MLB Odds: Cubs Host Nationals in Big-Time Matchup

They’re the top two teams in the Major League Baseball standings, but there’s a sizeable gap in quality between the Chicago Cubs (20-6, +9.78 betting units) and the Washington Nationals (19-8, +7.46 units). They’ll meet Friday afternoon in Game 2 of a four-game set at Wrigley Field, starting at 2:20 PM ET on the MLB Network.

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Chicago has the best batting order in the majors at 8.1 WAR (Wins Above Replacement), while Washington sits in the middle of the pack at No. 15 with 3.2 WAR. However, Friday’s pitching matchup should be favorable for the Nats. Former Cy Young winner Max Scherzer (3.75 FIP) is scheduled to take the mound opposite John Lackey (3.31 FIP).

Scherzer hasn’t been at his best this year, but Washington is 4-2 in his six starts for 0.20 units of profit, and Scherzer threw seven scoreless innings against the St. Louis Cardinals in his last game after making some corrections to his mechanics. Lackey has Chicago at 3-2 in his five starts for a deficit of 0.69 units; he’s benefited from a .278 BABIP, but the Cubs have left just 61% of his runners on base, both career lows.

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