Neither of these teams has done a whole lot this season to inspire confidence this season; but can we wade through the deficiencies and make some winning baseball picks on this series this weekend?
Sunday's Game Three
By: Ron Patrick
The Cubs got this series to even with an 8-2 victory Saturday, putting up crooked numbers in the fourth and eighth innings to back a quality outing from SP Scott Feldman.
Chicago won as a -140 favorite on Saturday’s MLB betting odds, and the game sneaked OVER its total of 8.5 when the Mets’ Rick Ankiel popped a meaningless two-run homer with one out in the top of the ninth.
So the teams will meet for a series rubber match Sunday at Wrigley (2:20 pm ET).
Sunday’s Betting Odds
As of Sunday AM most books were chalking Chicago with Travis Wood at around -155 over New York with Dillon Gee.
Sunday’s Pitching Match-Up
Wood (4-2, 2.03) is a perfect eight-for-eight on quality starts this year, and Chicago, a team that’s seven games under .500 overall, has won five of his eight starts. Last time out Wood held the Rockies scoreless on two hits through seven innings, and just before that he limited the Cardinals to one run through 6 2/3 innings.
For the season Wood has allowed just 32 hits in 53 1/3 innings, walked 17 and struck out 36.
Last year Wood started twice against New York and picked up two wins, giving up just two ER and 10 hits through 13 innings.
Gee (2-5, 6.13), on the other hand, is just one-for-eight on quality starts this season, and the Mets are 3-5 in games he’s started. Most recently Gee got nicked for five ER in four innings vs. the Cardinals, and over his last four starts he’s allowed 14 ER over 20 innings.
For the season Gee has given up 53 hits in 39 2/3 innings, walked 16 and struck out 27.
Last year Gee started twice against the Cubbies, allowing five ER and 16 hits in 13 innings. The Mets split those two games.
Our Take on Sunday’s Game
Wood gives the Cubs a clear edge in the pitching match-up, and the Mets are still struggling to score runs. So in thinking the home team will take this series we’ll add Chicago to our list of free MLB picks for Sunday.
Pick: Take the Cubbies at the -147 offered offered at Bet 365.
Saturday's Game Two
By: Ron Patrick
The Mets took the first game of this series Friday 3-2, getting another quality outing from young Matt Harvey, who also knocked in what proved to be the winning run with a base hit in the top of the seventh.
New York won Friday as a -140 favorite on Friday's MLB betting odds, and the game stayed UNDER its total of seven.
So Chicago is 17-24, New York 16-23 as the teams head into Game 2 of this series Saturday at Wrigley (1:05 pm ET).
Saturday's Betting Odds
In the early betting most books were listing Chicago with Scott Feldman at around -140 over New York with Jeremy Hefner, with the total set at 7.5 runs.
Saturday's Pitching Match-Up
Feldman (3-3, 2.53) is four-for-seven on quality starts this season, but four for his last four. Most recently the former Ranger held the Nationals to one run through six innings, and over his last five starts he's allowed six ER through 33 2/3 innings.
For the season Feldman has given up 32 hits through 42 2/3 innings, walked 17 and struck out 33. The Cubs are 4-3 in Feldman's starts.
This will be Feldman's first start against the Mets since 2008.
Hefner (0-4, 4.61), by our strict standards, is three-for-seven on quality starts this season, but New York is 0-7 in Hefner's starts. Last time out Hefner allowed three runs in six innings vs. the Cardinals, and over his last three starts he's given up nine ER through 20 innings.
For the season Hefner has allowed fewer hits, 37, than innings pitched, 41, but he's also allowed eight homers and his K/BB ratio is at best mediocre, at 27/16.
This will be Hefner's first-ever start against the Cubs.
Our Take on Saturday's Game
We're a bit surprised the line isn't a little closer to a toss up. Feldman has been very good lately, but Hefner hasn't been all that bad. And the Cubs just seem to operate under a little cloud of bad Karma. So for what looks to us to be a closer call than a first glance might indicate, we'll take the underdog and go with New York for our free MLB pick for Saturday.
Pick: Take the Mets at the +135 offered at Bet 365.
By: Ron Patrick
Mets-Cubs MLB Betting Odds
In the early betting most baseball books were listing New York with Matt Harvey at right around for Friday's series opener, with Chicago and Edwin Jackson getting as home dogs.
But TheGreek was listing the Cubbies as -125 MLB betting odds favorites to win this series, with the Mets getting +105.
Mets-Cubs Series Set-Up
The Mets went into a game Thursday in St. Louis trying to avoid a four-game sweep at the hands of the Cardinals. New York had lost six in a row to fall to 14-23 for the season, putting them 6.5 games behind first-place Atlanta in the NL East.
A good part of their recent struggles can be attributed to the Mets bats, which have been held to a total of 23 runs over their last nine games.
The Cubs, meanwhile, just took two of three games at home from Colorado, winning a series rubber match Wednesday 6-2. So Chicago has won six of its last nine games to get to 17-23, which puts them 9.5 games behind first-place St. Louis in the NL Central.
Chicago had Thursday off.
Last year the Cubs took the season series from the Mets four games to two, with the total going 3-2-1.
Friday's Pitching Match-Up
Harvey (4-0, 1.44), with all of 18 career ML starts under his belt, is making a claim as one of the top starting pitchers in baseball at the moment. So far this season Harvey is six-for-eight on quality starts, and the Mets, a team that's nine games under .500 overall, are 6-2 in his starts.
Last time out Harvey held the Pirates to two runs through seven innings, and just before that he threw a complete-game one-hitter against the White Sox, walking none while striking out 12.
For the season Harvey has given up just 27 hits through 56 1/3 innings, walked 14 and struck out 62.
This will be Harvey's first-ever appearance vs. the Cubbies, which doesn't bode well for Chicago. In first appearances vs. teams Harvey has allowed just 24 ER and 60 hits in 87 2/3 innings.
Jackson (1-5, 6.02), meanwhile, is off to a poor start in his first season with the Cubbies. So far the 10-year vet is, by our tough standards, just one-for-eight on quality starts, and Chicago has won just two of his starts.
Most recently EJ picked up his first victory of the season by holding the Nationals to two runs through 5 2/3 innings. But in his two starts previous to that he had allowed 12 ER over 9 2/3 innings.
For the season Jackson has allowed 29 ER and 48 hits in 43 1/3 innings, with 20 walks and 42 strikeouts.
Last year, pitching for Washington, Jackson started three times against the Mets and didn't do too badly, allowing seven ER and nine hits through 19 innings.
In the battle of the bullpens for this series Chicago relievers own a combined 4.11 ERA, which ranks 22nd in the Majors, and converted just 10 of 19 save opportunities, while Mets relievers have been even worse, posting a 4.91 ERA, which ranks 28th, and making good on just four of 10 save opps.
The OVERS might never be out of reach in this series.
Mets-Cubs Betting Trends
New York is 24-12 on the OVER/UNDERS this season, thanks in part to its bullpen and some low total postings.
The totals have gone 13-8 in Cubs home games this year, which have averaged 9.8 runs per.
Our Take on Friday's Game
Harvey is already a tough customer to deal with, and he'll own a big advantage Friday in that Cubs hitters haven't faced him before. Meanwhile, Jackson has been just about terrible this season. So despite six losses in a row we'll go with New York for our free MLB pick for Friday.
Free Pick: Take the Mets at the offered at Bet 365 Sportsbook
Bettors should check back at this page for updated odds, pitching match-ups and free picks for this series over the weekend.