Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh Pirates Free Pick

Jose VasquezArticles, Baseball, MLB

The Chicago Cubs will head east to square off against their NL Central nemesis Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. The opening pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET and NBC Sports Chicago will be televising the matchup.

Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates Odds

Pittsburgh (+120) is the home-team underdog to Chicago (-130) and Vegas has set the Over/Under for this night game at 8 runs (-125 for the under and +105 for the over). Bettors can also wager on the games runline with the current odds standing at Cubs -1.5 runs (+115) and Pirates +1.5 runs (-135).

The Pirates are 55-51 straight up (SU) and 52-55 against the spread (ATS). They’ve gained 2.1 units for bettors taking the moneyline while gaining 4.6 units (ATS). Pittsburgh has a 3-4 ATS mark over its last seven games and the under has cashed in four of those seven. The Cubs have gone 60-44 SU this year and are 54-51 ATS. In total, the teams gained 1.1 units for moneyline gamblers and 3.2 units ATS. Chicago is 3-4 ATS over its last seven games and the under has cashed in six of those seven.

Pirates games have had an over/under record of 50-49-8 in 2018. The Cubs have been a decent under bet with a total record of 49-55-1.

Jon Lester will get the nod for the visiting Cubs. The southpaw Lester is 12-3 with a 3.06 ERA and 96 strikeouts. He’s 2-0 with 14 strikeouts and a 4.00 ERA against Pittsburgh this year (three starts).

The Pirates are putting the ball in the right hand of Jameson Taillon (7-8, 3.73 ERA), who has 114 strikeouts and 32 walks this season as well as a 1.22 WHIP. Taillon has yet to face the Cubs this year, but he made three starts against them in 2017, putting together a 1-2 record with a 5.40 ERA.

Pittsburgh’s pitching staff has yielded 4.5 runs per game overall in 2018 as a unit. Its starting pitching staff has an ERA of 4.21, a WHIP of 1.29 and a strikeouts-per-nine of 7.5. The bullpen has a 4.25 ERA, 1.40 WHIP and 10.0 K/9. In 42 games against divisional foes, Pirates starters have an ERA of 3.21 and the bullpens ERA is 3.72.

Pittsburgh’s offense is putting up 4.6 runs per contest, including 5.0 per game against divisional foes and 5.0 per game over its last five. The team has slashed .268/.335/.446 over its last five games and is 3-2 SU during that stretch.

The Pirates batters have been led by outfielders Corey Dickerson and Starling Marte. Dickerson is slashing .318/.351/.517 with 11 home runs, 44 RBIs and 50 runs scored, and Marte’s line sits at .289/.335/.497 with 16 homers, 54 RBIs, 57 runs and 25 stolen bases.

For the visitors, Chicago’s pitching staff allowed 4.1 runs per game and its starters own a 4.16 ERA, 1.40 WHIP and 7.58 K/9. The bullpen has an ERA of 3.23, along with a WHIP of 1.40 and a K/9 of 8.89.

Cubs hitters have slashed .265/.348/.422 on their way to 5.0 runs scored per game in 2018, including 4.5 runs per game against divisional foes and 2.8 per game over the teams last five contests (2-3 SU).

Second baseman Javier Baez and left fielder Albert Almora Jr. continue to lead Chicago’s offense. Baez is slashing .296/.327/.562 with 21 home runs, 77 RBIs, 65 runs and 19 steals, while Almora Jr. is hitting .307/.344/.421 with four homers, 30 RBIs and 50 runs scored.

The Cubs have lost 7.2 units and are 39-41 ATS when facing a right-handed starting pitcher this season. The over has hit in 38 of those games, compared to 41 that’ve hit the under against righties. On the other hand, the Pirates have lost 5.3 units and are 12-16 ATS when facing a left-handed starting pitcher. The overs hit in 17 of those games, as opposed to 10 that’ve cashed the under.

Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh Pirates Free Pick

Predictions: SU Winner – Cubs, ATS Winner – Cubs, O/U – OVER

Betting Notes

  • The over has cashed in only one of Chicago’s last seven outings.
  • Pittsburgh has recorded 28.2 Runs + Hits + Errors per game over its last 10 games and 23.0 over its last five.
  • The Cubs have hit nine home runs in their last 10 games, including six over their last five.