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The Cardinals and Cubs open a five-game series at Wrigley Field on Thursday, and MLB expert Mike Spector weighs in with his best game prop wager for the first game of the season in this rivalry.

Chicago Cubs vs St. Louis Cardinals Prediction: Will Both Starting Pitchers Dominate Early?

If you ask most fans what the best rivalry in Major League Baseball is, the most popular answer you would get is Yankees-Red Sox. However, those in the Midwest would tell you it is the St. Louis Cardinals vs. Chicago Cubs, no matter how many games separate the teams in the standings. 

The Cardinals and Cubs meet for the first of 19 times at Wrigley Field on Thursday night. St. Louis is playing its best baseball of the season, entering off a three-game sweep of the Padres and winning nine of its last 12. The Cubs also feel good about themselves, rallying to win the final two games of a four-game series with the Brewers after dropping the first two.

Is there value on any of the full-game odds and lines for tonight’s matchup, or does the better value lie with a three-innings prop?

Read on for our prediction, best play, and the odds for Thursday’s series opener between the Cardinals and Cubs.

Cubs vs. Cardinals Start Time and Where to Watch

  • Date: June 2, 2022
  • Game Time: 8:05 pm ET
  • Where to Watch: BSM, BSKC, MLB Extra Innings

Click Here for Cubs vs Cardinals Odds

Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals Prediction

The numbers that Cubs starter Keegan Thompson has put up thus far are eye-popping. Thompson is one of 27 pitchers with at least five wins, but of those 27, he is one of just four with zero losses. However, Thompson has thrown the second-fewest innings (40) of all pitchers with at least five wins, as his role has switched from solely a long reliever in April to primarily a starter in May. 

Early indications from Cubs brass are that their plan for Thompson is for him to return to a relief role now that most of Chicago’s starters are healthy. Pitching coach Tommy Hottovy said, “His versatility is so valuable, not only for us but for him. But also it allows us to help manage the workload for him and pick the right spots to use him.” That certainly sounds like a team whose plan is to continue to limit his workload in his second full season, and by using him in short spurts, Thompson can focus on giving max effort, knowing he would likely only face the opposing hitters two times a game.

Thompson has only thrown five innings twice in 11 appearances and was even removed after 65 pitches after five scoreless innings of four-hit ball in a May 17th start against Pittsburgh. For that reason, we prefer to play the first three innings under, as Thompson should have the edge over a Cardinals lineup that dominates lefties (first in wRC+, first in wOBA, fifth in BB/K rate) but is mediocre against righties. 

The Cardinals counter with Matthew Liberatore (1-0, 3.72), who is making just his third Major League start. Unfortunately, there is not much film that the Cubs can use to put together a solid scouting report on the rookie, so Liberatore should also have the advantage for at least the first time through the lineup.

Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals Pick

PICK: Cardinals-Cubs First Three Innings Total UNDER 2.5 Runs (-115) (Bet $115 to win $100)

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Article Author


Mike Spector brings unmatched knowledge and insight into the game of football, and more importantly the process of betting on NFL football. Mike is the #2 ranked expert in FantasyPros' NFL betting contest


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