St.Louis Cardinals @ Chicago Cubs 7/20/23 Free Pick, MLB Odds, MLB Predictions

St.Louis Cardinals (43-53) at Chicago Cubs (45-50)

Game Info: Thursday, July 20th, 2023 at  8:05 p.m. EST (Wrigley Field)

Betting Odds: Cubs ML (-125) - Over/Under (9.5)

Pick: Cubs ML (-125)

Thursday night takes us to one of the most historic ballparks in baseball for the opening game of a four game weekend series between these two National League Central division rivals. As the St. Louis Cardinals travel north to Chicago to play the Chicago Cubs in one of the most historic and oldest rivalries in all of Major League Baseball. 

The St.Louis Cardinals came into the 2023 Major League Baseball season with a ton of expectations, but it is fair to say that this team has been a complete disappointment so far this season. They come into this game well below 500 and it doesn’t make it look any better when they play in the second-worst division in all of baseball this season. However, St. Louis is coming off of a successful series where they swept the Miami Marlins in three games to start the week and cap off their homestand. They will be hoping to parlay the momentum from that series into the four games this weekend against their divisional rivals. A couple more wins over Chicago would be huge for them as they look to climb their way back into the playoff race as we head into the stretch run of the season.

Steven Matz will be starting this game for the St. Louis Cardinals and he’s having a rough season. He has yet to record a win on the year and he has seven losses on his record, and he will be looking to turn it around in the opening game of the series against the Chicago Cubs on the road. His Earned Run Average has ballooned to nearly 5 as he comes into this start with it sitting at 4.86 on the season. St.Louis is one of the hottest teams in the league at the moment as they are currently on a five-game winning streak, and they have picked up eight victories in their last 10 games of the season. Despite their current streak of solid play, they are 10 games below .500 coming into the opening game of the series. As they have a record of 43-53 through their first 96 games of the season. 

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The Chicago Cubs come into this game in the middle of a disappointing season as well, as both of these teams could certainly use the leverage of getting a series. Victory over the weekend would give them. Chicago is in the middle of the pack of the National League Central division as they come into this game with a record of 45-50 and seven and a half games out of first place behind the Milwaukee Brewers. Chicago is coming off of a series victory against the Washington Nationals where they took two out of three games at home at the beginning of the week. They will be looking to use the momentum from that series victory and grab some much-needed victories over their divisional rivals throughout the weekend.

Marcus Stroman is expected to take the mound for the Chicago Cubs in the opening game of the series and that gives Chicago the advantage in the starting pitching matchup on Thursday night. That is because Stroman has been significantly better than Steven Matz has up until this point of the season. Chicago comes into this game with five victories in their last 10 games on the season and they are currently on a two game winning streak as well. These two teams have met five times already this season and St.Louis leads the season series with three victories, but Chicago has picked up a victory in two out of the last three games. 

Betting trends to consider in this matchup:

- St.Louis is 4-16 when Steven Matz is starting

- Matz has faced the Cubs once this season; L (9-1)

- St.Louis is 21-27 on the road this season

The Chicago Cubs control the starting pitching matchup in the opening game of the series, which makes them the favorites for me here on Thursday night. As I look for Steven Matz’s struggles to follow him to the Windy City and for the Chicago Cubs to take full advantage of that here in the opening game of this four game weekend series. I also expect Stroman to heavily impact the outcome of this game with a quality start that lasts deep into the middle innings of the game.

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