Visiting Giants With SU Edge On Cubs For Pitching Aces Contest In Chicago

Swinging Johnson

Saturday, September 3, 2016 3:32 PM UTC

Saturday, Sep. 3, 2016 3:32 PM UTC

The Cubs are steamrolling into the postseason and have won the first two of a four-game set with the playoff-contending Giants. Let's see what the MLB odds makers are dealing on the third game.

Swinger’s MLB Record: 70-43, +25.40 units
When last we dipped our toes into the turbulent waters that is sports gambling, we came away victorious as we backed a sizeable favorite in our MLB picks. Jason Hammel is a high-end pitcher who got rocked in his previous two starts, both on the road. That is precisely why the MLB odds makers did not make him a -200 favorite or higher. We were getting value despite the fact that we still had to pay anywhere between -170 and -190  on Hammel and the league-leading Cubbies in Chicago.

Well, Hammel proved that when he is at Wrigley he is nothing but a stone cold killer and improved his record to 9-1 at home as he limited the Pirates to one run on three hits over six innings of work en route to the 6-5 win. Chicago's bullpen made things interesting which is why I eschew run lines and prefer to lay the juice, as expensive as that may be. So let's roll on after a two-day sabbatical from MLB handicapping and get down on this third of four in the Giants/Cubs tilt this afternoon.


Struggling Aces
The San Francisco Giants are desperately trying to catch the LA Dodgers as they trail their West Coast rivals by two games in the NL West. The only consolation is that if the regular season ended today they would be the top wild card team in the National League, but that is not the goal of this pennant contending club. After two narrow losses to the Cubs, they are hoping to get back on track with the venerable Madison Bumgarner on the hill this afternoon.

Bumgarner (13-8, 2.54, 1.04) has been uncharacteristically uneven in his last three appearances. The veteran southpaw has a 6.35 ERA in those starts but his last outing was the best of the bunch in which he allowed three runs on five hits over seven innings in the Giants' 13-4 victory over the Braves on Sunday.  Thus, Bumgarner will be well-rested for his Senior Circuit leading 29th start of the season.

Jake Arrieta (16-5, 2.84, 1.05), last season's NL Cy Young Award winner, had a brilliant start in which he blanked the Padres over eight innings of work in a 5-3 victory, sandwiched between two highly forgettable appearances. On August 18th Arrieta was rocked by the Brewers for five runs over five-plus innings, then hunkered down with the shutout start against the Braves. But in his last outing got torched for six runs in what resulted in a fortunate 8-7 win over the Pirates on Monday.


Betting Analysis
As the first two games clearly, indicate these are two very talented and similar clubs. Despite the Cubs stellar record, there is not all that much separating the two teams and we are now treated to a matinee in which two of the best hurlers in the business get to try to outduel the other.  

San Francisco's Madison Bumgarner is second in the league in ERA (2.49), No. 1 in games started (28) as well as complete games (4). He is and third in strikeouts with 207and his .212 opponents batting average is fourth in the league. Bumgarner is 7-2 with a 2.19 ERA and a WHIP of 1.04 in 11 career starts against the Cubs. He is also 4-0 in his last five starts against the Cubs.

Arrieta has posted similarly impressive numbers against San Francisco  with an eye-popping 1.60 ERA in five starts against the Giants. This also includes a win in his last start against San Francisco on May 20th when he allowed just one run on four hits in the Cubs 8-1 victory at AT&T Park.

So what do we do with all of this? We have a two elite pitchers who have had some difficulty lately but nothing too serious. We also have two offenses that are fairly equal with the Cubs getting a slight edge, primarily in the most important category, runs scored. The first two games were decided by a run and it could very well be the same thing this afternoon. But I am going to grab the juice instead of lay it with an ace like Bumgarner getting that extra day of rest which could see him have a little more gas in the tank than his opposing number, Jake Arrieta. Arrieta was not good in his last appearance and here's hoping that hangover carries over. Let's grab an ace at an underdog price.


Free MLB Pick: Giants +123 
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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