MLB Betting: Cubs at Pirates Odds
By Steven Wisner
If your favorite baseball team isn’t playing tonight, make the games more interesting by betting on MLB odds at BookMaker sportsbook! This is the only online wagering outlet that offers early MLB moneylines, runlines and totals. First pitch for the game between the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates is scheduled for Sunday, July 10, 2016, at 1:35 p.m. ET at PNC Park. The game will be televised live on WGN.
The Cubs and Pirates will close out a three game series, and the first half, on Sunday in their 12th head-to-head game of the year. Chicago owned Pittsburgh in the first three series, going 1-8 in those nine games.
You can bet on MLB odds at BookMaker.eu every day of the season.
Heading into their series with the Pirates, the Cubs were just 1-5 in the month of July and have been scuffling for a couple weeks, going 5-12 in their previous 17 games.
Many have continued to overlook the fall as they remain thirty games over .500 heading into the series in Pittsburgh, but bettors have taken notice. Despite maintaining the second best record in the sport, the Cubs now have a total moneyline of -$306 compared to the Pirates’ $298 even though they’re eight and a half back of the Cubbies in the division.
The Pirates are surging heading into this series, coming off back-to-back sweeps of the A’s and Cardinals, both on the road, the Pirates return home for the three game series against the Cubbies looking to gain ground in the division once thought out of reach and extend a seven game winning streak.
The promotion of Tyler Glasnow and eventual return of Jamison Taillon and Gerrit Cole off the disabled list may cost Jon Niese his spot in the rotation, but for now the veteran southpaw will get another shot on Sunday.
Niese has at least provided the Pirates with some innings if nothing else, going 7-6 with a 4.87 ERA and 1.532 WHIP. His FIP indicates he’s actually been lucky his ERA isn’t even higher.
The lefty is giving up 10.7 hits per nine innings and has already surrendered 19 home runs and walked 34 in 98 innings of work.
In his last start, he went five and two-thirds against the Cardinals, giving up just one run getting his first win since June 7, snapping a four game losing streak.
Niese has faced the Cubs twice this season, combining for just 10 1/3 innings, while giving up 10 runs on 15 hits and three homers. For his career, he’s 3-8 with a 5.35 ERA for his career against the North Siders.
Starting this first-half finale for the Cubs is right-hander John Lackey. The 37-year old hasn’t been able to duplicate his stellar 2015 with the Cards, but he’s still done well and kept the Cubs in the game more often than not.
In 17 starts, the veteran is 7-5 with a 3.50 ERA and 1.084 WHIP. Interestingly, while his WHIP is down, his walk rate and home run rate are both up from last year, but so is his strikeout rate as he’s striking out a batter per inning.
Much like the rest of the Cubs’ roster, Lackey’s been a bit shakier recently. He’s seen his ERA jump nearly a run since June 8 and the Cubs have lost each of his last four starts.
The Pirates have outscored the Cubs by more than a run per game so far in July. While the Cubs continually seem to have players able to step in for injuries, those injuries may have finally caught up to the team; at least temporarily.
With Jorge Soler and Dexter Fowler both out, the outfield is a bit of a rotation outside of Jason Heyward who, after signing his massive deal in the offseason, is hitting just .234 and posting a .649 OPS.
Still, the infield is strong offensively and defensively with all four starting the All-Star game for the National League. Interestingly, those four are the only four players on the Cubs roster with double-digit homers. Ben Zobrist and Addison Russell have 12 and 11 bombs respectively while Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant have combined for 45.
As for the Pirates’ offense, they seem to be getting back on track after going cold for a spell. Andrew McCutchen still isn’t playing like the former MVP, but he’s posted a .761 OPS over his last 11 games; that’s an improvement.
The rest of the outfield is slugging, even backup Matt Joyce is raking with a .992 OPS. Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco are OPSing .829 and .877 respectively.
As a team, this unit can produce when most are on their game, but they lack the power that Rizzo and Bryant bring to the Cubs. Chicago can make up for some poor plate appearances with a long ball here and there. McCutchen and Polanco bring some pop—as does Jung Ho Kang—but not nearly to the level of the Cubs.
The Cubs are still a heavy favorite to win the World Series, but there’s a lot less certainty around this team right now.
It’s starting to become more than just a slump with the poor play and struggles extending more than just a week. Ultimately the All-Star break may be just what Chicago needs. Still, they have to get through this game first and that could be trouble for Chicago.
The Cubs bats are dangerous so it’s never safe to bet against Chicago, but they’re trending in the wrong direction right now and Pittsburgh is hot. Look for the Pirates to take advantage of playing at home and come away with a narrow win.
MLB Odds: Pirates 5, Chicago 4