Cubs vs. Cardinals Odds, Preview, Prediction: Two Scuffling Teams and Two Scuffling Pitchers Square Off in St. Louis (Tuesday, July 20)

Scott Kane/Getty Images. Pictured: Paul Goldschmidt rounds the bases after a home run while Keegan Thompson blows a bubble.

Cubs vs. Cardinals Odds

Cubs Odds -105
Cardinals Odds -115
Over/Under 8.5 (-120 / +100)
Time 8:15 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds as of Tuesday morning and via DraftKings.

After entering this four-game series tied in the NL Central standings, the St. Louis Cardinals took game one 8-3 to move a game ahead of the Cubs for third place in the division and back to .500.

It has been a disappointing season for both of these squads and Chicago fans could be in for a rough month as the trade deadline approaches. The Cubs fire sale has already begun with Joc Pederson being shipped off, and it could get even worse with franchise cornerstones Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Javier Báez all subject to trade rumors.

If either of these teams have any hope of turning their season around, they will need to put the other firmly in the rearview mirror and go chase down the Brewers and Reds.

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Cubs’ Offense Has Been Hit-or-Miss, But Mostly Miss

Right-hander Trevor Williams will return to the Cubs’ rotation and make his first start since May 26. Williams missed more than a month recovering from appendicitis and returned on July 6 out of the bullpen to make a bulk relief appearance.

In his first outing since returning from injury, Williams went 3 2/3 innings, and allowed seven runs, although only three were earned. In his 10 starts this year, he has a 5.36 ERA.

Teams have been able to get solid contact on Williams this year, as he’s allowing a 91.7 average exit velocity and 47.5 HardHit%, both of which rank in the bottom 6% of the league. Opponents have a .292 batting average and .373 wOBA against him.

Chicago’s three hits leaders in Bryant, Báez and Rizzo could all find themselves out of the Windy City come August. If Báez is traded, he is certainly doing a great job to increase his trade value. Since July 4th, he is batting .400 with three home runs and 10 RBI in nine games.

Bryant, on the other hand, started the year on fire but is hitting just .200 over the last month. The Cubs’ offense has exploded at times, but overall has been pretty below average. They rank 28th in batting average, 20th in wOBA and 20th in wRC+.

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Cardinals Hoping for More From Oviedo

23-year-old right-hander Johan Oviedo will make his 17th career start and 12th start of the season. Oviedo was the Cardinals’ No. 11 prospect once upon a time and is still searching for his first big league win.

The young pitcher is still looking for his form, posting a 5.09 ERA and allowing a .255 batting average and .343 wOBA. His expected ERA is even higher at 6.12 and his xwOBA is .371, both in the bottom 5% of the league. He has really struggled with walks, allowing a 5.09 BB/9.

During the All-Star break the Cardinals sent him down for another Triple-A start last Wednesday, he went six innings, allowing two runs and striking out eight in the win.

There aren’t many players swinging a hotter bat than Paul Goldschmidt right now. He enters Tuesday’s game with the longest hitting streak in the National League at 14 games. During the streak he is batting .411 with a 1.216 OPS with five home runs and 13 RBI.

As a whole, the Red Birds have struggled at the plate this season, ranking just 28th in runs per game. They sit 24th in batting average, 26th in wOBA and 27th in wRC+.

If the Cardinals are able to take a lead into the ninth inning, they will turn to closer Alex Reyes, who on Sunday picked up his 24th career save in 24 opportunities. The save set an MLB record for most consecutive saves converted to start a career. The All-Star has a 1.45 ERA this season, allowing just seven runs in 43 innings.

Cubs-Cardinals Pick

Both of these teams are very similar. Besides their place in the standings, they each have a red-hot superstar on an otherwise struggling offense. Both teams have talented named in their lineups who have underperformed at the plate.

Both teams have struggled to create runs and are worse against right-handed pitching, and neither has a starting pitcher tonight worth trusting.

I don’t trust either offense or either pitcher, so for me this is a stay-away game at the current price The lean is toward the Cardinals, but I would avoid unless the market drags them down to underdog status, about even-money or so.

If you did want just any sort of action here, ride the hot hand and look at Goldschmidt props. He is -110 to record over 1.5 hits at PointsBet or +140 to record an RBI. He has had a multi-hit game in four of his last five starts and an an RBI in seven of the last eight games.

Pick: Cardinals (+100 or better) | Paul Goldschmidt props (-110 to record over 1.5 hits, +140 to record an RBI)

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