The Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals will wrap up their weekend rivalry series at Busch Stadium on Sunday afternoon. With that said, it’s a good time to check out our MLB odds series, which includes a Cubs-Cardinals prediction and pick, laid out below.
Chicago has fallen from the heights of their 2016 World Series championship, and the fanbase hopes that this season is rock bottom. The team is 56-77, third place in a weak NL Central, trailing the division lead by an astounding 22 games. The Cubs have no hope at a playoff berth, playing out the string of 2022 while looking forward to the future.
St. Louis is in a whole different position than Chicago, sitting atop the NL Central with a 78-55 record. The team has won three games in a row, and is seven-and-a-half games ahead of the second-place Milwaukee Brewers. A strong pitching staff has been bolstered by a dominant top half of their lineup.
Here are the Cubs-Cardinals MLB odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
MLB Odds: Cubs-Cardinals Odds
Chicago Cubs: +1.5 (-137)
St. Louis Cardinals: -1.5 (+114)
Over: 7.5 (-104)
Under: 7.5 (-118)
Why The Cubs Could Cover The Spread
Chicago will send Marcus Stroman to the mound, its biggest offseason pickup. Stroman has been solid yet unspectacular for the Cubs, with a 3.98 ERA in his 19 starts. He’s thrived of late, though, with a 3.38 ERA in his last seven starts. Something interesting to note: Stroman has upped his slider usage ever so slightly by about three percent, holding batters to a .221 batting average against it. While that is nearly a .040 point uptick from last season, the increased slider usage has improved the results on Stroman’s sinker. Batters have hit just .231 against the sinker, down from nearly a .300 clip last season.
Chicago’s bullpen has been abysmal, and lefty Brandon Hughes is one of the few strong relievers left after his team’s deadline sell-off. Hughes has pitched to a 2.96 ERA in 45.2 innings with 59 strikeouts in his rookie season. Mark Leiter, Jr. has been great out of the bullpen, but only used sparingly. In his 43 innings, Leiter has registered a 2.72 ERA with 49 strikeouts.
Chicago’s offense has certainly taken a step back in recent years, compounded by the losses of Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant. Patrick Wisdom leads the team with 22 home runs and 51 walks, adding 25 doubles. Outfielder Ian Happ, who was not expected to be on the roster at this point, has enjoyed a career year, leading the team with 36 doubles,, hitting 15 home runs and batting .278. Happ was rewarded with his first All-Star nod, and has been worth 3.9 WAR, according to Baseball Reference.
Willson Contreras, another unexpected part of the roster, has turned in a vintage season, with 21 home runs, 22 doubles and a team high .471 slugging percentage. Christopher Morel has impressed in his rookie season, belting 13 home runs and stealing nine bases in 88 games. Nico Hoerner leads the team with a .283 batting average and 16 stolen bases, adding 19 doubles. Seiya Suzuki has been a hit in his first stateside season, with 10 home runs and 21 doubles in 93 games.
Why The Cardinals Could Cover The Spread
Miles Mikolas will take the ball for St. Louis, with an even 10-10 record and a 3.48 ERA in his 27 starts. Mikolas has pretty average fastball velocity, at 93.5 mph, but still batters have hit just .199 against it, with 51 of his 124 strikeouts coming on the pitch. Mikolas has walked just 4.5% of the batters he has faced, which ranks in the 95th percentile in the league. Despite struggling in his last two starts, Mikolas has put up his best season since 2018.
St. Louis has one of the most dangerous weapons in baseball lurking in their bullpen in Ryan Helsley. He averages an absurd 99.4 mph on his fastball, and has pitched to a 1.01 ERA with 79 strikeouts in 53.1 innings, a 40.7% rate, which is in the 100th percentile. Batters are hitting .135 against Helsley’s fastball, the highest of any of his three pitches. Andre Pallante is back in the bullpen for the time being, bad news for opponents. In 26 relief appearances, Pallante has a 1.43 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in 44 innings. Closer Giovanny Gallegos has been his usual reliable self, with a 2.88 ERA, 13 saves and 60 strikeouts in 50 innings.
Paul Goldschmidt is enjoying one of the finest offensive seasons St. Louis has ever seen. The slugging first baseman leads the team with a .331 batting average, 34 home runs and 107 RBIs, putting himself in legit contention for the NL Triple Crown and MVP award. Nolan Arenado has settled into St. Louis, leading the team with 36 doubles and ranking second with 28 home runs, 89 RBIs and a .305 batting average. Albert Pujols has reinvented himself into a lefty-masher, with 15 home runs and a .268 batting average in his final season. Tommy Edman has turned in a career year, leading the team with 26 stolen bases, adding 13 home runs and 25 doubles.
Final Cubs-Cardinals Prediction & Pick
St. Louis has a lot more to play for in this rivalry matchup.
Final Cubs-Cardinals Prediction & Pick: St. Louis -1.5 (+114), over 7.5 (-104)