Cubs vs. Nationals prediction and odds for Monday, May 1 (Papa Bellinger is Back and so are the Cubs)

Chicago Cubs center fielder Cody Bellinger (24)
Chicago Cubs center fielder Cody Bellinger (24) / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Cubs have gotten off to a good start to the season, but a sweep at the hands of the Marlins really put a damper on their April as they finish up the month 14-13. That’s still over .500 which is better than expected for a team that had a really rough 2022. The Washington Nationals also had a rough 2022, but I’m not sure that 2023 is going to be much better. The Nats are 10-17 and in last place in the NL East. 

Today, in Game 1 of this four-game series, we have a matchup of lefties as the Cubs hand the ball to Drew Smyly and the Nats go with Mackenzie Gore. Smyly is 2-1 with a 3.21 ERA while Gore is 3-1 with a 3.00 ERA. Let’s get into the odds for this one in DC. 

Cubs vs. Nationals odds, run line and total

Cubs vs. Nationals prediction and pick

The Nats were staring down a sweep from the Pirates, but yesterday they managed a 7-2 win after getting blown out 16-1 the night before. However, neither of these teams are rolling into this matchup, but both starting pitchers are. Smyly was okay last time out, but his start prior, he went seven scoreless with 10 strikeouts and just one hit. He has a 3.24 FIP with his 3.21 ERA and 27 strikeouts to just six walks in five starts. Gore is having a very strong second season in the majors with 35 strikeouts and just nine earned runs in 27.0 innings.

Gore is 87th percentile in K%, 90th percentile in whiff rate, 63rd percentile in chase rate, but also is 12th percentile in walk rate. If he can cut down on the free passes he’ll be a true ace for the Nats rotation. Though he might have a very tough time against the Cubs who are third in OPS vs. left-handed pitchers .834 and have drawn 30 walks to 78 strikeouts. Gore will need to make sure not to allow free passes, especially with Cody Bellinger back in the lineup after his paternity leave. Bellinger homered yesterday off of Andrew Nardi, a left-handed reliever for Miami. That was his seventh of the season. 

Despite their recent struggles, I actually do think this Chicago team is very good and I expect them to bounce back even with a good young pitcher on the other side. 

Follow all Josh Yourish’s bets HERE

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change