The Chicago Cubs will look to increase their lead in the NL Central standings as they visit the St. Louis Cardinals in the opener of their three-game weekend series at the Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri.

St. Louis meanwhile will try to get back in the divisional title race as they hope to gain ground on the division-leading Cubs whom they currently trail by 9 games.

Best In the National League

The Cubs have been very good this season as they own the fifth best record in the Majors and the best record in the National League at 60-42. Much of Chicago’s success can be attributed to their offense which is one of the best in the entire league. The Cubs’ .347 on-base percentage is the best in the league while their .266 batting average ranks second overall. Meanwhile, the Cubs’ slugging percentage of .422 is 9th in the league and their 511 runs scored this season are 5th most in the league.

Javier Baez leads the Cubs with 19 home runs and 74 RBIs. But he’s listed as day-to-day with an upper leg injury. Baez was not in Thursday’s lineup against Arizona. In his absence, it was David Bote and Anthony Rizzo who provided the home runs which pushed the Cubs to a come from behind 7-6 win over the Diamondbacks.

Although their pitchers have been solid, the Cubs’ pitching hasn’t been as impressive as their offense. Their 3.71 ERA ranks 8th in the league while their opponents batting an average of .266 is 7th overall. The Cubs WHIP of 1.34 ranks only 20th in the league.

Mike Montgomery gets the start for Chicago on Friday. The 29-year-old lefty from Mission Hills, CA is 3-3 with an ERA of 3.71 in 10 games started. In his last start on 7/21 against the Cardinals, Montgomery allowed just one run in six innings, working around five hits, two walks and three strikeouts. But Montgomery got a no-decision after the bullpen failed to come through for him. The Cubs lost the game 6-3 but that was on the bullpen, not Montgomery.

What’re the Odds?

Chicago Cubs vs St. Louis Cardinals 7/27/18
Odds: Chicago -105, St. Louis -115
(Odds at Betway as of 7/26/18)

Getting Back In The Hunt

While the Cubs try to solidify their lead in the NL Central, the St. Louis Cardinals are looking to get back in the title hunt. The Cardinals have not played well since the All-Star break and that has seen them fall to fourth place in their division. St. Louis has lost three of their last four games and they hope to get back on track with a win in their series opener against the Cubs.

The Cardinals’ offense has struggled in recent weeks. Overall, they are 14th in the league in batting average at .246. They are 16th in on base percentage and slugging percentage at .318 and .404, respectively. St. Louis has driven in a total of 455 runs this season, good for 15th place in MLB.

Leading the St. Louis offense is Matt Carpenter and Jose Martinez. Carpenter leads the Cardinals with 25 homers while Martinez leads the team in RBIs at 57 and batting average at .295. Carpenter is batting 43-168 (.256) at Busch Stadium II this season with 9 homers and 19 RBIs.

In terms of pitching, the Cardinals are 13th in ERA at 3.94 and 16th in WHIP at 1.32. St. Louis’ opponents batting average of .244 ranks 14th in the league. Getting the start for the Cardinals on Friday will be right-hander Luke Weaver. Weaver is 5-9 with an ERA of 4.79 in 20 starts this season.

Weaver allowed three earned runs in seven hits in four innings against the Cubs on 7/21. Chicago won that game 7-2 with Weaver getting his 9th loss of the season. If the Cardinals want to win on Friday, they will need a better effort from Weaver.

Who Wins This?

Chicago has been good on the road in their last five games, losing just once. They have also been playing well recently against NL Central opponents, going 5-2 in their last seven games against their division rivals. The Cubs are also 6-1 in their last seven series openers with Montgomery starting.

On the other hand, the Cardinals are 1-7 in their last 8 home games and winless in their last four games against teams with winning records. As for Weaver, the Cards are just 1-4 in his last starts at home.

Betting Prediction

We’re picking the Chicago Cubs to beat the St. Louis Cardinals on 7/27/18.

Place Your Bet Here

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