Gut Pick: Cubs at Pirates 8/1/18
Event: Cubs vs. Pirates
Date/Time: Aug 1, 2018 at 7:05 PM EDT
Location: Fenway Park
Money Line: CHC -117 / PIT +107
Total line: 8-110
By Darin Zank
NL Central contenders collide when the Cubs and Pirates complete a quick two-game series in Pittsburgh Wednesday evening (7:05 ET). How do we play this contest with our daily free MLB picks?
The MLB Betting Line
Wednesday’s MLB betting odds opened Chicago and newcomer Cole Hamels at around -115 over Pittsburgh and Nick Kingham, with an over/under of 8 runs. In the early betting action, that line got bet up a nickel, to the -120 range with the lowest number on the board we could find at our recommended betting sites at Cubs -117.
The Cubs could also be bet getting around +140 giving the run and a half on the run line.
The Pirates grabbed the opener of this series Tuesday night 5-4, winning as -115 favorites on the MLB betting odds. Pittsburgh scored three runs with two outs in the third inning, only to let Chicago score three runs in the fourth. Ultimately the Pirates secured the victory when Cub Addison Russell over-slid the bag trying to stretch a double into a triple in the top of the ninth and was tagged out.
So the Cubs are 1-3 over their last four games and 5-7 over their last 12. At 61-45 overall Chicago is tied for the lead in the NL Central with Milwaukee, and owns the best record in the National League.
The Pirates, meanwhile, are 3-1 over their last four games and 16-4 over their last 20 games. At 56-52 Pittsburgh trails the Cubs and Brewers by six games in the NL Central, but they only trail the Braves, Rockies, and Dodgers by three games in the battle for the second National League wild-card spot.
These two teams have split 10 meetings so far this season.
Wednesday’s Starting Arms
Kingham (5-5, 4.80), by our strict standards, is 5/11 on quality starts this season and three for his last four. Last Thursday he got touched for six runs through three-plus innings against the Mets but over his three starts previous to that he allowed just six runs and 13 hits through 18 2/3 innings. On the year the Pirates are 5-6 with Kingham, with the overs going 6-5.
In two starts this season against the Cubbies Kingham has allowed five runs and 12 hits through 13 innings. Pittsburgh lost both those games, although one of those came by a score of 2-0.
Lefty Hamels (5-9, 4.72) is making his first start for his new team, after coming over in a trade with Texas last week. So far this season he’s 8/20 on quality starts, but 0 for his previous five. Eight days ago Hamels gave up seven runs and nine hits through five innings against Oakland, over his last five starts he’s allowed 25 earned runs and 37 hits through 22 innings. On the year the Rangers went 7-13 with Hamels, with the unders going 12-7.
This will be Hamels first start against the Pirates since 2016.
We’ll give Pittsburgh and Kingham a short edge in this pitching match-up.
Wednesday’s Batting Splits
Chicago ranks No. 2 in the Majors this year against right-handed pitching with a .265 team batting average, No. 1 with a .345 team OBP and 8th with a .426 team slugging percentage.
Pittsburgh ranks 18th against left-handed pitching with a .243 BA, 18th with a .317 OBP and 17th with a .408 slugging percentage.
We gotta give the Cubs the edge with the sticks for Wednesday.
The Chicago bullpen ranks fourth in the ML with a 3.21 ERA and 13th with a 1.28 WHIP.
The Pittsburgh pen ranks 20th in ERA at 4.23 and 21st in WHIP at 1.40.
The Cubs also own the edge in the comparison of the bullpens.
The unders are 28-26 in games played at PNC Park this year, which are averaging 8.6 total runs per.
The unders are 6-2 in the Cubs last eight games.
The unders are 6-4 in Cubs-Pirates games this season.
Free MLB Picks
The Cubs are 43-38 this year against RH starters; the Pirates are 13-16 against LH starters. And Chicago owns two of our main baseball handicapping check-marks. However, sometimes we gotta go with our gut, and with the hotter team. Plus, Hamels stinks as of late. We’re betting the Bucs in this spot.
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