Cubs Steal Victory From Pirates

Cubs vs. Pirates Odds

Doug Upstone

Sunday, July 10, 2016 1:25 PM GMT

Sunday, Jul. 10, 2016 1:25 PM GMT

For those betting baseball that did not buy into the Chicago Cubs at the beginning of the season, if you wagered against the Joe Maddon's team every game since June 5th, you bankroll is bursting.

From that date thru yesterday, the Cubs are insidious -23.65 units, with 13-19 record. Sportsbooks like BetonLine have just been cleaning up, as like lemmings, Cubs bettors just know this is there year and have been diligently losing money hand over fist.

This is Chicago's 24th game in 24 days and if ever a team was playing like they needed a break, it is this group, yet seven of their players have to fly cross-country to San Diego for All-Star game and return to Chicago for afternoon contest on Friday.

Conversely, Pittsburgh has been playing well for a couple weeks and will try to further shrink Chicago division lead. Here is what to look at for MLB picks this afternoon.


Pitching Matchup - Lackey vs. Niese
After a super start, John Lackey (7-5, 3.50, 1.08 WHIP) has seen his fortunes nosedive like his team's. Lackey has a 7.56 ERA over his last three outings and don't have to be Inspector Gadget (check You Tube to learn more) to understand the problem. The tall Texan has surrendered 10 walks in just over 16 innings along with 18 base-knocks, which lead to nothing but trouble. Lackey has not been locating fastball accurately and slider and curve have lacked usual break.

As we have talked about here before, Jonathon Niese (7-6, 4.87, 1.53) is all or nothing performer. In six starts beginning May 9th, the Pirates lefty permitted only nine runs. In his next half dozen trips to the mound, Niese was tagged for 21 runs in 21 1/3 innings over four starts. Held back a day to rest sore knee, the Ohio native did not allow St. Louis to set off any fireworks on July 4th, limiting them to one run in 5 2/3 innings. Will Niese begin a positive period again?

 

Chicago Offense No Longer Clutch
When the Cubs were averaging almost six runs a contest, seemingly, whenever a big hit was needed, somebody came through. During this dismal stretch, this has not been the case. Sure the Chicago still leads the league in on-base percentage, but their run of the mill .250-ish team batting average is plaguing them. Nobody has stepped into Dexter Fowler's shoes as leadoff hitter and game-changing base hits have been lacking.

 

Pittsburgh Offense More Than Doing Their Job
Since the Pirates finally ended years of futility and became a winning club in 2013, they have never had the offensive attack to get past the Wild Card round. The offseason mission was to improve the offense and this club is far more explosive in averaging 4.7 runs a contest. They are second to the Cubs in OBP and are third in the NL in doubles. If all the young pitchers come through after the break, watch out for the Bucs.

 

Betting Odds, History and Bullpen Numbers
The overnight MLB odds had Chicago at -155 with total of 8.5. Going into last night's matchup, the Cubs had won eight of 10 this season over Pittsburgh and was 13-12 at PNC Park since 2014. In the same time the OVER was 14-9-2. Both bullpens' numbers are above average in the National League, but Maddon's crew has been taking on water like the Titanic.

 

Game Outcome
No question the Chicago has been in a significant slump in all facets, but they are 19-10 versus left-handed starters and Niese is 3-8 lifetime with a 5.35 ERA against the North Siders. Count on Rizzo, Bryant and the boys to come through.

Free MLB Pick: Chicago -147
Best Line Offered:  at GTbets

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