Tonight’s edition of Sunday Night Baseball features a matchup between the Chicago Cubs and the San Francisco Giants. Unfortunately, neither team is having the type of year they were hoping for.
The Giants won a whopping 107 games last year, giving them the best record in all of baseball. However, they’ve come crashing back to reality in 2022. A 2-8 stretch over their past 10 games has dropped them to just 50-51 on the year, leaving them 17.5 games behind the division-leading Dodgers.
The Cubs were never expected to contend this year, and they’ve stumbled to a 41-59 record. That gives them the fourth-worst record in the National League, and they’re only slightly ahead of the Pirates and Reds.
Both of these teams could be sellers before the trade deadline, and both teams have some desirable pieces. The Cubs have catcher Wilson Contreras and some quality relievers, while the Giants have Carlos Rodon and Joc Pederson.
While this may not sound like the most exciting matchup on paper, there are still plenty of wagers to consider on DraftKings Sportsbook. Let’s dive into a few of my favorites.
Chicago Cubs at San Francisco Giants
Under 7.5 runs (-115)
Pitching should be the name of the game in this matchup. The Giants will turn to Rodon – assuming he isn’t traded – while the Cubs will hand the ball to Adrian Sampson. You can make a strong case that both pitchers are currently undervalued.
Rodon has had a strong season, pitching to a 3.18 ERA, but his advanced metrics are even more impressive. He’s posted a 2.88 xERA and a 2.41 FIP while striking out nearly 11.5 batters per nine innings. Overall, he ranks in the 85th percentile in xSLG and the 86th percentile in xwOBA and xERA. Calling him one of the best pitchers in baseball would not be hyperbole.
Meanwhile, Sampson has been arguably the Cubs’ best pitcher. He’s a pitch-to-contact guy, racking up just 5.95 strikeouts per nine innings, but he excels at limiting the damage on balls in play. He’s limited opposing batters to a 33.1% hard hit rate and an 86.8 mph average exit velocity, both of which rank in the 85th percentile. That makes him the rare low-strikeout pitcher whose solid numbers seem sustainable: his 3.48 FIP and 3.81 xERA are both in range with his actual mark.
Neither of these offenses are particularly daunting, so I think both pitchers should be able to keep the runs to a minimum. That makes the under on 7.5 runs an appealing option.
Giants Under 4.5 runs and Giants Win (+270)
This is a combination bet that you can find under the “Game Parlays” section on DraftKings Sportsbook, and I think it makes plenty of sense in this matchup.
I already highlighted why I think this game will go under, and the Giants are clearly the better squad. Not only do they have the better pitcher on the mound, but they have the better offense as well. The Giants have averaged 4.62 runs per game this season – the eighth-highest mark in the league – while the Cubs rank merely 19th. The sportsbooks also give the Giants a sizable edge in this contest, listing them at -180 on the moneyline.
This wager is a creative way to get some exposure to the Giants at a strong price. If this game goes under 7.5 runs, it’s very reasonable to expect the Giants to have some low-scoring wins in their range of outcomes.
Adrian Sampson Over 3.5 strikeouts (+105)
Sampson’s strikeout prop is set at just 3.5 for tonight’s contest, which is extremely low for a starting pitcher. That said, it’s completely justified. He has three punchouts or less in each of his past three outings.
Still, there are reasons to believe in a bounce back on Sunday. For starters, this is a much friendlier matchup than some of Sampson’s recent opponents. The Giants have a 22.9% strikeout rate against right-handed pitchers, good for the 11th-highest mark in the league.
Sampson is also a good bet to give the Cubs some length in this contest. The Cubs have only had eight games where their starter has thrown at least 100 pitches, and three of them have come from Sampson. He’s had at least 100 pitches in each of his past two outings, and he’s averaged over 100 pitches per start over his past five games.
Sampson’s strikeout numbers were also slightly better earlier in the year, racking up four or more strikeouts in four consecutive appearances. Bottom line – Any pitcher who throws 100 pitches or more shouldn’t be better than even money to get four strikeouts.
Seiya Suzuki Over 0.5 homers (+700)
Most of my interest in this game comes from the Giants, but the Cubs have the edge in the player prop department. Their batters are priced much less favorably against Rodon than the Giants’ batters are against Sampson, making them the preferred target.
Suzuki is my pick to hit a homer at +700. Suzuki burst onto the scene to start his MLB career, racking up five hits and three homers through his first four games. He’s cooled down significantly since then, but he’s provided solid pop against left-handed pitchers all year. He owns a .230 ISO in that split, and he’s launched three homers in just 61 at bats. Suzuki has also been hot since the All-Star break, with two homers in just 35 at bats.
Suzuki may not be a pure power hitter, but this is simply way too generous of a line. Let’s take advantage.
Patrick Wisdom Over 0.5 hits (-115)
This might be the best bet on the entire card. I’m not sure why Wisdom is -115 to get to just a single solitary hit in this matchup, but I’m more than happy to take the over.
Wisdom isn’t a great contact hitter, but he has been at his best against left-handed pitchers this season. He’s posted a .264 average in that split, compared to a .208 mark against right-handers.
Additionally, when Wisdom does make contact, it tends to be of the elite variety. He ranks in the 91st percentile for average exit velocity, the 92nd percentile for hard-hit rate, and the 95th percentile for barrel rate. That gives him a great chance of finding grass when he puts the ball in play.
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