Cubs Underdogs Heading Into Game 2 of 4-Game Series

Who: Chicago Cubs v. Washington Nationals

When: Tuesday June 27th, 2017 7:05PM EST

Where: Nationals Park–Washington, DC

A 4-run 9th inning for the Washington Nationals was not enough to take the first game of their series with the Cubs this week. In the end, the away team was able to hold on after a flurry of runs and emerge victorious. While this matchup is gaining a lot of attention due to its being one featuring two solid teams, it is also being touted as a potential playoff matchup come season’s end.

The Cubs, who are defending World Series champions, find themselves just one game off the pace in the weak NL Central, while the Nationals currently lay claim to the divisional lead in a particularly weak NL East. With Jake Arrieta set to take the mound for the Cubs on Tuesday, it will be interesting to see if the Nationals’ bats can replicate Monday’s performance. Even if that is not in the cards, however, Max Scherzer will more than likely contribute from the mound for the Nats.

Pitching Matchup and Analysis

As was just briefly touched upon above, Tuesday’s game is going to feature two talented pitchers who are both having halfway decent 2017s so far. Jake Arrieta, who is 7-5 with a 4.36 ERA, will take the mound for the Cubs (+140). Arrieta has not been having his best season thus far, but his poor record has a lot to do with a lack of offensive support than it does with him not throwing effectively. Arrieta has generally kept his earned run tally low, and has only given up 4 or more runs on 3 occasions this season. Having said that, the Nationals have an offense that can hit the ball freely, so he will have to keep his run tally to the bare minimum if he wants to earn a win on Tuesday.

Max Scherzer (8-5 2.09 ERA) has had a tough year according to his record, but that does not even come close to telling the whole story. Like Arrieta, Scherzer does not give up many runs, but as you can see from his near even-2 ERA, he really doesn’t let many people past the plate. In all 3 of his earned losses since the beginning of May, Scherzer’s offense has not gotten more than 2 runs past the plate. For a pitcher, it is always going to be tough to win when your team is not scoring.

As for how the bats will be on Tuesday, I would not expect to see much of anything special. Like we have already said, both of these offenses have had their fair share of problems when it comes to getting runs on the board. Add into the mix two very competent pitchers and you have a scenario that is not likely to amount in many runs being given up. To put that into perspective, the Nationals were only able to score 4 runs last night, and it took them until the 9th inning to even get one on the board. Against a better pitcher, it is going to be tough for both them and the Cubs to score.

Betting Prediction

As for the optimal wager you can place, I am looking at the over/under currently being offered by Bovada, which is 7.5 runs (-115/-105). While last night did see the total runs scored exceed this amount, I think tonight will be a bit different with better pitchers on the mound. As such, I think your absolute best bet in this game is under 7.5 runs (-105).

Being that I think Arrieta, despite his record, is the better of the two pitchers, combined with the fact that I think runs will be difficult to come by, I think the Cubs point spread is another bet worth taking. Right now, the Cubs are listed as +1.5 underdogs (-150). Though the -150 odds do not offer you an exorbitant amount of value, I think this is another bet that you will not have much trouble with. With that being said, Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon was quick to point out his team’s struggles on the road before the series kicked off on Monday, so this wager is far from a sure thing.

Another wager I think you would be wise to consider is the team over for the Cubs. Currently, Bovada lists the team total for the Cubs at 3.5 runs. If you pick the over, you are looking at +110 odds. Though I do not think this game will be high-scoring by any stretch of the imagination, the Cubs have scored more than 3.5 runs in almost all of their recent victories. Seeing as I think the Cubs are going to emerge victorious in this one, I also think it follows that they will score more than 3.5 runs. With all of this being said, these wagers go out the window if Arrieta cannot piece together a solid 6 or 7 innings. With the power of the Nats’ bats, Arrieta needs to perform decently.