Pittsburgh Pirates at Chicago Cubs 9/26/18 Pick
Time: 8:05 PM ET
Where: Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL
Listed Pitchers: Ivan Nova (Pitt) vs. Jose Quintana (Chic)
TV: SportsNet Pittsburgh, NBCS Chicago
Moneyline: Pirates +170/Cubs -180 (BEST ODDS AT 5DIMES)
The Cubs are trying to close out the NL Central, while the Pirates are playing spoiler. But Pittsburgh is doing a better job of its task than Chicago with its. How are we playing the third game of this four-game series with our daily free MLB picks?
MLB Betting Line
Wednesday’s MLB betting odds opened Chicago at around -180 for this game while holding off on posting an over/under. The early betting action was holding that line steady.
The Cubbies could also be found getting around +110 giving the run and a half on the MLB run line.
Pittsburgh has taken the first two games of this series by scores of 5-1 Monday night and 6-0 Tuesday. The Pirates put up a three-spot in the second inning last night and got a quality start from Chris Archer in cashing in as +155 dogs on the MLB betting odds.
Pittsburgh cashed in at +145 Monday.
The Pirates are now 14-5 over their last 19 games, while Chicago is 2-4 over its previous six.
At 91-66 overall the Cubs’ lead in the NL Central is down to just a half-game over second-place Milwaukee, which itself has taken the first two games of a series in St. Louis. In fact, Chicago still owns the best record in the National League but hasn’t even clinched a playoff berth yet.
At 80-76 overall the Pirates are eliminated from playoff contention, but it sure looked like they were having fun beating the division-rival Cubs the first two games of this series.
Pittsburgh now leads this season series with the Cubbies nine games to eight.
Lefty Quintana (13-11, 4.11), by our strict standards, is 13/30 on quality starts this season. Last Friday he gave up five runs and nine hits in five innings against the White Sox, but over his previous six starts, he allowed only eight runs through 34 1/3 innings (2.10 ERA). On the season the Cubs are 17-13 with Quintana, with unders going 16-14.
In one start this season against the Pirates Quintana allowed just one run and four hits through five innings of a game Chicago eventually lost 2-1.
Nova (9-9, 4.01) is 14/28 on quality starts this year, and two for his last three. Last Friday he gave up one run and three hits through 4 1/3 innings against the Brewers, and over his previous three starts, he’s allowed just two runs and 10 hits through 16 1/3 innings. On the season Pittsburgh is 15-13 with Nova, with unders going 14-13.
In three starts this season against the Cubs Nova allowed five runs and 18 hits through 19 1/3 innings. Pittsburgh won two of those games.
We’re giving Nova and the Pirates a short handicapping edge in this pitching match-up.
Wednesday’s Batting Splits
Pittsburgh owns a .249/.315/.410 batting average/OBP/slugging percentage split against left-handed pitching this season.
Chicago owns a .258/.334/416 split against right-handed pitching this year. But this lineup will probably be without Kris Bryant, who’s not only dealing with a sore shoulder but also took a pitch off his wrist Tuesday and left the game.
We might give the Cubs a short edge with the sticks here, but they’ve been held to one run – a solo homer from pitcher Cole Hamels Monday night – through the first two games of this series. So we’re calling the splits with the sticks a push.
The Pirates bullpen owns a 4.13 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP. But this unit has also thrown five shutout innings in this series.
The Chicago pen owns a 3.34 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP. But his unit has walked nine batters in seven innings in this series.
Still, the Cubs probably own the edge in the comparison of the bullpens.
Unders are 44-31 in games played at Wrigley Field this year, which are averaging 9.0 total runs per.
Unders are 12-5 in Pirates-Cubs games this season, 6-2 in games played at the Friendly Confines.
Free MLB Picks
We’re still kicking ourselves for taking Chicago with our free pick Monday night, knowing all along the betting value resided with Pittsburgh. And now the Pirates are +300 in this series. Also, having lost the first two games of this series, the Cubs are now seriously overrated on Wednesday’s dime line. We’re taking Pittsburgh for our free MLB pick for Wednesday.