The St. Louis Cardinals will be at Wrigley Field this weekend for an NL Central matchup with the Chicago Cubs. This is one of the best rivalries in baseball, and the Cubs will have full capacity at Wrigley for the first time this season. 

St. Louis was expected to dominate the NL Central Division this season, but this has not been the case. The Cardinals have really struggled in the month of June and are now in third place in the division at 32-30.

The Cubs lead the Central Division by the slimmest of margins, but this team has greatly exceeded expectations. Chicago comes into this game with a record of 35-27, and they have gone 21-10 on their home field. 

The weather is expected to be nice in Chicago, and that should lead to some big offensive games. 

Cardinals at Cubs Preview and Pick: Pitching a Problem For Cards

Injuries have taken their toll on the St. Louis Cardinals this season, especially over the last few weeks. The Cardinals have a team ERA of 4.27 on the year, but that number continues to climb each time St. Louis takes the field.

Johan Oviedo will be on the mound on Friday, and that could spell some serious trouble for the Cardinals. Oviedo has gone just 0-2 with a 5.25 ERA this season, and he was not someone the Cardinals expected to have in the rotation. 

St. Louis was expected to be a great offensive team, especially after adding Nolan Arenado to the mix. The Cardinals are worst than league average in terms of total runs scored, and they have struggled to get on base.

The Cardinals are going to have to score runs on Friday, and it will help if the wind is blowing out. There are some decent arms in the bullpen for St. Louis, but getting an early lead has been a real problem of late. 

Cardinals at Cubs Preview and Pick: Big Bats in Cubs Lineup

This was supposed to be the year that the Cubs finally broke up the core for good, but that core has turned things around since May. Kris Bryant and Javier Baez are both having big years at the plate, and Anthony Rizzo is back after some injury concerns.

The Cubs are also getting great production from some unknown players, especially Patrick Wisdom. Wisdom is a former Cardinals prospect and he recently belted eight home runs in his first 10 starts with the Cubs. 

Kyle Hendricks is 7-4 with a 4.59 earned run average, but he got off to a real slow start in 2021. Hendricks has been pitching much better of late, and he usually gives the Cubs a great chance to win.

The bullpen for the Cubs has been the biggest story as this unit just continues to shut down opponents. Closer Craig Kimbrel looks like a Hall of Famer again, and Chicago doesn’t usually blow any leads late in games. 

Cardinals at Cubs Preview and Pick 

The St. Louis Cardinals are going to score some runs this weekend, but that likely won’t happen on Friday. Kyle Hendricks has had some dominating performances against the Cardinals throughout his career, including one this season.

St. Louis just doesn’t have enough pitching to compete at the moment, and they need the front office to get them some help. Without many top arms available this weekend, the Cubs should be able to put up a ton of runs.

Add in the fact that Wrigley Field will be full for the first time since 2019, and this should create a massive advantage for the Cubbies. 

These games are always exciting, but this one should be controlled by the Cubs from the beginning. Bet the Chicago Cubs to win this game by at least two runs over the St. Louis Cardinals.

Final Score: Cubs 6 – 4 Cardinals 

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Ryan has been writing sports betting content and industry news pieces for more than 3 years. He stays on top of all of the latest industry news as well as providing sports betting strategy articles and opinion pieces. Ryan is a former college basketball player and someone that continues to participate in sports to this day. He is a die-hard fan of the Chicago Cubs and Chicago Blackhawks and also roots for the Fighting Illini. Ryan currently resides in Illinois