Looking to build a little momentum heading into the All-Star break, the Chicago Cubs are solid favorites on the MLB odds in the second game of their set with the Pirates.
Back to a level .500 for the campaign, the defending champion Chicago Cubs aim for their first 2-game mini win streak in more than two weeks when they continue the series with the Pittsburgh Pirates tonight (7:15 PM ET). Ivan Nova and Jake Arrieta are the first two hurlers to take the mound, BetOnline pricing Chicago -177 with the total forthcoming.
The most-played NL rivalry got underway with a Friday matinee at Wrigley, Kris Bryant homering twice to lead the Cubs to a 6-1 victory as -150 chalk on the MLB odds. Chicago’s win leveled the season series at 5-5, much of Pittsburgh’s damage so far coming in an April sweep at the friendly confines. Three of the four games played on the North Side this year have cashed for ‘under’ bettors.
Mound Duel Is Rematch From June 17
Nova has been about as consistent a hurler as there is this season, never giving up more than four runs in a start but also not getting a ton of support with the Pirates 9-8 in his appearances. The Dominican did, however, have just enough offense behind him to beat Arrieta and the Cubs in Pittsburgh about three weeks ago, tossing seven innings with three runs allowed, two of them plated on an Arrieta long ball. Nova will be taking the mound at Wrigley for the first time in his career and owns a 3.73 ERA in nine road starts this season.
Arrieta continues to struggle with consistency, following up an ugly performance against the Nats to close June with a solid effort last Sunday in Cincinnati where he tossed seven shutout frames and allowed just one hit. Tonight is just his seventh start at home compared to 12 on the road, but the Pirates have been able to knock him around recently regardless of where Arrieta takes the mound. Chicago is 1-4 in his last five outings against them, Arrieta sporting a 7.80 ERA in those contests.
Umpire Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick
Having just recently celebrated his 33rd birthday, Gabe Morales is the youngest member of Gary Cederstrom’s crew and will have the dish this evening. The Californian is a level 8-8-1 O.U/P in the totals column so far, his two career appearances at WSrigley Field also halving high and low. Home chalk is 8-4 when he dons the mask, including a perfect 4-0 when the money lines are -150 or higher.
It should be a nice evening with temps in the mid-to-upper 60s and an 8-11 mph NW breeze (left to right). Chicago has leaned on its bullpen for 18.2 IP the past four games, and I believe Arrieta gives the relievers a little rest with a run-line play for my free baseball pick.Free MLB Pick: Cubs -1½ Best Line Offered: Not Listed
Season: 43-47 (-3.46)