Lester & Cubs to Upset Pirates: Underdog MLB Pick of the Day

Charles Stark

Monday, August 3, 2015 11:44 AM UTC

Monday, Aug. 3, 2015 11:44 AM UTC

Now that the trades are done it is time for the playoffs stretch and we have a great matchup today between two teams vying for a place in the playoffs. With the St. Louis Cardinals in command of the NL central division, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Chicago Cubs are making their own runs for the wildcard spot. Pittsburgh might have an outside shot of catching the Cardinals but right now for both these teams it all about the wildcard. Today we are backing the Chicago Cubs on the plus money line in what should be a really good series opening in Pittsburgh.

MLB odds makers came out with this line at +125 for the Chicago Cubs, which is just about where the line should be set but for me it provides great value. The line has since then dropped a bit and at most places it is closer to +120, at Bet online sports book and Sports betting sports book you can get this line at +121. Any kind of plus money on the Chicago Cubs with a frontline starter starting today for them is good value in my opinion.

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Pitching matchup
It probably was not easy for the odds makers to make Jon Lester such a big value dog, but against Francisco Liriano it makes sense. Lester for the Cubs comes in with a 3.26 ERA and 1.17 WHIP, along with an unfortunate 6-8 record. In his last 10 games he's only had three subpar outings allowing five runs at Detroit, four runs versus the Dodgers, and four runs against the White Sox. Other than that he has been fantastic recently and this season, in his last three starts he has only allowed four earned runs in 22 innings pitched.

For Pittsburgh, Liriano takes the mound with a 2.92 ERA and 1.06 WHIP, and like Lester has been solid in his last 10 games. He is coming off one of his worst outings of the year where although he only allowed two earned runs, he did allowed 10 hits in just five innings. Oddly enough he has pitched his worst baseball in Pittsburgh where he has a 3.65 ERA even though batters are only hitting just over .200 against him. Still, in his last three home starts he has been great allowing only five earned runs in 18 innings. All in all this pitching matchup is just about is even as it can be.


At the plate
Overall Pittsburgh and Chicago are both mediocre as far as statistics go in the offensive rankings. Pittsburgh ranks 17th overall in runs scored per game in the major leagues and the Cubs rank 23rd, but an interesting angle about this is that the Cubs average more runs per game at 4.46 on the road than Pittsburgh does at home with a 4.08 average. In OPS it is kind of the same story with the angle on the Cubs. Overall Pittsburgh ranks 19th in the major leagues in OPS and the Cubs again rank 23rd. But in the home and away disparities in OPS the Cubs average .710 which is just a touch better than the Pirates at home at .708.

Like always when looking to add an underdog to your MLB picks it is about the value and what we are getting in the Cubs today is an ace starter in Lester, and a team that produces well offensively on the road. This should be an excellent series to watch, and although Pittsburgh will most likely be favored every game don't expect them to sweep the Cubs, good value on Lester and Chicago today.

Free MLB Pick: Chicago Cubs +117 at BetOnline

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