Baseball odds favor Chicago on Friday as they host the Oakland Athletics in a Cactus League game that can be seen on the MLB Network.
The Cubs are usually given a lot of respect in baseball lines even though oftentimes it is not deserved. Chicago is a popular team with bettors though and that will be the case again this season.
Baseball odds in the spring normally don’t have big favorites so look for the Cubs to be laying -130 or -140 in this game. The A’s still can win some games although they are not considered a serious contender in the American League West behind the Angels, Mariners and Rangers. Oakland has some pitching and hitting issues including finding some outfield depth. The A’s are looking at Gabe Gross, Eric Patterson, Travis Buck and Jake Fox for their fourth outfield spot. Gross leads the team in RBIs this spring and could be the choice.
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The Cubs don’t have as many questions heading into the season vs. the baseball lines although they do need Ted Lilly to get healthy. He is coming back from arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder. Lilly is considered an important starter for Chicago so they need him as soon as possible. "This will be the next-to-last workload for all our starters," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said, "and it’ll be the biggest workload of the spring for them. We don’t want them coming into the game for the third inning or so. I think Lilly will start and be on the same program the rest of the pitchers were, starting [Saturday]."
The Cubs are looking at putting Lilly into the starting rotation sometime after April 15th. That means he will miss the first week or so of the season and perhaps as many as two starts in baseball odds. Lilly and Angel Guzman are expected to start the season on the DL. Sean Marshall and Tom Gorzelanny are two candidates for the rotation. "We’re fortunate that even though we lost Lilly and [Rich] Harden left via free agency, we have four pitchers here with Major League experience and they can get the job done," Piniella said. "What’s encouraging is the fact that Ted Lilly is basically right on schedule and he feels really good about himself, and that’s good news for us. I think our pitching will do fine."