Betting Odds & Trends Show Pirates are the Pick Over Cubs

Darin Zank

Saturday, September 13, 2014 2:03 PM GMT

For one National League team, they continue their playoff push, while the other is headed towards another 90-loss season. The sportsbooks betting odds are reflecting both clubs situations. 

This is an extremely important homestand for Pittsburgh in pursuit of St. Louis and back-to-back playoff appearances after more than two decades and they are well aware of having to take care of business against the slumping Cubs.

 

“Wait Till Next Year” Has Meaning to the Cubs
The Chicago front office has been very calculated in bringing all of their top talent to the big league club and offered more hope the Cubs fans than they have felt in some time.

It was presumed another long losing season would be part of the deal, but bringing along the prospects (suspects?) was all part of Theo Epstein’s grand plan and players like Javier Baez, Jorge Solar, Arismendy Alcantara and Kyle Hendricks are all getting on the job training at the highest level.

Based on recent results of losing seven in a row, it might not help the Cubs in this series, but wait until you see these guys next year. (wink wink)

 

Pittsburgh Playing Like They Know How to Win
After climbing up the division ladder all season to reach second place, the Pirates teams of the past would have wilted and died after they were swept by St. Louis on the road at the beginning of the month.

Instead, Clint Hurdle’s club has taken the wisdom gained from the past two years of success and failure and went on to complete the rest of the road trip with a 6-1 record.

Pittsburgh began its final homestand of the season last night and they have been the best bet in the NL at home (+10.3 units) in posting a 45-28 record. For this contest and the next eight in downtown Pittsburgh, the Pirates understand how to win and the teams they are playing like the Cubs offer them that chance to succeed.

 

Pitching Matchup for Saturday
Felix Doubront (3-5, 5.43 ERA, 1.54 WHIP) could never get over the hump with Boston as a starter and was dealt to Chicago. On the season he has made 19 appearances, 12 as a starting pitcher, the last two being with the Cubs. The lefthander never lacked for talent, but often had a mental block about pitching past the fifth inning and his general work habits have been question for some time concerning the 26-year old. Despite being a lefty, as noted by MLB handicappers, left-handed batters are hitting .323 against him and after dark his ERA is a scary 6.62.

The Pirates Jeff Locke (7-4, 3.60, 1.22) was once thought to be a No.2 or 3 starter in their farm system, but his slow development did not see him reach the big league roster until last year at 25, and after a snappy first half debut, he pitched so badly he was not even on Pittsburgh’s postseason roster. Fast forward to 2014 and the Locke has been more consistent, but has the look of a back of the rotation hurler.

 

Bullpen View
The Cubs relievers have some good to below average numbers. While they strikeout a lot of opposing batters (3rd in the league) they are also near the top in walks allowed. On the road, Chicago pensters ERA climbs over 4.00, not good.

Though Pittsburgh is right on the heels of St. Louis for NL Central crown and in a pretty good spot for the wild card, Pirates fans and those making MLB picks this season can only wonder where this team would be without having the second-most blown saves in the NL at 23. Part of Pittsburgh’s problem out of the pen has been the lack of strikeouts and while San Francisco has the same issue, their pitchers catch less of the plate and are not hit as hard.

 

Head to Head Combat and Betting Odds
Those still studying the betting odds and making MLB picks are looking at the Bucs again, since they are 13-4 versus the Cubs and have won six straight. At PNC Park, these teams are 18-7 'under' the past three seasons.

This contest opened at -185 and faster than Chris Davis being suspended by MLB, the Pirates were up to -220, with a total of Ov7.

 

The Winner Is….
Please, is anyone thinking of backing a hapless underdog like the Cubs here? Not me.

MLB Free Picks: Pittsburgh wins at -203 at Pinnacle

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