MLB Picks: Cardinals Present Value Against Cubs In Wainwright-Arrieta Matchup

Adam Wainwright

Jay Pryce

Friday, August 12, 2016 2:09 PM UTC

Friday, Aug. 12, 2016 2:09 PM UTC

A pair of former NL wins leaders face off in Chicago this afternoon when Adam Wainwright and the Cardinals clash with Jake Arrieta and the Cubs. Get your free MLB pick with analysis here.

St. Louis Cardinals vs CH Cubs 

St. Louis Cardinals (60-55) – Adam Wainwright (9-6, 4.34 ERA)
The Cardinals won all three games in their only visit to Wrigley Field this season back in late June, their first series sweep in the North Side in well over a decade. This trip, they find themselves a game down, losing 4-3 last night in 11 innings following an unusual walk-off walk to Anthony Rizzo with the bases loaded. Club ace Adam Wainwright takes the pill for this one, looking to get St. Louis back to its winning ways.

Wainwright is 13-7 with a 3.97 ERA in 39 career appearances (30 starts) against the team’s long-time NL Central rivals. The Cards, in fact, are 13-3 at Wrigley behind Wainwright in his career, and a perfect 4-0 when taking the first pitch as underdogs in the betting market. They opened at +172 odds at Pinnacle for this afternoon’s first pitch, the second-highest price behind Wainwright lifetime. He went off +180 against Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers in Game 1 of the 2014 NLDS.

Armed with a nasty cutter, Wainwright holds the current Cubs roster to a .244 batting average (50-for-205). Veteran catcher David Ross is the only one owning a .300 average or higher with 10 at-bats or more, going 6-for-18 with three doubles, a home run, and four RBI.

The Cards own a 15-8 record with Wainwright commanding the hill this year, their best mark behind any in the rotation. The three-time All Star has hit a rough patch, though, failing to put in a quality start in his last three efforts. He worked 10 in his previous 12 outings. Earning a loss and three no-decisions in his last four starts, Wainwright has been roughed up for 14 earned runs on 32 hits in 23.2 innings. Fatigue may be setting in for the Opening Day starter, as the 34-year old tossed just 28 innings last season following an Achilles injury.

The OVER is 20-9-1 when St. Louis takes the first pitch on the road this season versus opponents with a .500 winning percentage or better. Knocking in 5.2 and allowing 4.5, the matchups eclipse an average 7.9 total by 1.8 runs per game.


Chicago Cubs (72-41) – Jake Arrieta (13-5, 2.59)
The Cubs are the hottest team in baseball. Since the All-Star break, they are 19-6 overall, returning bettors nearly 20 percent profit at average -175 odds. The staff is carrying the team, yielding a paltry 2.3 runs per game during the stretch. In fact, it has allowed three runs or fewer in eight of the last nine contests.

Manager Joe Maddon taps the imposing Jake Arrieta to command the hill this afternoon. After losing five straight starts, his worst stretch in a Cubs uniform, Arrieta put in a vintage performance last time out in Oakland worthy of his reigning status as NL Cy Young winner. Tossing his first shutout in nearly two months, he baffled the Athletics lineup for three hits in 8.0 innings of work.

Arrieta is 5-2 with a 3.07 ERA in 11 lifetime starts against the Cards. At Wrigley, the Cubs are 6-2, though St. Louis crossed the plate four or more times in its last three meetings.  This includes a 7-2 win on June 22 in which Arrieta left the game in the fifth inning after surrendering four walks and one earned run on four hits.

The current Cards’ roster struggles against Arrieta. They are batting a collective .187 (28-for-150) with Matt Carpenter (1-for-21), Matt Holliday (2-for-20) and Yadier Molina (3-for-21) doing the least. 

The UNDER is 24-10 when Arrieta tosses the first pitch as chalk at Wrigley in a Cubs uniform. He and the pen hold opponents to 2.8 runs per game in this situation. The Cubs have lost five of the last six outright in this spot, however.


Final Analysis
The Cards are 14-8 as road dogs this season, returning nearly 50 percent profit to backers at +135 average MLB odds. They own the best winning percentage in MLB in this situation, and may hold some value here. Arrieta has failed to put in a quality effort in two meetings this year, St. Louis winning each, scoring eight and seven runs respectively. Wainwright, meanwhile, is 2-0 in two starts against Chicago this season, winning both outings by a 4-3 score line. Both starters have the ability to dominate a game, and each has experienced some hiccups over the last calendar month or so, but the price behind Wainwright is too rich to pass up. We’ll play the +0.5 point spread on the Cards through the first five innings at plus-money odds for our free MLB pick.


Free MLB Picks: Cardinals +0.5
SBR Record YTD: 88-61-4 (avg. odds -104); MLB YTD: 27-17-2 (avg. odds +103)

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