Brewers vs Cubs Predictions, Picks, Odds: Chicago Impresses With Remodeled Lineup

With Corbin Burnes coming off a rough spring and Chicago loading up on bats in the offseason, we're loving the plus-money odds on the Cubbies on opening day. Read more in our Brewers vs. Cubs betting picks.

Last Updated: Mar 30, 2023 9:18 AM ET Read Time: 4 min
Dansby Swanson Chicago Cubs MLB
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

It’s opening day at Wrigley Field and the visiting Milwaukee Brewers come in as -145 road faves against the Chicago Cubs on the back of starting ace Corbin Burnes.

The home side will start Marcus Stroman, who is fresh off of the World Baseball Classic and had a solid spring with a sub-1.00 ERA in three outings.

With the starting pitching matchup heavily priced in here but both starters likely on pitch counts, is this line overvaluing Burnes and the Brewers against a Chicago team that has the better batting lineup? 

Find out where my best bets lie in our free MLB picks and predictions for Brewers vs. Cubs on March 30.

Brewers vs Cubs odds

Brewers vs Cubs predictions

With pitch counts and adjustments to be made with the newly implemented pitch clock, today might be a great spot to fade Corbin Burnes and the Milwaukee Brewers.

While Burnes is an elite pitcher, he was one of the slowest in terms of tempo with empty bases and runners on. With the game speeding up, it will take him a bit of an adjustment period to get used to the MLB's new 2023 rules.

Burnes’ spring numbers also weren’t great, finishing with an ERA close to 5.00, as well as a K/9 lower than 9.0.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Cubs have made big improvements to this offense during the offseason, adding star shortstop Dansby Swanson, former NL MVP Cody Bellinger, and veteran slugger Trey Mancini.

Marcus Stroman has looked solid in the spring and in the WBC. The groundball pitcher should pitch to the weakness of the Brewers and keep the middle of the order on the ground. 

Chicago even has the edge in relief pitching, with the Brewers losing three solid options in Taylor Rogers, Brad Boxberger, and Trevor Gott during free agency. With both starters likely on sub-90 pitch counts, middle relief could play a big factor here and is a strength of the Cubs.

Burnes has some angles I’m looking to fade early in the season and this Chicago team might be underrated with a solid lineup and pitching depth in the pen. I’ll take the Stro-show on opening day at +127.

My best betCubs moneyline (+127 at Pinnacle)

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Brewers vs Cubs moneyline analysis

An afternoon of opening-day baseball at Wrigley Field — what more could you ask for? How about some plus money moneyline action on the home side?

Burnes hasn’t had the greatest spring with some low strikeout numbers (16 over 19 innings) and a 1.47 WHIP. He has a bad taste in his mouth from his arbitration case with the club and also has some things to adjust to with the pitch clock. Burnes also ranked as the third-slowest (tempo between pitches) pitcher in baseball last year (min. 500 pitches) with bases empty, and was the 15th-slowest with runners on base. 

On the other side, Marcus Stroman has had a solid spring. He represented Puerto Rico in the WBC and got two games and nine innings of elite competition under his belt and posted a .212 batting average against (BAA). He also made three spring starts and finished with a sub-1.00 ERA. His sinker has been heavily used in the past so he should have no problem keeping the ball on the ground against a weak lineup. 

Stroman has a better than 50% groundball rate and outside of Christian Yelich, only Rowdy Tellez projects to have an OPS of .800 or better for the Brew Crew this season.

I do like the Chicago offense more heading into the season. The Cubbies starting nine has six players who were acquired in the offense which include Swanson, Mancini, Bellinger, and Eric Hosmer. Even with Seiya Suzuki on the shelf, Ian Happ, Nico Hoerner, and Patrick Wisdom also make this a more dangerous lineup than the one Milwaukee is rolling out. 

Chicago might even have the edge in the bullpen. Milwaukee lost plenty of arms in the offseason, while the Cubs boast electric right-hander Javier Assad, who was throwing absolute heat during the WBC for Mexico.

With Burnes being priced in heavily and having some possible adjustments to make, I’m riding the Cubs at +127 in the afternoon opener. 

Brewers vs Cubs Over/Under analysis

Betting totals at Wrigley is no easy task. It is a unique park that has swirling winds that can be tough to predict but certainly play into the total. 

When the winds are blowing out, the Over has hit at nearly 64% over the last 17 seasons while the Under has hit in 59% of the games when the wind is blowing in. The reason for this is the low bleachers that allow the winds to play with flyballs more so than in other parks. 

Under bettors can feel safe on Thursday with Stroman taking the bump for Chicago. Only four other qualified pitchers had a better ground ball rate than Stroman last year, and his sinker is among the game's best. 

Burnes also gets plenty of ground balls for a high-K pitcher at 47%. He threw his cutter 55% of the time last season and batters hit just .213 off of it. Burnes' next most-used pitch is his curveball and he boasted a BAA of .127 with an expected batting average of .118 with it.

Considering we’re seeing six games with a total lower than this on opening day, I’m leaning on the Under 7.5. This total has already seen a 10-point swing to the Under since opening. 

Brewers vs Cubs game info

Location: Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL
Date: Thursday, March 30, 2023
First pitch: 2:20 p.m. ET
TV: Bally Wisconsin, Marquee Network

Brewers vs Cubs betting preview

Starting pitchers

Corbin Burnes (0-0, 0.00 ERA): Burnes has the second shortest NL Cy Young odds but is facing contract distractions and struggled in the spring with a 4.74 ERA and 1.47 WHIP in 19 innings, which include just 16 punchouts. The Milwaukee ace threw 83 pitches in an opening-day loss to the Cubs last season.  

Marcus Stroman (0-0, 0.00 ERA): Marcus Stroman is coming off a WBC showing where he allowed just three earned runs (two home runs) over nine innings. The Stro Show also made three spring starts where he posted a 0.90 ERA with a 10/3 K/BB ratio over 10 innings. He saw 23 batters in his last outing but never got to 90 total pitches until his fifth start last season. 

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The Brewers are 1-4 in their last five meetings in Chicago. Find more MLB betting trends for Brewers vs. Cubs


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