MLB Picks: Cubs at Brewers Series Odds and Predictions
by Darin Zank - 4/8/2011
The Milwaukee Brewers have only been members of the National League for 14 years, but it did not take long to build up a pretty good rivalry with the Chicago Cubs. While competing against each other in the NL Central these two teams have shown a propensity for playing some crazy games, and the road team often has the upper hand.
The Brewers and Cubs begin their season series this weekend when they meet at Miller Park for three games, starting Friday night.
Chicago, picked by many to finish somewhere around third or fourth in the NL Central this season, is off to a 3-3 start, dropping two of three games at home to Pittsburgh, then taking two of three from Arizona. They've scored 26 runs, allowed 26, and are 3-3 on the ‘over/unders’. The biggest news out of the Cubs first week of play came with the Disabled Listing of pitchers Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner, and the sprained thumb suffered by 1B Carlos Pena. The import from Tampa Bay started the season 2-for-10 from the plate, with three walks and four RBI, but has missed the last two games. He is expected, though, to return to action Friday.
Milwaukee went off last week as the favorite (at most sportsbooks) to win the NL Central this season. The Brewers then promptly got swept in three games by the division's defending champs, the Cincinnati Reds. Milwaukee then went home and lost its home opener to the Atlanta Braves, 2-1, on a couple of solo homers given up by reliever Saito in the eighth inning. The Brewers finally got in the win column Tuesday with a 1-0 victory over Atlanta, getting a complete-game two-hit shutout from Yovani Gallardo. Milwaukee then beat the Braves 5-4 Wednesday and 4-2 Thursday to get to 3-4 on the season.
Brewers bats have been a little slow to the table, pushing across only 22 runs in their seven games. That's why the totals are 2-4-1 so far in Milwaukee games.
Carlos Zambrano gets the start Friday for the Cubs against Randy Wolf for the Brewers (8:10 p.m. EST). Matt Garza, also a former Tampa Bay Ray, goes Saturday for Chicago vs. Chris Narveson for Milwaukee (7:10 p.m. EST). And second-year pro Casey Coleman is slated to start Sunday for the Cubbies against Gallardo for the Brew Crew (2:10 p.m. EST).
Zambrano started three times vs. Milwaukee last year, allowing six earned runs in 18 innings pitched, walking 11 and striking out 18. The Cubs won two of these three games, and two of those games played ‘over’ their posted totals.
Wolf started twice vs. Chicago last year, allowing nine ERs on 13 hits in 12 2/3 IP. The Brewers lost both those games.
Narveson started one game vs. the Cubs last year, allowing just one ER on six hits in 5 2/3 innings, with one walk and six strikeouts. The Brewers won that game, and it played ‘under’ the total.
Garza, meanwhile, will be making his first-ever start vs. Milwaukee Saturday.
This is the first of five series these divisional rivals will play this season. Last year the Cubs took the season series from the Brewers nine games to six.
Cubs vs. Brewers Betting Odds and Trends
The Cubs went 7-3 in games played at Miller Park last year.
The totals went 8-6-1 in this series last season, as the games averaged 9.9 total runs.
However, the totals went 3-5-1 in the games played in Milwaukee, which only averaged 7.0 total runs.
MLB Picks: Cubs vs. Brewers Series Predictions
The way things have played out among these two teams over the years we're thinking Zambrano and the Cubs will take Friday night's series opener, and Gallardo and the Brewers will be heavy favorites for Sunday's game. So the key to winning this series might come down to Saturday's game. Milwaukee’s unfamiliarity with Garza should be an advantage to Chicago, so we'll take the underdog in this series getting a small price and go with the Cubs.
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