San Francisco Giants vs. Chicago Cubs NLDS Game 1 Betting Preview
Where: Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL
When: Friday, October 7, 2016, 9:00 PM ET
Line: San Francisco Giants at Chicago Cubs – view all MLB lines
TV Broadcast: FS1, MLB Network
Writer’s Pick: Chicago Cubs
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Betting on the San Francisco Giants
The even-year magic for the San Francisco Giants was kept alive after they escaped from New York with a tense 3-0 victory over the Mets on Wednesday night in the winner-take-all National League Wild Card game.
As most people expected, Madison Bumgarner was lights-out that evening, pitching a four-hit, complete-game shutout against the defending NL champions to vault the Giants to their fourth divisional playoff series since 2010. Up next is another one of the team’s solid aces, Johnny Cueto (18-5, 2.78 ERA), to try and steal home-field advantage from the Chicago Cubs this Friday.
Having Cueto pitch a gem in Game 1 is imperative for San Francisco, and he’s certainly capable of doing so. The Dominican righty finished the regular season with the third-most winning decisions in the National League, mostly by way of striking out his opposition with ease. Cueto racked up 198 Ks in the process (sixth in the NL), and he has also stunningly held Chicago’s batters to a combined lifetime batting average of .184.
However, the Giants’ offense remains a huge concern heading into the series. They beat the Mets with a timely three-run blast by unheralded third baseman Conor Gillaspie, but that homer came in the final inning of the game when the team couldn’t muster up any runs – let alone hits – for most of the contest. The Giants ranked a middling 19th in the majors in runs scored during the regular season, and that simply can’t cut it against a powerhouse Cubs team.
Nevertheless, San Francisco showed that it can stay toe-to-toe with the best team in the majors by taking three of seven games against the Cubs this season. But if Cueto doesn’t deliver a phenomenal outing on Friday night, we don’t expect the team’s offense to keep up with Chicago’s big bats in a slugfest.
Betting on the Chicago Cubs
Will this finally be the year that the Chicago Cubs end their enduring misery of not winning a World Series since 1908? Many baseball fans believe so, especially with how the Cubs’ latest campaign went down.
Chicago had an MLB-best 103 wins this regular season, and there were times that it seemed truly unbeatable. So much so that the team’s plus-252 run differential speaks volumes of its dominance this year. The Cubs are stacked with talent on both sides of the ball, having finished in the top five of the majors in key offensive categories (third in runs scored; third in on-base percentage) as well as basically having led the entire league in pitching. They were tops in team ERA (3.15), opponent batting average (2.12) and quality starts (100) at that.
Speaking of quality starts, there’s no better ace that Chicago would want to trot out for Game 1 other than Jon Lester (19-5, 2.24 ERA). The NL Cy Young candidate trailed only Washington’s Max Scherzer for the most wins in the National League, and only fellow teammate Kyle Hendricks for the best earned run average this season. Furthermore, Lester’s only allowed a total of 10 runs and two homers lifetime against Giants batters in 118 at-bats.
And with the Cubs’ 57 wins at Wrigley Field (the most by any home team this year), including prevailing victorious in five of their last six for the season, San Francisco simply can’t afford to lose their momentum from its own wild card win on the road. The boys from the Bay Area will also be reminded of just how tough it is to win in the Windy City, as they lost three of their four meetings against the Cubs in Chi-town this year.
The Cubs draw first blood, 5-2.
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