The Cubs have a pretty easy go of it down the stretch with upcoming series against below .500 teams that include the Reds, Blue Jays, Phillies, Braves, and Mets. One thing you have to do though with a cupcake schedule like this – win the games.
The Cubs take on the Reds for the Thursday 8/17 free MLB pick a night after nearly blowing a 6-1 sixth inning lead. Chicago won the game on the unprecedented 9th inning walk-off wild pitch to regain momentum heading into the series finale. The Reds were able to capture game two of the series 2-1 after being pummeled 15-5 in the opener on Monday.
8/17 Free MLB Picks Starting Pitchers
The Reds send Scott Feldman (7-7) to the mound making only his second start since July 17th after being put on the shelf for a knee injury. He lasted only 4 innings in his return on August 12th, giving up 3 runs on 7 hits in a loss to Milwaukee. Understandably Feldman should have some rust knocked off in his second start since coming back. The right-hander has had VERY mixed results in his two starts against the Cubs this year. On June 30th Feldman pitched 7 innings of shut-out, two-hit ball in a 5-0 Reds win at home. On May 17th in Chicago however the Cubs knocked out Feldman in the 3rd inning after putting up 7 runs on 5 hits.
The Cubs counter with Jon Lester (8-7). The left-hander has pitched into the 7th inning in only one of his last three starts and hasn’t notched a win since July 27th. You’d think a matchup with Cincinnati would be good for what ails you with Lester but he’s allowed 8 ER in nearly 12 IP against the Reds in 2017. The 8/17 Free MLB Pick screams Cubs, but the 8/17 Free MLB Pick has the potential on paper to really go either way – especially if Lester struggles with base runners and his ‘yips’ throwing to first base.
— Brian Tulloch (@2lockSports) August 17, 2017
Free MLB Pick 8/17 Betting Angles and Variables
Oddsmakers have listed the Cubs as -210 ML favorites behind Lester. In comparison, they were -235 favorites last night with the much more unstable John Lackey on the mound. As of 8AM the wind was blowing out to center in Wrigley at a whopping 17 MPH so fans in the bleachers better shield their beers from a flurry of potential home run balls. Jon Lester is 27th in the MLB in ground ball outs which bodes well for him in the wind today. Another interesting tidbit is that the Reds’ biggest offensive threat Joey Votto has never hit a HR off Lester but the Cubs have only hit one combined against Feldman.
So what does the ultimate play come down to? Quite simply put, a Reds win is unacceptable for Chicago today. The Cubs are on a home stand with both the Brewers (-1.5) and Cardinals (-2.5) hot on their heels in the NL Central. Chicago hasn’t put up good numbers against Feldman, but only six players on the roster have faced him more than five times. Expect Feldman to have the advantage early, but for the Cubs bats to get to him the second time around the order.
Pick: Chicago -210
— Bookie Murder (@BookieMurder) August 17, 2017