Chicago at St. Louis MLB Odds, Betting Pick & TV Info

Chicago at St. Louis MLB Odds, Betting Pick & TV Info

Written by on March 31, 2017

Play Ball! The 2017 Major League Baseball season begins on Sunday and only a few people alive on this planet can say the following: “I remember when the Cubs opened a season as the defending World Series champions.” Indeed, Chicago takes the field Sunday night in St. Louis as the reigning World Series champs for the first time since April 1909. The Cubs will be slight favorites on MLB odds against their rivals.

Chicago at St. Louis MLB Odds, Betting Pick & TV Info

When: Sunday, April 2, 8:30 PM ET Where: Busch Stadium, St. Louis Probable pitchers (away/home): Jon Lester/Carlos Martinez TV: ESPN Stream: WatchESPN Radio: Chicago / St. Louis Opening MLB Lines: Cubs favored by TBA

Why Bet on the Cubs?

The Cubs are largely back intact. Their two biggest losses were closer Aroldis Chapman, a midseason addition last year via trade from the Yankees, and center fielder and leadoff hitter Dexter Fowler. But the Cubs also will have a full season of slugger Kyle Schwarber, who missed almost the entire 2016 regular season due to a knee injury but returned for the World Series and was a big reason Chicago beat Cleveland in seven games. What will third baseman Kris Bryant do for an encore? In his just his second season, Bryant was named NL MVP in 2016. He batted .292 with 39 homers, 35 doubles, 102 RBIs and 121 runs scored in 155 games. He led the NL in runs scored, ranked third in homers, was fourth with a .939 OPS and a .554 slugging percentage, and sixth in RBIs. He was the only player in the majors with at least 35 homers, 35 doubles, 100 RBIs, 100 runs scored and 75 walks. Bryant is the first player to win the Golden Spikes Award presented to the top collegiate player, the Minor League Player of the Year, the Rookie of the Year and the MVP honors in four consecutive seasons. To replace Chapman, the Cubs traded seldom-used outfielder Jorge Soler to Kansas City for Wade Davis. During the past three seasons, Davis has posted a 1.18 ERA with 47 saves over 185 appearances. Cubs manager Joe Maddon knows the right-hander well from their time together in Tampa Bay (2009-12), and that helped sell the Cubs on dealing for Davis. He has given up three total home runs over 182 2/3 innings in the past three years. He will be a free agent after the 2017 season. Davis has struggled this spring. The Cubs give the start to Jon Lester, who finished second in last year’s Cy Young voting. Lester led the Cubs with 19 wins and posted a 2.44 ERA in 32 starts. Lester found himself in a dream scenario in 2016, backed by a brilliant Cubs defense and with veteran David Ross doing wonders for his pitch framing as well as masking any of his own deficiencies holding runners on base. Ross was Lester’s personal catcher but has since retired. That could be an issue.

Why Bet on the Cardinals?

The Cardinals’ biggest offseason addition was signing Fowler away from the Cubs. He’s a dynamic outfielder whom they believe can change the look of their lineup and improve them defensively. He takes over in center, allowing the team to shift Randal Grichuk to left field. Fowler’s His .393 on-base percentage ranked sixth best in the National League last year, and the Cubs went 64-20 when Fowler tallied at least one hit. The Cards have gotten some bad news this spring when top pitching prospect Alex Reyes, likely to start the season as the No. 5 starter, was lost to a season-ending injury. He has had Tommy John surgery. The 22-year- old Reyes, who is ranked the No. 4 overall prospect by Baseball America, made his major league debut last August and went 4-1 with a 1.57 ERA in five starts. He also made seven relief appearances with his fastball averaging more than 97 mph. St. Louis is going with young right-hander Carlos Martinez here. Martinez will be the first Dominican-born pitcher since Joaquin Andujar (1985) and the youngest since Joe Magrane (1989) to make an Opening Day start for the Cards. He led Cardinals pitchers with 20 quality starts, a 3.04 ERA and 5.4 WAR in 2016. Though his strikeout rate dropped last season, he made two key improvements: His 57.6 percent ground-ball rate and .329 wOBA allowed to left-handed hitters were both career bests. Martinez finished Grapefruit League play this year a sparkling 1.38 ERA across three starts, and he also put up a 1.13 ERA over two World Baseball Classic outings.

Chicago at St. Louis Betting Pick: Chicago Cubs

Martinez was just 1-3 with a 4.80 ERA in five starts vs. the Cubs last year. Lester was 2-0 with a 0.87 ERA last year vs. the Cards.