Chicago Cubs @ Milwaukee Brewers
Sunday July 30, 11:10 PM (BST)
The top teams in the National League Central division clash in the third and decisive game of their weekend series. It has been even so far with one win apiece, both games finishing 2-1. The battle for the NL Central remains fierce, four teams in with a chance of making the post-season and a win here will be a big result for either team.
The Brewers, chasing the divisional leaders Cubs by three wins, send their best starter on the mound in the Sunday night's decider. Zach Davies, who is 12-4 in the season, has won all of his four starts in July and posted a significantly improved ERA of 3.09 without allowing an earned run in past two games.
Cubs go with 17-season veteran John Lackey, who has not impressed as of late. He is 7-9 with an ERA of 4.97 and unlikely to last for more than five innings. This could spell trouble for the Cubs, who already had to overwork their bullpen in last night's 11-inning effort. Against a team heavily relying on homeruns, Lackey's fourth most homeruns allowed in the entire league might prove costly as well.
While Brewers do rely on their home run capacity, they've somewhat struggled in the last couple of games - although they've played against some great defensive teams. Brewers are still second in home runs and eighth in overall scoring, while Cubs are mediocre in both stats.
The Betfair market heavily favours the visiting Chicago Cubs, with odds of [1.84] on the away win. The value, however, lies in the Brewers home win with hefty odds of [2.14].
In Accuscore simulations, the set-up is turned upside down. The Brewers win 55.5% of all simulations while the odds only indicate a probability of 46.7%.
Value bets should be placed for Brewers at odds down to [1.81] and on the Cubs at odds of [2.25] or better.
Brewers score on average 4.8 runs in the simulations, relying heavily on home run capacity of Travis Shaw and Eric Thames, who both have a 30% chance of hitting a homer. Ryan Braun and Jonathan Villar also score a run with over 60% likelihood. Chicago hangs in there with 4.5 runs on average, with their scoring potential evenly spread through the lineup. Anthony Rizzo is the most likely to homer with 24%, while Jayson Hayward and Kris Bryant provide support with approx.. 60% chance of scoring a run.
Cubs starter Lackey is likely to have a difficult game, allowing more than five hits in less than five innings, with more than three earned runs allowed. He allows on average 1.11 home runs. Brewers starter Davies is likely to last for up to six innings and allow less than three runs. The relievers are evenly matched on both sides.
It's yet another game likely to be decided by smallest of margins and once again we put our faith in the hands of Milwaukee's heavy hitters.