MLB Picks Today, Best Bets, Predictions for Saturday, June 29, 2024

Justin Steele
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 04: Justin Steele #35 of the Chicago Cubs reacts after striking out a batter to end the top of the seventh against the San Francisco Giants at Wrigley Field on September 04, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

Yesterday was depressing. I felt good about the slate, saw plenty of CLV, and it looked suitable for a minute, and then the wheels fell off. The Red Sox had to close out the bottom of the order to win, but they allowed nine runs in the top of the fifth. The Rangers had nine hard-hit balls against Albert Suarez (95 MPH+), and only three were hits, and they were all singles.

Those aren’t excuses; if a play loses, a play loses; I’m just frustrated. I was upset last night, but this morning, I’m ready to go, as we have a new day to be great.

These picks are available on BetMGM. Code “JustBaseball” for a first bet offer up to $1500

2024 Record: 70-81 (-14.99 U)

Chicago Cubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers @ 4:10 PM EST

Pitching Matchup: Justin Steele (3.08 ERA) vs. Tobias Myers (3.12 ERA)

As soon as I looked at the board, this game stood out. Today, Justin Steele is an underdog against an inexperienced pitcher due for regression. I saw that the Cubs were favored through the first five innings but were underdogs in the entire game. I had flashbacks to the Guardians vs. Royals bet that we lost, and it was priced precisely like this.

At first, I was hesitant to back the Cubs. They are 4-6 in their last ten games and coming off a loss. The Brewers have won five straight games, so just on the surface, it takes some willpower to back this team.

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While the Brewers have won five in a row, I don’t see a team on fire. They lost two of three to the Padres (they won the last game), swept a struggling Rangers team at home, and then won yesterday. This team has two grand slams in their previous two games and an inside-the-park home run, and they’ve only won the last three games by a combined five runs.

The Brewers are also an electric offense against right-handers but have cooled off against lefties this season. Against lefties this year, the Brewers rank 19th in wRC+ (94), 21st in OPS (.676), 13th in 23rd in ISO (.129), and 20th in Hard-Hit rate.

In the last two weeks, they rank 19th in wRC+, OPS, and 28th in Hard-Hit Rate. If you look at the scores from their win streak, their lowest output game was against Andrew Heaney; they faced right-handers in every other game.

Justin Steele has dominated the Brewers when he’s faced them. He already has a seven-inning shutout against them this season. Last year, he threw 18 innings against them and allowed just three earned runs. Through 98 PA against their current roster, he’s posted a 30.8% strikeout rate with a .323 xwOBA against.

Steele has also performed better on the road this season, posting a 2.50 ERA, and opponents are hitting .198 against him. His K-BB ratio for his career is also higher on the road than at home.

He’s also been on a tear lately. Once he returned from injury, he got off to a slow start. He has three rough starts against the Pirates and the Braves, who have had his number. Since then, he’s recorded 39 innings, struck out 42, and posted a 1.38 ERA. We see the same Justin Steele that had him almost winning last year’s CY Young.

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Tobias Myers lines up on the other side. His 3.12 ERA outperforms his 4.14 SIERA, 3.86 xERA, 4.40 FIP, and 4.14 xFIP. He’s been on such a good run that it’s time to fade. Sooner or later, he will get hit, and, funny enough, the Cubs have already done it this season. They bounced him early, putting up four runs against him in three innings. It makes sense, as his pitch mix is something the Cubs prefer.

Against right-handed fastballs, cutters, and sliders, the Cubs rank 9th in xwOBA. If we look at just right-handed fastballs and cutters (65% of his arsenal), the Cubs rank sixth in xwOBA. It wasn’t lucky they hit him the first time; it’s a good matchup for Chicago.

Myers has had little success at home this season. He’s made four starts and posted a 5.12 ERA and a 5.63 FIP in those starts.

The Cubs are generally fine against righties overall. They have a 97 wRC+ and a .681 OPS against righties with a 29.9% Hard-Hit rate. Those aren’t elite, but they are better than the Brewers are against lefties. They’ve been better lately, posting a 101 wRC+ in June and a 103 wRC+ over the last two weeks.

In this matchup, the Cubs have the better pitcher, and based on the splits at hand, they have the better numbers on offense. That’s why they are favored through the first five innings. We could go that route, but we’d be paying 20 cents more to not deal with this Cubs bullpen.

I’m no fan of this bullpen, but I can at least sleep soundly, knowing we have the best arms available. Tyson Miller (2.15 ERA), Porter Hodge (1.80 ERA), Hector Neris (4.40 ERA), and Luke Little (3.97 ERA). If the Cubs blow another lead, I’ll have to tip my cap. Play the Cubs to (-110).

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The Pick: Cubs ML (+100) Risk 1 Unit