Cubs vs Brewers Picks and Predictions: Milwaukee Waits Out Justin Steele

While Milwaukee starter Eric Lauer has struggled mightily since the beginning of June, his Cubs counterpart, Justin Steele, does not match up well against the Brewers' patient lineup. We're targeting this as a high-scoring affair.

Last Updated: Jul 4, 2022 11:55 AM ET Read Time: 4 min
Willy Adames Milwaukee Brewers MLB
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

It's an Independence Day affair in Milwaukee when the Milwaukee Brewers host the Chicago Cubs. 

The Cubs are coming off a series loss to the Boston Red Sox but have still managed to win six of their last 10. The Brewers have won seven of 10 and the offense has come alive. 

Who will grab the series opener? Find out in our MLB betting picks and predictions for Monday, July 4, 2022.

Cubs vs Brewers odds

This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.

The Brewers opened as -160 favorites with the Cubs returning at around +135. Since then, the Cubs have taken a little money and have fallen to as low as +125 in some spots. 

The total opened up at 9 and has stayed there by this writing.

Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right up until first pitch and be sure to check out the full MLB odds before placing your bets.

Cubs vs Brewers predictions

Picks made on 7/4/2022 at 11:00 a.m. ET.
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.

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Cubs vs Brewers game info

Location: American Family Field, Milwaukee, WI
Date: Monday, July 4, 2022
First pitch: 4:10 p.m. ET
TV: Marquee Sports Network, Bally Sports Wisconsin

Cubs vs Brewers betting preview

Starting pitchers

Justin Steele (3-5, 4.39 ERA): It's been an up-and-down season, but the peripherals remain high on Steele. His xERA is around 3.50 and suggests that positive regression is coming at some point. His biggest issue seems to be that he gives up a high contact rate, even if he does an excellent job of avoiding hard contact. In addition, his whiff rate, K rate, and chase rate are below league average. In spite of these issues, he's been a slightly above-average pitcher, allowing just 10 earned runs in over 29 innings in June. 

Eric Lauer (6-3, 4.02 ERA): To open the season, Lauer had an ERA a tick below 3.00 after two months of action. Then June arrived and so did Lauer's struggles. He posted an eye-popping 6.83 ERA in June, thanks in large part to eight home runs. Teams have feasted on his fastballs and cutters, with both posting a run value below league average. 


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Key injuries

Betting trend to know

Home favorites have won over 60% of their games over the past seven days. Find more MLB betting trends for Cubs vs. Brewers

Cubs vs Brewers picks and predictions

Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.

Moneyline analysis

Trusting either of these pitchers is a risky endeavor. Steele hasn't done well against any team that shows patience at the plate. And, at least over the last month, Lauer hasn't done well against anybody. That said, I'm going to reluctantly back the Brewers here. 

Milwaukee isn't an easy team to solve because of how inconsistent they've been at the plate. Lately, though, it seems they have settled into a bit of a groove. The Brewers have scored the most runs in baseball over the past three games. Of course, this number was heavily influenced by their 19-run outburst against the Pittsburgh Pirates a few days ago. That aside, the Brewers have scored four or more runs in eight of their last nine games. I like that trend to continue today.

There are some legitimate concerns about Lauer on the mound and it's easy to understand why the Cubs have taken a bit of early money. The southpaw was awful in June, but you have to expect him to have a bit of positive regression now. The Cubs don't hit the ball hard and have a barrel rate that rates in the bottom half of the league.

The Brewers have the better matchup against Steele. Until he improves his walk rate and general command, I cannot back him against teams that are patient at the plate. There's nothing more indicative of that than Steele's last big blowup game against the Pirates, who have the lowest swing rate in baseball and the seventh-lowest chase rate. They forced him into favorable counts, drew walks, and saw hittable pitches. I expect the Brewers to do the same. They rank second in chase rate and have the fourth-lowest swing rate in baseball. 

I want to make sure we use the bullpen advantage the Brewers have here in case Lauer has another lousy start. Because of that, I will pay the juice on the entire game moneyline versus the first five despite it being a bit pricey.

Prediction: Brewers moneyline (-140 at Draftkings)

Over/Under analysis

Too many scenarios result in this one going Over the posted total. 

This isn't too complicated. We have two pitchers on the mound who are expected to give up runs. Even though I'm backing Lauer today, it doesn't come with much confidence based on his recent run of poor results. The Cubs will be itching to put up some runs on the scoreboard after failing to capitalize on some good matchups over the past few days.

As previously mentioned, they get a matchup that virtually everyone has been able to capitalize on lately. Cubs like Ian Happ, Yan Gomes, and a few others have also had historical success against Lauer. 

On the opposite side, the Brewers will force Steele to show that he has command of the strike zone. He hasn't been able to do that very often this season with a walk rate in the Bottom 30th percentile in baseball, but free passes are only really half the equation.

Even when a plate appearance doesn't result in a walk, patient hitters are getting into favorable counts and forcing Steele to throw pitches over the heart of the plate. That's where he's gotten into trouble and has had some issues with hard-hit balls. The Brewers, with a hard-hit rate at 40%, will be well-positioned to hurt him there. 

My projections have this going over around 65% of the time, a roughly 15% edge on the posted number. I'll happily jump on that.

Prediction: Over 9 (-105 at FanDuel)

Best bet

For today's Best Bet, I wanted to find the best way to target Steele's location issues. To capture this, I came across a same-game parlay that I love. 

To give us the best data behind who will excel today, we took a look at a batter's isolated power numbers when going ahead in the count. 

Isolated power, or ISO, is just a fancy calculation that gives you an idea of how many bases you should expect a batter to hit for extra bases. When going ahead in a count this season, the highest ISO number for a Brewers hitter belongs to Willy Adames. Against left-handers? Also Adames. 

We'll take advantage of this edge and grab him over 1.5 bases. Then, we will combine it with the Under on 5.5 strikeouts for Steele because we have faith in the Brewers' patience at the plate.

Pick: Same-Game Parlay: Willy Adames Over 1.5 bases + Justin Steele Under 5.5 strikeouts (+238 at Fanduel)

MLB parlays

Did you know that if you parlayed today’s MLB Cubs vs. Brewers picks, you could win $103.13 on a $10 bet?

Use our MLB parlay calculator to create your own parlays and see their potential payouts.

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