MLB Picks: Total Presents Value In Cubs-Athletics Matinee Clash

Jake Arrieta

Jay Pryce

Saturday, August 6, 2016 3:13 PM GMT

A pair of aces square off in Oakland this afternoon when the Cubs' Jake Arrieta and Athletics' Sonny Gray meet. Both have had their fair share of trouble recently and enter the meeting in poor form. Unfamiliarity may rule the day, but a run-fest is likely. Check out our pick here. 

CH Cubs vs Oakland Athletics  

Chicago Cubs (67-41) – Jake Arrieta (12-5, 2.75 ERA)
The Cubs are once again playing like the record-setting team that fired out the gates to begin the year. Limping into the All-Star break with a 2-9 run, they are 14-6 since returning. The staff is carrying the team, this time, around, surrendering a paltry 2.6 runs per game during this span.

Manager Joe Maddon turns to 2015 NL Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta for today’s matchup. Arrieta, who declared he needed the break to recharge, is suffering one of his worst stretches in years. The Cubs are 0-5 in his last five starts, the bearded right-hander taking the loss in three of the outings. Since late June, Arrieta’s ERA has jumped a full point from 1.74 to 2.75, and he’s allowed four earned runs or more in four of his last six starts.

Arrieta is 0-2 with a 4.61 ERA in three career appearances (two starts) against the Athletics. Each start took place in a Baltimore Orioles uniform back in 2010 and 2012, however. He’s faced very few on the current roster. Khris Davis (4-for-19) and Danny Valencia (1-for-11) are the only two batters to rack up 10 plate appearances or more.

The OVER is 10-0-1 in Arrieta’s road starts this year. The lineup supports the ace with 7.8 runs per game in this situation. Arrieta and the pen, however, have allowed four or more runs in five of his last six away from Wrigley Field.

In his career, the Cubs are 23-6 when Arrieta commands the hill as road chalk. Three of those losses have come in his last three outings. At -165 average odds, bettors have returned almost 30 percent profit backing last year’s MLB wins leader.

 

Oakland Athletics (48-61) – Sonny Gray (5-10, 5.84 ERA)
Last night’s 7-2 loss to Jon Lester and the Cubs at O.co Coliseum made is six defeats in Oakland’s last seven games. Despite dropping the game, manager Bob Melvin’s squad is surprising the books on its home turf recently. Since the All-Star break, it is 7-2 as a home underdog, returning slightly more than 70 percent to bettors at close to +135 average odds.

Team ace Sonny Gray, who has failed to find much consistency this season, takes the pill for Melvin this afternoon. The 2015 All-Star opened at +193 MLB odds, the highest number in his career. Books adjusted the number to +175 as of publication, but it is still way above his highest home closing price of +110 in his career.

Gray’s curveball, which made him an elite-level starter, is not so sharp this season. He’s already allowed 18 home runs, passing his career high of 17 last season. His walks are up to 3.4 per nine innings, too, sporting an ugly 1.52 WHIP on the season. The Cubs are not the best matchup to turn his game around. The visitors are 9-1 versus left-handed starters with a 1.50 WHIP or higher, slugging in 6.8 runs per game.

This is Gray’s first time facing Chicago. Ben Zobrist, Dexter Fowler, and Jason Heyward are the only Cubs hitters to face him, going 4-for-12 overall with two doubles.

 

Final Analysis
Although each starter has the stuff to completely shutdown opponents, both have had their fair share of trouble lately. Combined they carry a 6.02 ERA over their last seven starts. With a stiff 15-mph wind blowing out to right-center field, this one might be a run-fest. We are a little concerned that each lineup has seen very little of Arrieta and Gray, and could struggle to pick up pitches, but are confident hitters get to both late in the game. OVER 7.5 (+105) is the free MLB pick.

 

Free MLB Picks: Over 7½ +108
Best Line Offered:at Pinnacle
SBR Record YTD: 89-60-4 (-104 AVG. ODDS); MLB YTD: 27-16-2 (+103 avg. odds) 

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