The Chicago Cubs (19-23) and the Houston Astros (23-19) will finish their three-game series on Wednesday, May 17. First pitch from Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas is set for 8:10 p.m. ET. Chicago will start the southpaw Drew Smyly (4-1, 3.05 ERA), while Houston counters with the rookie J.P. France (1-0, 0.77). So far, Houston has won the first two games of the series as they look to climb the standings in the AL West.
The Astros are the -170 moneyline favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook. The Cubs are the +145 underdogs, and the run total is set at 8.5. Chicago will be off on Thursday before continuing its road trip with a three-game weekend series against the Philadelphia Phillies. Houston stays at home and will welcome the Oakland Athletics to town for a three-game divisional set starting Friday.
Cubs-Astros picks: Wednesday, May 17
Day to day: OF Cody Bellinger (knee)
Out: SP Kyle Hendricks (shoulder), RP Brad Boxberger (forearm), 2B Nico Hoerner (hamstring)
Out: 2B Jose Altuve (thumb), OF Michael Brantley (shoulder)
Drew Smyly vs. JP France
Smyly has been solid for the Cubs, but may not be the recipient of the run support that he is used to on Wednesday night. Chicago has lost four straight games, but Smyly gives them some upside. He pitched six innings in his last start and allowed two earned runs on four hits while striking out four and walking one.
France will be making his third career start. So far, he has pitched against the Seattle Mariners and the Chicago White Sox. France didn’t allow any runs in his Major League debut and followed it up with a standout performance against Chicago in which he allowed just one run on three hits over 6.2 innings en route to his first career win.
Both of the games so far in this series have ended with 10 runs scored. This has been a change for Houston, as its three games before this series saw seven runs or fewer scored. The same can’t be said for Chicago, as they have seen at least double-digit runs scored in four straight and five of their last seven. With this pitching matchup, though, this series finale should stay low-scoring.
Pick: Under 8.5
The Cubs and Astros have had opposite trajectories in their recent games. Chicago is 3-7 in its last 10, while Houston is 6-4. Smyly has been solid on the mound, but the Astros have the lineup to tally enough runs to support a strong start from France.