The second entry of this three-game series gets underway Saturday with the NL Central’s Chicago Cubs hosting the NL West’s Colorado Rockies as heavy MLB odds favorites.
Chicago won the first matchup in dominating fashion with a 6-0 victory as it continues to fight for that final wild-card spot.
Will the Cubs take care of business once again, or can the Rockies pull off the upset on the road? Find out in our free MLB picks and predictions for Rockies vs. Cubs on Saturday, September 23.
Rockies vs Cubs odds
Rockies vs Cubs predictions
The Colorado Rockies hand the ball to right-hander Chris Flexen in this matchup, and he should be a good fade candidate. It’s been a tough year for Flexen, who’s 1-8 with a 7.19 ERA and 1.71 WHIP through 27 appearances on the mound.
His underlying metrics suggest that positive regression is unlikely, as the right-hander ranks in the fourth percentile in xERA and third percentile in xBA. Flexen also struggles in the strikeout department, ranking in the 35th percentile in chase%, 25th percentile in whiff%, and 10th percentile in K%.
The Chicago Cubs continue to lean on their strong lineup in this playoff race. Currently, they rank in the Top 9 of the league in runs scored per game, hits per game, and OPS.
Chicago also does a good job at avoiding strikeouts, ranking 13th in K% when facing right-handed pitching this year. Looking at Saturday’s projected starting lineup, five of the nine hitters possess a K% south of 22%.
This strikeout avoidance is likely to continue against Flexen, against whom this lineup owns a mere 16.2 K% and 20.5 whiff% through 37 career plate appearances.
My best bet: Chris Flexen Under 4.5 Strikeouts (-165)
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Rockies vs Cubs same-game parlay
We already covered the first leg in the best bet section above, now let’s take a look at the other two.
Right-hander Marcus Stroman makes his return to the rotation in this matchup after two relief appearances to tune him up following a month-and-a-half absence due to multiple injuries. The bullpen work went fine, but we must remember that he was struggling mightily in the starting role prior to those injuries.
Over his past nine appearances, Stroman is 1-4 with an 8.18 ERA and 1.85 WHIP. However, he’s still the better starting pitcher in this contest both statistically and analytically.
Meanwhile, the Cubs’ clearest advantage is in the hitting department, pacing Colorado in every hitting category across the board.
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Rockies vs Cubs moneyline and Over/Under analysis
The Cubs opened as a –200 favorite and have since been bet up to their current price of -245. That's a big number, especially with Stroman’s struggles prior to his injuries, but this market reaction makes sense considering there’s really not a single advantage the Rockies possess in this game.
That brings us to the total, which opened at 9 and has since been bet down to 8.5. I would have thought the market would respect the fact that Chicago could hang nine runs on Flexen by itself, but the Rockies’ terrible hitting has most likely brought this line down.
Additionally, Stroman has looked sharp in his two relief appearances since returning from injury, so perhaps the time away from pitching is what he needed to turn things around.
Trend to know
Colorado has lost each of its past five games. Find more MLB betting trends for Rockies vs. Cubs
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Rockies vs Cubs game info
|Location:||Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL|
|Date:||Saturday, September 23, 2023|
|First pitch:||2:20 p.m. ET|
|TV:||AT&T Rocky Mountain, Marquee|
Chris Flexen (1-8, 7.19 ERA): With all due respect, Flexen has been one of the worst pitchers in baseball this season. Colorado has tried utilizing him as both a reliever and a starter, but nothing seems to have struck a chord. If the Rockies weren’t 56-97, he probably would be in Triple-A right now.
Marcus Stroman (10-8, 3.76 ERA): Stroman started the campaign off strong before hitting a mighty rough patch over the middle months. However, his last start in July resulted in a trip to the IL with right hip inflammation (which was lengthened due to a fractured rib). He made his return last week in a series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, appearing in relief twice to ramp up his pitching, and is now set to make his first starts in six weeks.
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