERS going 3-0.
This will be Godley's first-ever appearance vs. the Cubbies, who drafted him two years ago, then traded him last winter.
In parts of three seasons in the Minors Godley is 20-7 with a 2.63 ERA, and he jumped right from AA ball to the Majors.
Friday's Batting Splits
Arizona ranks eighth in the Majors this season against left-handed pitching with a .328 team on-base percentage, and 15th with a .400 team slugging percentage.
Chicago, on the other hand, ranks 15th against right-handed pitching with a .318 team OBP and 17th with a .401 team slugging percentage.
Ballpark Totals Factor
Games played at Wrigley Field this season are 36-28 on the UNDERS, averaging 7.9 runs per.
Arizona slugger Paul Goldschmidt (.322, 27 HR) missed Wednesday's game dealing with a family situation, and will probably miss Friday's game, too.
On the other side of the scorecard Chicago C Kyle Schwarber (.365 OBP) missed Wednesday's game with sore ribs, and is questionable for today.
D'Backs-Cubs Friday Free MLB Picks
We expect a bounce-back effort from Lester, and Arizona will miss Goldschmidt. We like the Cubbies today, but instead of playing against that big price with todays MLB free pick we'll take a chance with the home team on the run line. Also, if Godley can give six good innings this game has a good chance of staying UNDER its total.
MLB Picks: Cubs -1 ½ (-105) & 'UNDER' 8 at BetOnline