Free MLB Betting Picks for Pirates vs. Giants Game One

Darin Zank

Monday, July 28, 2014 1:07 PM GMT

Two teams battling for playoff positioning meet as San Francisco and Pittsburgh open a three-game series at AT&T Park Monday night (10:15 pm ET). Here's a look at the two teams, with updated pitching match-ups and free MLB picks for each contest.

Pirates-Giants Betting Odds
Most books we surfed opened San Francisco and Madison Bumgarner at around -165 over Pittsburgh and Vance Worley, with a total of 6.5 runs. Many books then dropped the Giants about a dime, to the -155 range.

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Series Set-Up
San Francisco just got swept three games at home over the weekend by the rival Dodgers, losing Sunday 4-3. But just before that the Giants had won three series in a row, and seven of nine games.

At 57-48 San Francisco sits in second place in the NL West, a game and a half back of the first-place Dodgers.

Pittsburgh just dropped two of three games in Colorado over the weekend, avoiding the sweep with a 7-5 victory Sunday. But the Pirates have won two of their last three series and six of their last nine games.

At 55-49 Pittsburgh sits in third place in the NL Central, three games behind first-place Milwaukee.

This is the second meeting this season between these two teams. Back in May the Pirates took two of three games from the Giants in Pittsburgh; all three of those games were decided by one run.

 

Monday's Starters
Bumgarner (12-7, 3.19) is 11/22 on quality starts this season, and two for his last two. Most recently he held Philly scoreless through eight innings, and just before that he limited Miami to one run through six innings.

On the season Bumgarner has allowed 136 hits in 141 innings, while posting an excellent K/BB ratio of 141/34. But for whatever reason Bumsie owns a 5.22 ERA at home this year.

San Francisco is 13-9 in Bumgarner's starts, with the totals leaning toward the 'overs' by a 13-8 margin.

Bumgarner started once against the Pirates last year, allowing three runs through eight innings of a 3-1 San Francisco defeat.

Worley (3-1, 3.10) is 4/6 on quality starts. Last time out he gave up four runs in six innings against the Dodgers, although only one of those runs was earned. So since joining the Giants rotation six weeks ago the former Phillie and Twin has allowed 41 hits in 41 innings, walked seven and struck out 27.

Pittsburgh is 3-3 in Worley's starts, with the totals going 3-3.

This will be Worley first start against the Giants since July of 2012, when he was with Philadelphia.

In the comparison of the bullpens for this series San Francisco ranks fourth in ERA at 2.71, with 32 saves in 45 chances, while the Pirates rank 13th in ERA at 3.45, with 31 saves in 47 chances.

 

At the Bat
Pittsburgh ranks ninth in team OPS at .725 and 12th in scoring at 4.2 runs per game. But that OPS drops to .668 against left-handed pitching.

San Francisco ranks 23rd in OPS at .685 and 20th in scoring at 3.9 RPG.  But that OBP drops to .676 against right-handed pitching. Also, the Giants have been held to a total of eight runs over their last five games.

 

Pirates-Giants Betting Trends
Pittsburgh has played six 'unders' in its last nine games.

The Pirates are only 21-28 on the road this year.

San Francisco is nine games over .500 overall, but only 28-28 at home this season.

AT&T Park is known for being tough on hitters, but the totals have gone 27-26 in Giants home games this year.

 

Injury Update
Pittsburgh is without Starling Marte (21 SB), who's on the DL with a concussion. Meanwhile, San Fran is missing OF Angel Pagan (.356 OBP) and 1B Brandon Belt (10 HR), who are both also injured and on the DL.

 

Free Pick for Monday
There's two ways we'd play this game; first, that price on Bumgarner is just too much, so the value on the side lies with the Pirates; and second, as Pittsburgh has some trouble with lefties, and the Giants have troubles against righties, combined with a couple of pretty good bullpens, we like the 'under' 6.5 runs.

So we'll go with the Pirates, getting +143 at BetOnline, and the 'under, at +105 at 5Dimes, for our free MLB picks on Monday's series opener.