The Cubs and Pirates give baseball bettors a matinee to play with Friday afternoon, and a great pitching match-up, to boot. How are we betting this game? Join us & find our free MLB pick.
Pirates-Cubs Friday Odds
In home-working this game the best MLB odds we could find on Chicago and Jon Lester was the -114 at BetOnline, while Pittsburgh and Gerrit Cole were getting +108 at Heritage. Also, BetOnline was chalking the Cubs at -155 to win this series, with the Pirates getting +135.
Pittsburgh just swept four games at Colorado this week, winning Thursday 5-4, and just before that they took two of three games from the Dodgers in LA. So the Pirates carry a six-game winning streak into Friday.
At 93-60 Pittsburgh trails St. Louis by four games in the NL Central, but leads the NL wild-card race by 3.5 games over Chicago.
The Cubs, meanwhile, just took two of three games at home from Milwaukee, losing Wednesday's series finale 4-1. So the Cubbies are 5-0-1 in their last six series, 14-6 over their last 20 games.
At 89-63 Chicago trails the Pirates by 3.5 games in the battle to host the National League wild-card game.
The Cubs lead this season series 10 games to six, with the OVERS going 8-6-2.
Friday's Mound Match-Up
This pitching match-up is a rematch of a game played back on May 16, a 4-1 Cubbies win.
Lester (10-11, 3.46), by our tough standards, is 17-for-30 on quality starts this season, and two for his last three. Last Sunday he gave up four runs in six innings against the Cardinals, but in his two starts previous to that he held these Pirates and St. Louis to two runs through 16 innings. For the season Lester has allowed 175 hits through 190 innings, walked 47 and struck out 192.
Chicago is 16-14 in Lester's starts, with the totals skewing toward the UNDERS by an 18-9 margin.
In two starts this season against Pittsburgh Lester has allowed just two runs through 16 innings; the Cubs won both games, and both games played UNDER.
Cole (17-8, 2.64) is 21-for-30 on quality starts, and two for his last three. Last Sunday he held the Dodgers to three runs through seven innings, and over his last three starts he's held foes to six earned runs through 20 1/3 innings. On the season Cole has allowed 172 hits through 194 innings, walked 42 and whiffed 192.
The Pirates are 21-9 in Cole's starts, with the UNDERS going 17-11.
In three starts this season against Chicago Cole has allowed seven runs – five earned – through 18 1/3 innings; Pittsburgh won two of those games.
Friday's Batting Splits
Pittsburgh ranks 14th in the Majors this season against left-handed pitching with a .321 team on-base percentage, and 21st with a .385 team slugging percentage.
Chicago, on the other hand, ranks 11th against right-handed pitching with a .322 team OBP and 15th with a .409 team slugging percentage.
Ballpark Totals Factor
Games played at Wrigley Field this season are 40-33 on the UNDERS, which are averaging 8.0 runs per.
Pirates-Cubs Free Picks
These two starters have combined to allow just seven ER through 34 innings this season against tonight's opponents, so we're thinking runs might be rare today. Also, while Chicago might own a slight edge with the sticks, Pittsburgh owns an edge in the bullpen. For our free MLB picks for today we like the value with the Pirates and the UNDER.
MLB Picks: Pittsburgh and UNDER