The Pirates own the best home record in the major leagues and are set to open up a three-game series against the Cubs at PNC Park on Monday night. Let’s take a closer look at this NL Central contest from a betting perspective.
There’s no place like home
The Pittsburgh Pirates are currently 32-14 at home this season, which includes a 21-4 mark in their last 25 games in that situation. Pitching has been the team’s major strength inside PNC Park, ranking second in the majors
with a 2.33 home ERA, holding the opposition to two earned runs or less 30 times in 46 games. The Chicago Cubs are 14-35 on the road this season, as they try to recover from suffering a three-game sweep in St. Louis, getting outscored by a sizable 23-1 margin in those contests.Samardzija’s fared well against the Buccos as a reliever
Jeff Samardzija (6-8, 4.57 ERA) has made 11 relief appearances against the Pirates
in his career, posting a 1-0 record and 1.29 ERA in 14 combined innings, while not allowing a run in the first 10 outings. The right-hander has thrown the ball well in July, posting a 1-1 record and 2.37 ERA in three starts.
Pirates starting pitcher Erik Bedard (5-10, 4.55 ERA) earned a 6-2 road win over the Colorado Rockies in his first start after the All-Star break, which was a bit surprising due to his past numbers in that situation. The left-hander has compiled a losing 17-24 record and 4.20 ERA in 62 appearances (61 starts) in his career after the Midsummer Classic. Bedard earned a 10-4 home win over the Cubs in his first-ever start against them on May 27, scattering two hits over six shutout innings.Cubs have shown some life against southpaw starters
Chicago owns a dismal 10-18 record against left-handed starters this year, but it’s important to note that the club has won its last four games in that situation. Over their last 10 games, the Cubs are hitting .274 versus southpaws, which is far better than their .232 mark for the entire year.Pirates may suffer a letdown in the series opener
In taking a quick look at the MLB betting odds
, it’s easy to see that sharp money has landed on the road underdog in this affair, especially with the Pirates being sent out at an enticing number. Pittsburgh will be trying to win six games in a row for the first time in four seasons, but land in a bad spot from a motivational standpoint. The club has tallied a 1-2 record after sweeping a series of three games or more this season.Prediction
I’m going to recommend that you add the Cubs as one of your MLB picks for Monday night
, as they’ve won eight of their last 11 series openers. Pittsburgh is also 11-18 after three or more consecutive wins since the start of the 2010 campaign.Pick:
Chicago Cubs +130