A new week in baseball begins on Monday with an NL Central showdown between the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals, who enter with identical records. At home, the Cardinals are slight underdogs at -105 compared to Chicago’s moneyline of -115. There is also an over/under of 9 runs.
It’s now or never for the Cubs, who have been the worst team in baseball over the last few weeks. They finished June with six straight losses and are just 4-8 in the month of July. They are a game under .500 and 7.5 games out of a playoff spot, so they need to make a run right now before they start trading away their star players.
Of course, the Cardinals are in the same boat, as they are also 46-47 on the season. But St. Louis is at least moving in the right direction, taking two out of three against the San Francisco Giants over the weekend. The Cards have now won five of their last eight games, slowly moving in the right direction.
Next in Line
With several starters on the IL, the Cardinals are planning to bring Jake Woodford up from the minors to start Monday’s game. The 24-year-old has made just one career start in the majors, getting most of his work out of the bullpen. In 17 appearances as a reliever this year, Woodford owns a 4.62 ERA, although he should be stretched out enough to give St. Louis four or five innings.
The question is whether Woodford can keep the Chicago lineup under wraps for that long. When they’re clicking, the Cubs have as much power as any lineup in baseball. However, they tend to run hot and cold, with Willson Contreras and Javier Baez coming out of the break hot while Kris Bryant and others have yet to get it going.
Run of the Mill
Meanwhile, the Cubs will send Alec Mills to the mound on Monday night. In six starts and 12 relief appearances this season, Mills has gone 4-2 with a 4.84 ERA. While he’s not going too deep into games, Mills has held opposing teams to three runs or less in five straight starts since becoming a full-time member of the starting rotation.
Mills could benefit from facing a St. Louis lineup that scored just seven runs over three games against the Giants this past weekend despite winning twice in those three games. Everybody on the Cardinals seems to be having a disappointing season offensively outside of Tyler O’Neill. Outside of O’Neill, Paul De Jong and Paul Goldschmidt continued to be the case over the weekend.
Up in the Air
Frankly, neither team looks like a safe bet to win this game, which is why the betting odds are so close. However, when the Cardinals win, it tends to be in low-scoring games, which may not be the case with a young pitcher coming up from the minors to get the start. With the Cubs have a little more offensive firepower and a slightly more experienced pitcher on the mound, Chicago is the better betting choice in this game.
100% up to $3,000 Bonus
Bovada is our most recommended ONLINE CASINO and POKER ROOM for US players with excellent deposit options. Get your 100% signup bonus today.