Cubs vs. Astros prediction and odds for Monday, May 15 (Back Chicago as underdogs)

May 14, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Chicago Cubs right fielder Seiya Suzuki (27) rounds
May 14, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Chicago Cubs right fielder Seiya Suzuki (27) rounds / Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Cubs had a rough weekend in Minnesota, losing to the Twins in back-to-back games by a combined score of 27-4.

It won't get easier for the Cubbies as the club heads to Houston to take on the defending World Series champs Houston Astros on Monday night to start a three-game series. Houston has the team's top pitcher in Framber Valdez on the mound while Chicago counters with Jameson Taillon. Can Chicago compete despite an apparent pitching advantage?

The odds say Chicago is in for a loss, but are there advantages to exploit? Let's break down the odds:

Cubs vs. Astros odds, run line and total

Cubs vs. Astros prediction and pick

The Astros offense has not held up its end of the bargain, and it's why I fancy taking a stab at the Cubs at a big number.

Houston is 25th in wRC+, which quantifies the quality of run scoring chances each team produces. The team will face Taillon on Monday, who looks like he is struggling in his first season with Chicago, but has been better than his numbers indicate. He has a 6.41 ERA at the moment, but his Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) is 3.65, meaning that he has had some poor variance in the field.

Against an Astros lineup that is being overvalued, this can be a good spot for the Cubs right hander to get on track.

However, Taillon will need to be at his best against Valdez, who has a 2.38 ERA and is striking out nearly six batters for every walk. The Cubs have been the far better offense this season, sixth in wRC+, but are below big league average in batting average against left handed pitching, which Valdez is.

With the low total though, I can't look past the Cubs offense and the positive regression Taillon is due. Give me the Cubbies at + money.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.