The Chicago Cubs and the Washington Nationals’ second of a four-game MLB betting series tonight will feature a duel between Cy Young-winning pitchers.
Time: 7:05 PM
Venue: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
Sportsbook odds for fans who bet on baseball:
Cubs +1½ (-150) 7½ (-110) +156
Nationals -1½ (+130) 7½ (-110) -166
On the mound: Jake Arrieta (RHP, 7-5, 4.36 ERA, 89 K) allowed the Marlins just one run in seven innings on Thursday, throwing an economical 82 pitches. Arrieta had a 2.38 ERA and won each of his two starts in the 2016 World Series to help the Cubbies to their first championship since in a gazillion years. Arrieta’s ERA has ballooned compared to 3.10, 1.77 and 2.53 in the last three seasons. He has surrendered five runs in 17 innings in his last three starts versus the Nats. Batters are 4-for-39 against Arrieta’s curveball this season, including 0-for-3 versus the Marlins, for a .103 average – the fifth-lowest for any pitcher with at least 30 at-bats end on curves this season.
At bat: First baseman Anthony Rizzo will relieve Willson Contreras of the leadoff position even though the latter hit a leadoff home run on Monday. Rizzo is 3-for-8 with a double and homer in his career versus Max Scherzer.
Miscellanea: The North Side Bears’ starting rotation and offense are good but not World Series-winning good like last year, due in part to injury problems. The Cubs are second in the National League Central behind Milwaukee.
Trends for fans who bet on baseball: the Cubs have won six of their last nine games, a period in which the MLB betting total has gone under. The Cubbies are 6-13 straight up and against the spread in their last 19 road games.
On the mound: Max Scherzer (RHP, 8-5, 2.09 ERA, 145 K) struck out 11 Marlins and allowed only two hits but also surrendered two unearned runs in the 8th inning in a 1-2 loss to Miami on Wednesday. He has posted double digit Ks in six straight games. Scherzer leads the Majors with a 2.09 ERA and is second in strikeouts with 145. He has a career 3.19 ERA against the Cubs, but tossed to a 6.00 ERA in two starts against them last season.
At bat: Second baseman Daniel Murphy prolonged his hitting streak to 10 games on Monday. He is .350 (14-for-40) with two home runs and 11 RBIs in that period.
Miscellanea: The Nats are on top of the National League East but manager Dusty Baker would like see his boys “establish some home superiority. We haven’t had as much success at home.” Heh. Dusty Baker. Is he all floury, and yeasty, and dusty from making all that bread?
Trends for fans who bet on baseball: The Nationals have lost two thirds of their last six times hosting the Cubs, in four of which games the MLB betting total has gone under. The Nats are 1-4 ATS in their last five overall games as well as in their last five at home.