If you have been off the grid for the last year and just reconnected, things are different. This is especially so with Detroit and the Chicago Cubs, whose betting odds would make little sense.
In fact, you could have been over to Europe for most of the summer and skipped looking at internet and the sportsbooks MLB odds would look pretty weird for tonight's interleague matchup which is part two of this four-game set, this time at Wrigley Field. Continue reading to understand what I mean.
When these two teams last met on June 9-10 in Detroit, the Tigers were still in the wild card hunt and still had thoughts of catching Kansas City. In the events since, Detroit went from a contender to also-ran as the four-time AL Central Division champs are 25-32 since they last faced the Cubs and were sellers at the trade deadline.
Though they remain five games back for the last wild card slot in the AL, Detroit could leave the Windy City in last place in the division with a pair of defeats and the clubs presently below them winning a couple times. The Tigers offense has only tallied 2.9 runs per game in their last seven and oddly enough they are 9-19 in road outings versus a NL team with a team batting average of .245 or worse.
After spending the weekend across town, the Cubs are back at the friendly confines and begin this series feeling invincible. Chicago's nine-game winning streak was snapped by the White Sox, but they are still on a 15-2 move, have the third-best record in the league at 67-49 (+8.7 units) and are within two games of catching Pittsburgh to host the wild card conflict.
Before being locked down by Chris Sale in a 3-1 setback, the Cubs offense was on fire, averaging 5.8 runs a game, making them an easy choice for sports picks during their win streak. If Joe Maddon's guys score, the pitching does the job, ranked fourth in ERA and second on OBP allowed in the senior circuit.
Sanchez vs. Hammel
Anibal Sanchez season has resembled the fortunes of his team, not very good. The Detroit starter is 10-10 with a 4.95 ERA and the last time his earned run average was over four was 2008, when he was pitching for the then Florida Marlins. Sanchez's problems are about as obvious as Caitlyn Jenner in a mini-skirt. Last season when battling injuries, the 31-year old right-hander allowed four home runs in 21 starts. In 2015, after 24 starts, he's conceded a career-high 28, with probably eight more outings still to go. When Sanchez has made miscues, they have been very costly, leading to a 3-6 road record and the Tigers being 14-7 OVER in his starts.
Since injuring his hamstring on July 8th at St. Louis and only pitching one inning, Jason Hammel (6-5, 3.10 ERA) has lost the confidence of his manager Joe Maddon. In the next five starts, only twice has Hammel made it into the sixth inning and was pulled in his last start after only 65 pitches and holding the lead. Clearly, Hammel is frustrated and wants to pitch deeper into contests, but has to regain the respect of his skipper and force more ground-ball outs compared to fly-balls like he has done frequently of late.
Betting Odds and Outcome
The Cubs 36-23 since they last faced Detroit and opened at -170 favorites. By this morning they were down to -155 at Heritagesports, with general concerns about Hammel, who is 3-10 against an AL team with an on-base percentage .330 or worse since last season. (Team's Record)
Nonetheless, this bit of information has me backing the once again lovable Cubs for MLB picks. Home favorites with a money line of -150 or more, having won four of their last five games, with a 54% to 62% win percentage, playing a marginal losing team (46% to 49%), are 58-12 the last five seasons.
Free Pick - Chicago -155 at Bookmaker