Sunday MLB: Chicago Cubs at San Diego Padres Pick
The now division-leading Cubs and last-place Padres cap off the “first half” of this MLB season Sunday afternoon at Petco Park (4:10 ET). Which way are we playing this contest with our free daily MLB betting picks?
The MLB Betting Line
Sunday’s MLB betting odds opened Chicago and Jon Lester at around -165 over San Diego and Eric Lauer, with an over/under of 8 runs. Both those figures were holding steady in the early betting action.
The Cubs could also be found “getting” around -110 giving the run and a half on the MLB betting run line.
Chicago’s taken the first two games of this three-game series, winning Friday 5-4 in 10 innings and Saturday 11-6. The Cubs won as -125 favorites Friday, then at -175 Saturday. Chicago also covered against the run line Saturday at a price of -125.
Also, the first two games of this series both played over totals of 8.5 and 8 runs.
With Saturday’s victory the Cubs are 11-3 over their last 14 games. At 54-38 overall Chicago, after trailing Milwaukee almost all season in the NL Central, now leads the Brewers by a game and a half. The Cubs also own the best record in the National League.
The Padres, meanwhile, have lost four in a row and seven of their last nine. At 40-58 San Diego trails division-leading Arizona by 14 games in the NL West, and realistically is just trying to play for a brighter future, somewhere down the line.
This series is the first encounter between these two teams this season. Last year the Padres actually took the season series from the Cubbies four games to two.
Sunday’s Starting Arms
Rookie lefty Lauer (5-5, 4.40), by our strict standards, is only 5/15 on quality starts this season, but three for his last five. Tuesday he held the Dodgers to one run and four hits through 8 2/3 innings of a 4-1 victory, and over his last five starts he’s limited opponents to six earned runs through 30 2/3 innings. On the season San Diego is 5-10 with Lauer, with the unders going 8-7.
This will be Lauer’s first-ever start against Chicago.
Fellow southpaw Lester (11-2, 2.45) is 9/18 on quality starts this year, but 0 for his last three. Last Sunday he gave up four runs through 6 1/3 innings against Cincinnati in a game the Cubs eventually won 6-5. And over his last three starts he’s allowed eight ER through 16 1/3 innings. Nonetheless, Chicago is a very profitable 15-3 with Lester this season, with the overs going 9-8.
In one start last year against the Padres Lester gave up two runs through six innings of a 3-2 Cubs win.
Sunday’s Batting Splits
Chicago ranks 10th in the Majors this year against left-handed pitching with a .258 team batting average, 5th with a .336 team OBP and 10th with a .412 team slugging percentage.
San Diego ranks 23rd against LH pitching with a .232 BA, 29th with a .293 OBP and 17th with a .399 slugging percentage.
We give the Cubbies our baseball handicapping check-mark in the batting splits for Sunday.
The Chicago bullpen ranks 4th in the ML with a 3.10 ERA and 13th with a 1.28 WHIP, while going 27/38 on save conversions.
The Padres pen ranks 12th in ERA at 3.71 and 6th in WHIP at 1.22 while going 26/35 on save conversions.
We’ll give the Cubs a short edge in the bullpen comparison.
The overs are 29-20 in games played at Petco this year, which are averaging 9.3 total runs per, which is over a run per game higher than San Diego home games averaged last year. We get the feeling that figure will fall as this season progresses.
Both these teams have played more unders than overs this season; Chicago 48-42, San Diego 51-44.
Free MLB Picks
The Cubs are 16-6 this year against LH starters; the Padres are 10-20. Also, of Chicago’s 15 wins with Lester this season, 12 have come by two runs or more. Also, Lauer is coming off a career-high 115-pitch performance his last time out, so Sunday might be a good spot to fade him. We’re betting the Cubbies here, and we’ll give the run and a half against the run line.