The Pirates, fresh off a three-game sweep of the Brewers, remain at home for an early-week set with a familiar foe in the Chicago Cubs. Who are the MLB odds favoring for game one?
A.J. Burnett and the Pirates are favored at right around -110 to take the opener, leaving Jake Arrieta and the Cubs at roughly +105.
We're not expecting to see a lot of runs put on the board with these two solid hurlers on the mound, and MLB odds makers agree. They've set a line of an even seven runs, and we don't anticipate seeing those odds shift much throughout the day.
Pittsburgh Pirates (Burnett)
It wasn't a great start for the Pirates, but they've done well here of late and will be full of confidence after sweeping through the Brewers in a three-game set at home over the weekend. Pittsburgh won 6-3, 6-2 and then 5-3 in the finale, with Vance Worley, Jeff Locke and Gerrit Cole all picking up winning decisions.
Is it Burnett's turn to have his way, this time with the Cubs? Early returns have been promising, as Burnett has only allowed three earned runs through his first two starts (12 innings) - unfortunately, he hasn't gotten much help from the offense and has therefore not picked up a winning decision just yet.
The right hander went with 4-8 with a 3.68 ERA at home last season, but didn't have a ton of success against Chicago. He gave up a 4.61 ERA over two meetings with the Cubs and will be hoping he can fare a little better in what will be his second home assignment of the 2015 season. Burnett held the Tigers to only one run in his latest outing, so he has to be feeling good about his arm right now.
Chicago Cubs (Arrieta)
The consistency hasn't been there for the Cubs, yet they'll still take a winning record (6-5) in tonight's series opener in Pittsburgh. Chicago is certainly on the rise in Major League Baseball and it's an exciting time to be a fan, especially now that Kris Bryant has been called up from the minors.
One of the most heralded young hitters in years, Bryant has torn it up at every level and Chicago fans were simply counting down the days until he was brought to the big club. He's yet to have hit his first official league homer, but it's only a matter of time, folks. Bryant is too good of a hitter not to produce, and we'll see that come to fruition soon enough.
For tonight, let's focus on the pitching matchup, with Jake Arrieta set to take the bump for the visiting Cubs. Arrieta has been the team's most reliable starter early on, having allowed just three earned runs in his first two outings spanning 13.2 innings of work. This evening will be the right hander's first road start, this coming after he went 4-4 with a 3.64 ERA in 13 starts outside of Wrigley in 2014. He's looking sharp early on and will be eager to keep it going against a division rival tonight.
We don't see much of an edge in taking either one of these teams, so we'll avoid that side of things and roll with a total play.
In expectation that both offenses will get shut down by these two starting pitchers, we believe the UNDER holds good value. Both Burnett and Arrieta have enjoyed terrific starts to their respective seasons and we look for them to keep it going this evening.
So, with neither one of these offenses being all that scary and two pitchers that have been reliable early on, we like the total score to end up below seven runs in Pittsburgh. Take the UNDER with your MLB picks.
MLB Pick: UNDER 7 at 5Dimes