The Cubs begin their postseason run on Wednesday afternoon when they host an unlikely opponent in the Miami Marlins, a team almost nobody expected to be in this spot just 60 short games ago. Game 1 marks the first time legal Illinois online sports betting will offer betting odds on a Cubs postseason game. Notably, the Marlins and Cubs have met in the playoffs before, and let’s just say it’s probably a good thing the state didn’t offer betting in that series. Yeah, we will leave it at that.
Anyway, let’s break down what to expect with our Cubs vs. Marlins betting preview with odds, picks, and predictions.
However, before we do, something to know about wagering on this one.
Cubs vs. Marlins Game 1 Betting Preview
Let’s take a look at the Cubs vs. Marlins Game 1 matchup.
The Cubs will send Kyle Hendricks to the mound in Game 1, opposite of Miami’s Sandy Alcantara. If you believe in experience, Hendricks and the Cubs hold a big edge. Game 1 marks the 25-year-old Alcantara’s first career postseason appearance, while Hendricks holds a 2.98 ERA over 11 postseason games.
This season, Hendricks posted a deceiving 6-5 record in 12 starts with a 2.88 ERA and an outstanding 0.996 WHIP. Much of his success this season was due to pinpoint control, as his 0.9 BB/9 IP was tied for baseball’s best mark. He was particularly tough on left-handed hitters, limiting them to just a .209 average and .567 OPS.
Perhaps most encouraging for Cubs fans, however, is how Hendricks finished. He wrapped the month of September with a sub-2.00 ERA to go with a 30/4 K/BB ratio.
Alcantara, meanwhile, followed up a 2019 All-Star Game selection (despite a 6-14 record) with a stellar 3-2 mark and 3.00 ERA in seven starts. He yielded just 7.5 hits per nine innings, but his platoon splits reveal susceptibility to left-handed hitters. While he allowed right-handed hitters to hit .190 with a ridiculous .474 OPS, left-handed hitters had success, batting .268 with an .859 OPS.
Cubs vs. Marlins Odds
Let’s take a look at the Cubs vs. Marlins odds for Game 1. Note: the listed prices reflect consensus odds as of Tuesday night and are subject to change leading up to first pitch.
Wednesday, September 30, 1:08 PM CDT
- Moneyline: Cubs (-162)/Marlins (+147)
- Over/Under: N/A
At the time of this post, oddsmakers had not yet committed to an over/under. Often, the unpredictable wind patterns of Wrigley Field cause a delay in setting a total.
Analysis: Some oddsmakers set the Cubs as high as -180 at open, but that number quickly dipped into the -160s. Frankly, the high price was expected for two reasons:
- The Cubs are a high-profile team with a track record of success and big-name players.
- Meanwhile, the Marlins are an upstart that many baseball observers are stunned to see playing postseason baseball. Still, Miami is in the postseason on merit (and perhaps some ineptitude by NL East teams) and have the starting pitching to make some noise.
The unpredictably of the Cubs’ lineup, which was surprisingly less productive at home in 2020, is important consideration in sizing up the odds in this one. On paper, the Hendricks vs. Alcantara matchup doesn’t really warrant a -160 advantage for Chicago, even with Hendricks’ considerable edge in postseason experience. The real question here is about an inconsistent Cubs offense that was downright bad, at times, this season.
While the Chicago lineup thumped its way to 25 runs over its final three regular season games, it also produced only a .195 average and .625 OPS over the last 14 days. Still, it’s worth noting it slugged nearly .100 points better against right-handed starters than it did against left-handers this season. We’ll see if that production holds up against a tough-righty in Game 1.
Cubs vs. Marlins Betting Predictions and Pick
Betting Notes to Know
Here are some notes to consider as you evaluate the Cubs vs. Marlins odds and make your picks.
- The Cubs were 17-13 at home this season, including a 14-7 mark at home as a favorite.
- The Cubs were 9-4 at home this season as a favorite of more than -150.
- The Cubs were just 4-6 in home day games this season.
- Since 2007, the Cubs are just 9-12 in home playoff games and 6-8 as a home favorite.
- Postseason home favorites of -155 to -175 are 45-26 since 2005, however that record has produced just a $126 ROI for $100 bettors.
Cubs vs. Marlins Game 1 Pick
I don’t expect an offensive slugfest here unless it’s “one of those days” at Wrigley. Alcantara has been a nightmare for right-handed hitting teams, and, frankly, the Cubs offense just hasn’t (isn’t) very good. While the big-name talent and the potential for a breakout stretch is there, at some point, the numbers are what they are. Meanwhile, Hendricks finished red-hot in September, producing some of the best overall numbers in baseball.
Typically, I don’t focus on shortened-outcome markets, but I think there’s some value on Miami and possibly on the under in the early innings:
- Let’s see where the total settles, but I would be comfortable trying an under in the first five innings if it set at 4.5 or higher.
- As for the side, I would be inclined to take the Marlins +.5 in the first five innings from a value standpoint.
I know the Cubs don’t possess an elite bullpen by any stretch, but Miami relievers were hit around to the tune of a 5.50 ERA and produced a -1.4 fWAR, which was somehow worse than a historically poor Philadelphia bullpen. Given that, I could see the Cubs sneaking away with a Game 1 win late, but my dollars are going to attack what I view as some early-inning value.
Cubs vs. Marlins prediction: Marlins + 0.5 runs (first five innings)
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