Pick Arrieta & Cubs On The Run Line vs. Pirates

CH Cubs

Ariana Sanchez

Friday, July 8, 2016 3:35 PM GMT

The Cubs are reeling, but look to get back to winning ways as heavy chalk against the Pirates tonight in Pittsburgh. Check out our play with betting analysis here.

CH Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates

Chicago Cubs (52-33) – Jake Arrieta (12-3, 2.33 ERA)
To start the season, the 2016 Cubs were one of the most dominant teams in MLB history statistically. On June 19, they owned a 47-20 record with a plus-166 run differential, more than double their nearest competitor (Red Sox, 82). The last three weeks have brought the Loveable Losers back to earth. Since they are 5-13 SU, gifting 5.7 runs on 8.7 hits per game. Their averaging winning scoring margin slipped to 148 during this stretch.

Losers of seven of their last eight games, manager Joe Maddon sends Jake Arrieta to the hill tonight. The reigning NL Cy Young winner has seen his record-breaking ways come to halt as well, and he is not a certainty to pull Chicago out of its slump. After not losing a decision for an entire calendar year, Arrieta has dropped three of his last six outings. Yielding 14 earned runs in 33.1 innings, his ERA climbed from 1.80 to 2.33 over this span.

The Cubs ace has owned the Pirates in his career, though, and may find this a nice spot to return to form. He is 9-1 with a 1.46 ERA in 12-lifetime starts. He holds the current Pirates roster to a .179 batting average (35 for 196) with an eye-catching 25.9 strikeout percentage.

Chicago crosses the plate 5.22 times per game, second most to the Red Sox (5.67) in MLB. In the last three weeks, its run production has dropped to 4.4 per contest with its strikeouts per game increasing by one batter.

Some trends to consider: the Cubs have won seven straight at PNC Park, outscoring the home team 38-14 during the streak. The OVER is 8-0-1 in Arrieta’s road starts this year, the ace supported by a whopping 8.7 runs per game.

 

Pittsburgh Pirates (44-42) – Francisco Liriano (5-8, 5.34 ERA)
Unlike their NL Central rivals, the Pirates are picking up steam over the last couple of weeks, taking 10 of their last 13 games outright. More surprisingly, they are shocking sports books, winning at average MLB odds of +140 during this stretch. They have returned nearly 85 percent profit to backers in this span.

Francisco Liriano hopes to help the Pirates stun oddsmakers again, taking the pill for skipper Clint Hurdle at a +184 opening price. He will have to be at his best for sure. It has been tough sledding for the veteran southpaw of late. Winning just two of his last 10 outings, Liriano has given up three earned runs or more in six of his last seven appearances, failing to get past 6.0 frames in any. He has put in just one quality start over his last eight games.

Liriano has mixed success against the Cubs. He is 5-4 with a 3.36 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in 13 career outings, the Pirates losing four of the last five meetings. He holds the current roster to a .229 batting average, with MVP candidate Kris Bryant doing the most damage, going 4-for-9 with a dinger and two doubles.

 

Final Analysis
This summer has proven Arrieta is human after all. He and the bullpen have struggled in three of his last four away from Wrigley Field, yielding 22 runs overall. The ace’s command is a tad off and his walk rate up. However, hitters are not slugging him all over the park, and he is still creating outs when necessary. To put it shortly: there does not seem to be anything significantly wrong with Arrieta, like injury or something structural—probably just a mechanical blip that needs working out.

He has owned the Pirates in the past, and if anyone can shut down their recent winning ways, it’s the reigning Cy Young winner. The price is too steep to back straight up, so we’ll play the Cubs on the run line. Chicago is 20-7 against the point spread as road chalk behind Arrieta in his career, retuning bettors almost 60 percent profit. We will try to get a little slice of that pie tonight. Cubs -1.5 (+105) is the MLB pick.

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Free MLB Picks: Cubs -1.5 (+105)  
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker