Giants at Cubs MLB Pick for August 20

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The Chicago Cubs are only 3.5 games better than the San Francisco Giants in the standings, but ESPN gives Chicago a vastly better chance at making the playoffs. As of this writing, the 66-58 Cubs have a 75% chance to qualify, while the 63-62 Giants have just a 2.8% chance. It surely has something to do with the fact that Chicago is very much alive in the race for the NL Central, while the Giants are dead and buried in the NL West.

Chicago is just a half-game behind the Cardinals for the top spot in the Central, while San Francisco is a whopping 18.5 games behind the Dodgers in the West. Oddsmakers and baseball betting sites are also bearish on the fact that the Giants have a run differential of -52, yet they’re somehow still a game over the .500 mark. At this point, the Giants will have to put all of their eggs in the Wild Card basket. With so many teams battling for the two Wild Card spots, plenty of teams will obviously be left out in the cold.

The two teams will battle in the Windy City this week, with the series opener on Tuesday night. Tyler Beede will take the ball for the Giants opposite left-hander Cole Hamels for the Cubs.

Betting Data Giants Cubs
2019 Straight-Up 63-62 66-58
2019 Home 29-33 41-19
2019 Away 34-29 25-39
2019 ATR 66-59 60-64
2019 ATR Home 27-35 33-27
2019 ATR Away 39-24 27-37
2019 O/U 61-58-6 57-62-5
2019 O/U Home 29-29-4 25-32-3
2019 O/U Away 32-29-2 32-30-2

Beede’s Rough Rookie Year

Beede has made 17 appearances this season for the Giants, 15 of which have been starts. So far, he’s 3-7 with a 5.77 ERA. His 4.85 SIERA and 4.87 xFIP look better than his bloated ERA, but he still just hasn’t pitched all that well. The right-hander has a strikeout rate of 21.3% with a walk rate inching closer to 10%.

Beede has also allowed a hefty hard-hit rate of 47.3% to this point, next to an underwhelming 43.4% ground ball rate. He has allowed 17 home runs, which isn’t easy considering he plays his home games at Oracle Park. This is arguably the most pitcher-friendly park in all of baseball. Beede gets a considerable park downgrade going into Wrigley tonight. It’s expected to be warm and humid in Chicago with winds slightly blowing out toward the outfield. It isn’t a big-time “Windy Wrigley” game, but the conditions are still good for hitting.

Beede has conceded a .375 wOBA to lefties and a .344 mark to righties to this point. The Cubs are without Willson Contreras, but the rest of the lineup is downright fearsome these days. Anthony Rizzo (.415 wOBA vs. RHP), Kris Bryant (.371), Nicholas Castellanos (.331), Javier Baez (.352), and Kyle Schwarber (.358) have all mashed right-handed pitching this season. Beede is also likely to face five lefties (Schwarber, Rizzo, Jason Heyward, Ian Happ, Victor Caratini), which isn’t ideal considering his aforementioned splits.

Hamels’ Strong Season

Hamels has made 20 starts with a record of 6-4 and a 3.69 ERA. His 4.45 SIERA and 4.16 xFIP make that ERA look a little lucky, but he has still pitched well overall. He’s allowed hard hits at a 37.3% clip while keeping the ball on the ground better than 49% of the time.

The Giants’ lineup that Hamels will be facing isn’t nearly as scary as the Cubs’ group of hitters. Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, and Scooter Gennett in particular have really struggled against left-handed pitching. All three have wOBAs under .300, which is bad, and Belt has the highest isolated slugging percentage of the three at just .118. These are three of the Giants’ better hitters overall, so the fact that none of them have had much success against lefties this season is a little surprising.

Evan Longoria, Kevin Pillar, and Mike Yastrzemski have been San Francisco’s best bats against left-handers. That isn’t exactly a murderer’s row, but Longoria in particular has fared well against opposite-handed pitching for his entire career. With the expected hitting conditions in Chicago tonight, though, Hamels should still give up at least a couple of runs, especially considering his underlying numbers say he’s due for some regression over the last month of the season.

The Pick

I really like the Cubs tonight. I think they’re in a prime spot to knock Beede all over the place, and I’d be surprised if he lasted very long in this one. The Chicago lineup profiles excellently against him on paper. Hamels looks much better against the Giants, especially since he will hold the platoon advantage against the likes of Belt and Gennett.

I like the value in betting on the Cubs to cover the runline in this game (-105). There is also merit to betting the over on 10 runs being scored in this one (-115), but the Cubs’ runline is the more profitable option if it hits. A parlay with the Cubs and the over is viable, too.

Taylor Smith

Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, bu ...

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