MLB Picks : Don't Pass on 1st Place Cardinals at Plus Odds vs. Cubs

Darin Zank

Friday, September 18, 2015 11:42 AM GMT

NL pennant contenders clash when the Cubs and Cards hook up for the opener of a three-game series Friday afternoon. St. Louis isn't often an underdog, but it is today, and maybe worth a wager.
 

Cards-Cubs Friday Odds
In the early MLB odds on this game the best line we could find on Chicago with Dan Haren was the -107 offered at Heritage, while 5Dimes was giving St. Louis and Lance Lynn +105. Also, BetOnline was chalking the Cardinals at -120 to win this series, with the Cubs “getting” +100 as home dogs.

 

The Situation
St. Louis just swept three games at Milwaukee this week, completing the brooming with a 6-3 victory Thursday. So the Cardinals carry a four-game winning streak into Friday's series opener.

Chicago, meanwhile, just took three of four games at Pittsburgh this week, winning Thursday 9-6. So the Cubs have won 10 of their last 14 contests.

At 92-54 St. Louis leads the NL Central by five games over second-place Pittsburgh, and by seven games over third-place Chicago.

At 85-61 the Cubs also lead the battle for the second National League wild-card spot by eight games over San Francisco.

St. Louis leads this season series 10 games to six, with the OVERS going 9-6-1.

 

Friday's Mound Match-Up
This pitching match-up is a rematch of a game played 11 days ago, a 9-0 Chicago victory.

Haren (9-9, 3.87), by our strict standards, is only 13-for-29 on quality starts this season, just one-for-eight since joining Chicago in that trade with Miami back in August. Last Sunday he gave up four runs in three innings against Philadelphia, but over his two starts previous to that he held Cincinnati and this St. Louis team to two runs through 12 innings. For the season Haren has allowed 165 hits through 170 innings, walked 25 and struck out 88.

Chicago is 14-15 in Haren's starts, with the OVERS going 17-11.

In two starts this season against the Cardinals, once back in June when he was still with the Marlins, Haren allowed four runs through 13 innings; his teams split those two games.

Lynn (11-10, 3.17) is 17-for-27 on quality starts. Last Saturday he gave up three runs, all on one swing of the bat, through six innings against Cincinnati, while just before that have gave up six runs in less than three innings against this Chicago outfit. On the season Lynn has allowed 154 hits through 156 innings, walked 58 and struck out 153.

The Cardinals are 15-12 in Lynn's starts, with the totals skewing toward the UNDERS by a 19-7 margin.

In three starts this season against Chicago Lynn has allowed 12 ER through 14 1/3 innings; St. Louis lost all three of those games, while two games played OVER.

 

Friday's Batting Splits
St. Louis ranks fourth in the Majors this season against right-handed pitching with a .327 team on-base percentage, and 13th with a .410 team slugging percentage.

Chicago, meanwhile, ranks 13th against righties with a .320 team OBP and 14th with a .410 team slugging percentage.

We'll call this battle of the bats a wash

 

Ballpark Totals Factor
Games played at Wrigley Field this season are 37-30 on the UNDERS, averaging 8.0 runs per.

 

Cards-Cubs Betting Analysis
With most of our handicapping factors balancing out on this game, we feel the betting value resides with St. Louis. So with our MLB pick for Friday we'll back the Cardinals at the underdog price.

Free MLB Pick: Cardinals +106 at Pinnacle