MLB Free Pick: ‘Over’ Trend Continues for Cubs and Pirates

Willie Bee

Saturday, June 17, 2017 7:38 PM UTC

Saturday, Jun. 17, 2017 7:38 PM UTC

Chicago rallied for a win in Friday’s series opener at Pittsburgh, and the Cubs are favored on the MLB odds again when they send Jake Arrieta to the bump tonight vs. the Pirates.

Stuck in a win one, lose one rut, the Chicago Cubs take aim at their first 2-game string of victories since earlier this month when they take on the Pittsburgh Pirates in the middle match of their weekend series at PNC Park. Jake Arrieta is up next in Chicago’s rotation against Ivan Nova, and the Cubs are -124 chalk at 5Dimes with 8½ for the total.

Down a run entering the ninth, Chicago exploded for six to take a 9-5 victory in Friday’s series opener. The game hung around a pick ‘em on the MLB odds with the Cubs closing as slight favorites, and the final scooted past a 9½ run total to make the ‘over’ a winner for the ninth time in the last 10 meetings at this park. It was also the third win in four tries this season for the Cubs in Pittsburgh after the Pirates swept them at Wrigley in April.


Cubs Lucky To Be 7-6 Behind Arrieta, Bucs Should Be Better Than 7-6 With Nova

The Cubs won both of Arrieta’s starts in a recent homestand, the former TCU standout pitching well in a 10-2 victory vs. Miami and failing to make it through the fifth in a 7-5 decision over the Rockies. Arrieta allowed four runs in his 4.1 frames, the sixth time in his last 10 assignments he was charged with at least four earned. He took a no-decision at home vs. the Pirates in April, the Cubbies eventually dropping an 8-7 result, and Chicago is 6-2 with a 3.00 ERA in his eight starts at PNC since he joined the club, those numbers including a shutout during the 2015 NL playoffs.

Nova isn’t among the discussion for NL Cy Young consideration at this time, but the fact remains he has been a solid performer in 2017. Pittsburgh should have a better record than 7-6 in his 13 starts, 11 of which have been quality efforts, and his 2.83 EDRA is tied for 5th-lowest in the National League. The big Dominican missed seeing the Cubs in each of the two April get-togethers, and is facing Chicago for just the second time since joining the Bucs before the 2016 campaign.


Umpire Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick

Clint Fagan, who made the initial erroneous call on Anthony Rizzo’s shot into the Allegheny to lead off Game 1 of the set, should be behind the dish tonight. He’s 8-4 to the ‘over’ this year, including all three times a game closed with an 8½ run total, and was under the mask for an ‘over’ winner last season in his only career plate assignment at PNC Park.

Speaking of the Allegheny, there will be a light breeze blowing in from its banks at game time with the thermometer in the mid-80s. With the teams so intent on playing ‘overs’ on this diamond, that’s the direction I’m going with my free baseball pick.

Free MLB Pick: Over 8½ (-109) Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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