Scorching Cubs Host Cardinals Thursday

The Cardinals are sizable underdogs against the red-hot Cubs Thursday night, as Carlos Martinez and Kyle Hendricks duel under the lights at Wrigley Field.

St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs
Thu. July 19, 2018 (7:05 p.m. ET)
Opening line: -150 Cubs
Opening total: N/A

Cardinals (48-46)
Avg. Line: -127.9
Season ROI: -7.2 percent

The Cardinals are surrendering 5.5 runs per game in Carlos Martinez’s last 10 starts, going 4-6 SU with a -1.7 run differential. Fading the Redbirds has netted a 23.2 percent return in this span. A good bit of the damage is coming early. Opponents are crossing the plate for 3.1 runs per game through the first five innings.

Can Martinez conjure up some magic at Wrigley? It would be a rare treat. Only one of the last 13 in the Cards’ rotation has put in a quality start to open a road series against NL Central rivals. The OVER is 11-1-1 in this situation, the combined score tallying 12.1 runs per contest.

St. Louis will need to rely on its bats to likely pull of a small upset. The Cards average 4.7 runs per game on the road, going 5-18 when scoring fewer. They are 19-4 touching the plate five times or more.

Cubs (55-38 SU)
Avg. Line: -145.7
Season ROI: 2.3 percent

After sustaining a season-high five-game losing streak in early May, the Cubs are scorching, going 39-23 in their last 62 games. Only the Astros (1.98) own a better run differential in the bigs during this stretch.

Chicago is just 7-12 in Kyle Hendricks’ outings this season, yielding 4.1 runs per game. Consistency is an issue for the right-hander. Hendricks strung together four quality starts in late April through early May, his only consecutive efforts this season. In fact, he’s only earned a pair in his last nine starts, averaging 5.2 frames in this span.

Perhaps a date against St. Louis is the medicine Hendricks needs to get back on track. The Cubs have topped the Cards in his last five starts. In 12 career outings, St. Louis has slugged 10 hits or more once, averaging 3.4 runs on 8.0 knocks per game.

Projected Score: Cardinals 4, Cubs 5