Chicago Cubs at Milwaukee Brewers
First pitch: 1:40 p.m. ET
Probable pitchers: Jake Arrieta (2-0, 2.25 ERA) vs. Corbin Burnes (0-1, 0.73 ERA)
Many did not anticipate this early renaissance from Arrieta in his return to the Cubs. Likewise, many were skeptical about the emergence of Burnes a year ago when he nearly ended up as a finalist for the National League Cy Young Award.
Both are proving they are very much still legitimate and that’s the foundation for how to bet the total of this series finale.
If not for a late-season injury in 2020, Burnes would have been in the running for pitching’s top individual hardware. Even so, he enjoyed a fantastic campaign, engineering a 2.11 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in nine starts (and three relief appearances) while limiting opposing hitters to quite a puny .174 batting average, which was fifth best in all of baseball. He also crafted the third-highest strikeout rate (13.27 K/9).
Though he enters today’s outing at “0-1,” Burnes hasn’t missed a beat from last season, maestro-ing an even more absurd strikeout rate (14.59 K/9) and not walking a single batter. He’s been absolutely dominant, in fact, yielding only a pair of hits total across his two starts. Unfortunately, one was a solo homer and that was the reason for his lone decision.
In any event, Burnes has been completely on his game and that’s something to look forward to as he takes his next turn. Making things sweeter, he’ll be meeting familiar hitters whom he’s had success against. Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras are collectively a combined 2-for-28 in their careers off Burnes. That’s a .071 average.
Arrieta, meanwhile, can do the rest in helping pace a relative quietly ballgame. The 12-year veteran is enjoying a revitalization in his second go-around with the Cubbies, beginning the year with a couple of quality starts (albeit opposite the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates batting order).
Still, an Arrieta in rhythm, which clearly appears to be the case, can be useful for any under bet, let alone one when he’s squaring off with an elite arm like Burnes.
We can also benefit from Arrieta’s track record against the Brewers, especially when pitching on the road at Miller Park... er, American Family Field, where he’s he 4-1 in seven lifetime assignments with a 2.76 ERA — this is actually the third-lowest ERA Arrieta has posted in any ballpark he’s started at more than twice.
Furthermore, this will be a considerably banged-up Milwaukee lineup taking their swings, as Christian Yelich (back) and Lorenzo Cain (quad) are on the sidelines. As a result, starting pitching will dictate.
MLB Expert Picks
UNDER 7.5 @ -107 (Click to bet)
MLB Free Picks
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Wednesday's MLB Leans
Red Sox-Twins Under 6 (Game 2)
Padres-Pirates Under 7.5
Rangers-Rays Under 8
2021 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: 6-7, -1.92 units
Yesterday’s Result: Mariners-Orioles Under 6.5 — Game 1 (“loss”)
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit