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MLB Predictions: Cubs Season Wins Over/Under Odds

2009 Chicago Cubs Wins Predictions – Lines & Baseball Props

Chicago Cubs 2008 Record: 97-64, NL Central Winner

After early post-season exits the past two seasons, the North Siders are in prime position to make a run at their third straight NL Central title. Heartbreak has been a common theme for this franchise since what seems like the dawn of time, but they will once again sport a roster that all but guarantees that they’ll at least be in the mix for a playoff spot in ’09.

The top four spots in the starting rotation consist of solid holdovers from 2008’s 97-win team, with Carlos Zambrano leading the pack. If Rich Harden can stay healthy for 25-30 starts and Ryan Dempster can prove that his impressive return as a starter last year was no fluke, then the Cubbies should be in pretty good shape. However, that may be asking a lot considering Harden’s injury history and the fact that Dempster had not thrown 200+ innings since 2002 prior to his ’08 campaign. Ted Lilly, slotted as a #4, has become quite the reliable lefty presence by averaging 16 wins and 197 innings pitched the last 3 years. The fifth spot is up for grabs, with Notre Dame standout Jeff Samardzija competing with the left-handed Sean Marshall for the gig. The newly acquired Aaron Heilman, traded twice this off-season, has also warranted some consideration. However, Marshall has been nothing short of phenomenal this Spring and at this point it looks like his job to lose. He should fit in nicely at the back end of this potentially dominant rotation, with Samardzija and Heilman ready to step in if he falters.

Losing Kerry Wood, who had a renaissance season as the team’s closer in ’08, to Cleveland definitely hurts the back end of the bullpen. A competition between incumbent setup man Carlos Marmol and former Marlins stopper Kevin Gregg is still ongoing, with no clear-cut leader known at this point. Whichever of the two does not win the 9th inning job should make for a reliable 7th and 8th inning guy, giving the Cubs late depth, something all teams covet. Behind them is a mix of experience and youth, with names like Luis Vizcaino and former starter Chad Gaudin at Lou Piniella’s disposal. The hard throwing Samardzija, who was impressive in relief last year, and Heilman will most likely be on that list as well come Opening Day.

From an offensive standpoint this ball club had no problems scoring runs last season, finishing tops in the National League and second only to the rival Cardinals in batting average and hits. All of this was accomplished with a down season from left fielder Alfonso Soriano and a second-half swoon from Japanese import Kosuke Fukudome. Youngsters Geovany Soto and Ryan Theriot should only get better, and the corner spots are manned by superstars Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee. Replacing Mark DeRosa, a consummate professional hitter, at second with a mix of newcomer Aaron Miles and Mike Fontenot shouldn’t result in much of a downgrade. Any punch that may be lost at that position should be made up by the Cubs new right fielder, 2008 AL All-Star Milton Bradley. A switch-hitter with a new contract and an aggressive, vocal style of play, Bradley should fit nicely in a lineup already peppered with a well-balanced combination of table setters and big boppers.

This move isn’t completely positive, however. With Bradley’s acquisition, Fukudome will have to shift over to center field. This leaves the team with what could turn out to be a very weak outfield defensively. In left, Soriano has been iffy with the leather since being moved out there by the Nationals in 2006. However, it hasn’t been all bad as he even led the league in outfield assists a few years back. Fukudome, a once-converted infielder in Japan, is a bit of a question mark in center. Meanwhile, the sometimes volatile Bradley has only played more than 100 games in the field once and that was in 2004. The infield should be much better, with 3-time Gold Glove winner Lee able to handle some bad throws at first and reigning Rookie of the Year Soto providing a solid body behind the plate.

There are some fairly big question marks for the Wrigley crew in ’09. On the other hand, they are playing in a division that may not produce another 90+ game winner, giving them the upper hand for a large portion of their schedule. In no way should you expect the Cubs to match or improve upon their 97 wins in 2008. However, this is still a team loaded with talent and I like the depth at the back end of the rotation as well as some of their role players like Reed Johnson. Look for the Cubs to win 94 games in 2009, enough to sit atop the NL Central when all is said and done.

2009 Chicago Cubs Wins Predictions:

Bet Online Over/Under: Over/Under 92 Wins (-105/-125)

Scott’s Prediction: 94 Wins

 

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Comments

Comments

  1. chevy chase ave says:

    the curse continues. harden and zambrano injuries. dempster will not be the same and 9th inning troubles will ruin the cubbies season.

  2. Kevin Gregg as a closer?? Cmon…he’s a peach.

    Rich Harden, Carlos Zambrano, Dempster, Lilly, Sean Marshall, or Szmardja is an impressive pitching staff, they shouldn’t have trouble in that department, thanks for your comment ! 🙂

  3. Gregg isn’t the greatest, but Lou will probably go with the experienced hand out of the gate which happens to be him. Marmol hasn’t done much so far in camp to change his mind either. He’s got some really good stuff, but I’m not sure if his mindset is right to get the 27th out each day. It should be interesting to see how it shapes out over the next couple of weeks.

  4. As a Phillies fan, now that we are officially off the schneid, I would love to see the Cubs break their curse( not really, as I want the Phillies to repeat).

    I like the over on the Cubs at 94. They are still the best team in their division and every new season brings new hope and motivation. If the losingest franchise in the history of Major League baseball can do it, so can the Cubs.

  5. What are you crazy! the Cubs will never win anything as long as Lou Pinnella is at the helm.(just kidding) The cubs look strong but they have been that way for a while. I agree they are the cream of the crop in that division and they will win around 92 games. Nice write up.

  6. Jobba the Hut says:

    The cubs have to be the worst team to cheer for. While theymay make a run again this year, they will inevitably fall short of the finish line.

    You can bank on heartbreak once again this year. What’s less painful, cheering for the cubs or a shotgun to the face? At least the shotgun to the face wouldn’t drag out for 7 months!!!

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