MLB Baseball: San Francisco Giants vs. Chicago Cubs Preview, Prediction & Odds -- Sept. 11, 2021

by Chuck Sommers

Game time: 2:20 p.m. ET
Venue: Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL
Where to watch: NBCS BA, Marquee Sports Network, MLB Network

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks


DraftKings: Giants -180, Cubs +155
BetMGM: NL
Caesars: NL

Season record (entering Friday)
Giants: 90-50 (1st place, NL West)
Cubs: 65-76 (4th place, NL Central)

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Giants - Cubs preview and analysis


Recent form
Giants: Won 6 of 7
Cubs: 8-2 in last 10

Talk about being on fire. The San Francisco Giants have found their stride.

After regaining their lead in the National League West with a chance to increase the lead on the Los Angeles Dodgers this weekend, the Giants have a legit opportunity to make that happen with this three-game series against the Chicago Cubs in Wrigley this weekend.

Game 2 of this set seems like an automatic lock for the Giants. Ace and Cy Young candidate starter Kevin Gausman will get the start on the mound for San Francisco in this afternoon contest.

Gausman has been San Francisco’s top pitcher all season, even when the Giants have a rotation of four really good pitchers and three dominant ones with Logan Webb and Anthony DeSclafani. Throw in Alex Wood’s 10-4 record this season, and who wants to face that rotation?

At time of publishing, the Giants hadn’t even named a starter for their first game on Friday afternoon, but with Johnny Cueto on the IL, it could be Wood. The Cubs will see at least two of that dangerous trio -- Gausman and Webb -- this weekend, which could be a difficult time for Chicago.

The Cubs aren’t going to make a run at the National League Central and are certainly aren’t catching the Milwaukee Brewers, but they’ve won eight of their last 10 and also picked up impressive wins over the Cincinnati Reds this week.

It’s like the Cubs were the Monstars the past few weeks, taking the talents of Anthony Rizzo and spreading the wealth among the clubhouse. Rizzo’s New York Yankees just got manhandled in a four-game sweep at the hands of the Toronto Blue Jays, so nothing’s going right for the Bronx Bombers right now. Try telling people that in June and see how they would’ve reacted.

For the Cubs, Zach Davies will get the start. The right-hander has lost his last four decisions but the team is 3-5 in his last eight starts. Teams have been able to tee off on Davies; he’s given up 14 home runs in his last eight starts with an ERA of 7.54.

Compare that to Gausman in his last seven starts, in which the Giants are 5-2. Gausman has won his past four decisions since losing his previous two with a 3.35 ERA and 43 strikeouts to only nine walks. This matchup seems completely overpowered. Gausman went seven innings in his last start, giving up three runs and striking out nine in a 10-5 win at the Colorado Rockies on Sept. 6.

Prediction


The Cubs’ recent stretch has been impressive, but the pitching has been too good for the Giants, which usually means a world championship is likely. The biggest concern is Gausman has given up some runs (not a lot) but enough to where if Chicago tags him a few times, it could get worrisome. Don’t expect that on this night and be confident in the Giants, winning 6-2.

Betting trends


The Giants are 35-15 (+21.1 net games) in day games this season and are 65-31 (+32.7 net games) against right-handed pitchers.

The Cubs are 6-12 as a home underdog when the moneyline is between +125 and +175.

Players to watch


Giants: Lamonte Wade Jr. has hit the ball well over the last 12 games; he’s batting .355 with an on-base percentage of .474. He’s started in eight of those games, and the Giants are 47-17 when he does start.

Cubs: As the Cubs have been good, so has Jason Heyward. In his last 13 games, Heyward is batting .341 with two homers. One of them was a walk-off three-run shot Sept. 8 against the Reds.

Projected lineup


Giants:
Tommy La Stella (L) 2B
Brandon Belt (L) 1B
Buster Posey (R) C
LaMonte Wade Jr. (L) LF
Brandon Crawford (L) SS
Kris Bryant (R) 3B
Mike Yastrzemski (L) RF
Steven Duggar (L) CF
Kevin Gausman (R)  P

Cubs:
Rafael Ortega (L) CF
Frank Schwindel (R) 1B
Ian Happ (S) LF
Willson Contreras (R) C
Patrick Wisdom (R) 3B
Jason Heyward (L) RF
David Bote (R) 2B
Sergio Alcantara (S) SS
Zach Davies (R) P

Statistical leaders


Giants:
Batting average: Brandon Crawford (.293)
Hits: Brandon Crawford (120)
Home runs: Kris Bryant (24)
RBI: Brandon Crawford (80)
Stolen bases: Austin Slater (13)
Wins: Kevin Gausman (13)
Saves: Jake McGee (30)
ERA: Kevin Gausman (2.58)

Cubs:
Batting average: Ian Happ (.220)
Hits: Ian Happ (87)
Home runs: Patrick Wisdom (25)
RBI: Ian Happ (50)
Stolen bases: Rafael Ortega (8)
Wins: Kyle Hendricks (14)
Saves: Rowan Wick (3)
ERA: Kyle Hendricks (4.65)

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Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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