How to bet on Saturday’s interleague rivalry game

Cubs vs. White Sox Odds

Cub Ratings +120
White Sox Odds -140
More less 8 (-110 / -110)
Time 7:15 p.m. ET
Odds via Caesars. Keep up to date MLB odds here.

The Chicago Cubs make the short drive across town to the guaranteed-rate field for a two-game series with the White Sox.

The White Sox send Johnny Cueto, 36, to the mound Saturday night after a six-inning shutout against the Yankees. The veteran is yet to give up a run in 2022. The Cubs will give the ball to Keegan Thompson, who will make his third start of the season and has a 1.54 ERA in 10 appearances.

Will Cueto be able to maintain his strong start to the year, or will the Cubs’ sticks come right-handed?

Chicago Cubs: Thompson thrived in 2022

Thompson doesn’t normally throw deep in ballgames, but he’s been one of the most effective arms on Chicago’s pitching team this season.

The right-hander has made 10 appearances – two starts – mostly as a long reliever and usually goes more than three innings. He dropped more than one race just once and has a sparkling 1.54 ERA.

Thompson has reduced his walk rate and ranks in the top 13% in hard hit rate, xSLG and xBA.

Thompson faced the White Sox earlier this season and threw 3 2/3 one-run fly ball innings.

Although his 1.54 ERA is unsustainable, his forward metrics still rank pretty well. His xERA is 2.78 and his FIP is 3.31. If he’s able to limit walks — control was a big deal for him in 2021 — and continues to limit hard touches, Thompson has the ability to be in the middle of the two with his ERA.

The Cubs’ bullpen ranks around league average. Thompson won’t go deep in the game, likely forcing David Ross’ hand if he gets in trouble early on. Chicago must play 11 games over the next nine days.

The bullpen ranks 18th in the ERA (3.75) and its biggest problem is home runs (24), where it ranks third.

Chicago White Sox: Can Cueto continue?

Johnny Cueto made his season debut two weeks ago and in a pair of starts since he has yet to drop a race.

The 36-year-old held opponents to a .210 xBA — including the dejected New York Yankees offense — and saw a slight increase in his strikeout rate. His speed has actually increased from 2021 and his arsenal has changed slightly.

Rather than relying on his four seams and change, Cueto relies more on his slider and sinker.

Although Cueto has been turned off so far, it was a small sample. The veteran right-hander is coming off his second-worst season when it comes to xERA (4.90), xBA (.278) and xSLG (.452) and I’m not sure that success will continue.

His track record over the past few seasons suggests that Cueto will fall and return to his aging self.

As for offense, the White Sox struggled at home plate. They rank 21st in wRC+ and 26th in wOBA. They remain killer left-handers, but they draw a right-hander in Game 1 of the series.

It’s also important to note that Luis Robert is on the COVID injured list and will likely miss the series. He was one of the few reliable bats in a struggling offense.

Cubs-White Sox pick

It’s the perfect place to support the road underdog on a Saturday night.

Cueto has been excellent in his two starts with the White Sox, but he had a 4.90 xERA and a 0.278 xBA last season. His track record would suggest regression and at his current price he is too heavy a favorite to sustain.

Tack on the struggling White Sox offense against right-handers and Robert being out and I think Thompson will put in another great performance. His control hasn’t been a problem this season and he limits hard contacts. Thompson is worthy of a bet at the current price.

The Cubs’ bullpen was also statistically more effective than the White Sox, yet another advantage in favor of the underdog.

Support the Cubs in this intercity rivalry.

Take: ML Cubs (up to +120)

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