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Imanaga to power Cubs past Cardinals

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Thursday wasn't very eventful on the diamond. We split our best bets for the two games on the night slate, winning our prop while losing our total.

We'll look to end the week on a strong note with three plays for a more fruitful Friday card.

Cubs (-145) @ Cardinals (+125)

Death, taxes, and backing the Cubs when Shota Imanaga starts. The superstar lefty has seamlessly transitioned to MLB, dominating opponents from the word go. He owns a perfect 5-0 record, struck out 58 batters in 53 innings, and his ERA sits at 0.84.

Imanaga is showing no signs of slowing down. He's sporting a .240 xwOBA and 15.7% line drive rate over the past month, both miles below the league averages.

Every team is struggling to generate the slightest bit of offense against Imanaga. I don't see the Cardinals changing that.

They're hitting just .216 versus left-handed pitchers over the last month. The Cardinals also sit in the bottom five in OBP and 29th in barrel rate. They're simply not getting on base or generating any power.

Imanaga should be able to put forth yet another quality start, putting the Cubs' chances in the hands of their offense.

That's a recipe for success in a matchup against Miles Mikolas. He's conceded at least two runs in nine of 10 starts this season, giving up 3.4 on average.

Look for advantages at the dish and on the mound to translate to a much-needed win for the Cubs.

Bet: Cubs (-145)

Kyle Harrison: Over 15.5 outs

Harrison's averaging 16.5 outs per start, which isn't half bad considering he's already faced arguably the league's top two offenses against left-handed pitching (Dodgers, Diamondbacks).

Since Harrison entered the league last season, he hasn't gone more than two straight games without recording 16 outs or more. That happens to be the number he's sitting on now.

He has a great chance of getting back on track and giving the Giants some length Friday night.

The Mets have struggled mightily against left-handed pitching over the past month. They're hitting only .178 and getting on base less than 25% of the time, both of which are league lows.

Every reliever on the Giants has thrown at least 22 pitches over the past couple of games. Their fatigued bullpen will give Harrison every opportunity to grind through as many batters as possible.

Odds: -105 (playable to -125)

José Ureña: Over 15.5 outs

The Rangers have used Ureña as a starting pitcher of late. He's thrown at least 90 pitches in all three starts he's made, averaging 17.7 outs per game. Ureña's allowed four runs in that span.

Dating back to last season, he's recorded at least 16 outs in 15 of 19 games (79%) when throwing 80 pitches or more.

I expect him to go over that number again in this one. The Twins have struggled at the dish of late. They're hitting just .215 against righties in May, and six straight right-handed starters completed at least six innings against them.

With the Twins laboring offensively, an in-form Ureña should be able to pitch his way into the sixth inning.

Odds: -130 (playable to -145)

Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. You can follow him on X at @ToddCordell.

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