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Chicago Cubs at Houston Astros

Over/Under: 8

First pitch: 11:10 a.m. PT

Probable pitchers: Cole Hamels (4-0, 3.38 ERA) vs. Gerrit Cole (4-5, 4.11 ERA)

There’s a very interesting series beginning at Minute Maid Park this afternoon — with an even more interesting pitching matchup — when two of baseball’s best, the Cubs and Astros, collide for, dare I say it, what could be a World Series preview.

It’s certainly within the realm of possibility given how both first-place clubs have been firing on all cylinders pretty steadily.

One of these heavyweights, Houston, is coming into this showdown considerably shorthanded, however. The elite Astros lineup is currently without George Springer and Jose Altuve (not to mention his fill-in, Aledmys Diaz), something that undoubtedly gives a boost to any opposing hurler.

For today’s opener, that will be Hamels, which should have you leaning on the under right away. Not only has the 14-year veteran been faring very nicely this season, he has also a notable track record against the Astros from his days with the Texas Rangers.

Following his arrival in Arlington midway through the 2015 campaign up until being dealt to Chicago last season, Hamels faced the Astros 10 times and was generally solid, logging a 3.25 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 8.2 K/9 in those meetings.

Additionally, several Houston regulars have struggled opposite Hamels. In fact, Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa, Yuli Gurriel, Jake Marisnick and Josh Reddick have combined to hit an unpleasant .167 (14-for-84) off the left-hander with just five extra-base hits.

The Cubs will also be taking on a familiar foe when they square off with Cole, whom they saw plenty of during his five years as a Pittsburgh Pirate. The former No. 1 overall draft pick typically tormented Chicago, notching an impressive 9-3 record in 14 career encounters to go with a 2.50 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and .217 batting average against.

Cole has really had success with all of the main Cubs regulars if you examine the history. To be specific, Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Jason Heyward, Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber have collectively gone 22-for-104 (.212) with seven extra-base hits with the righty doing the dealing.

Though he’s coming off a rare off performance in his last effort, Cole can be trusted in a bounce-back spot. For this bet, just wait first to see if the total goes back up to 8.5; this bet will be my Memorial Day action regardless. Play: UNDER 8/8.5

Yesterday’s Result: Tigers-Mets Under 8 (WIN)

Zylbert’s 2019 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: 31-25-3, +3.15 units

*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit

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