Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Chicago Cubs Betting Predictions
Pittsburgh Pirates (5-7) vs. Chicago Cubs (6-6)
When: 7:40 p.m., Thursday, April 21
Where: Wrigley Field, Chicago
Moneyline: PIT +125/CHC -145
Runline: Pirates +1.5/Cubs -1.5
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Starting Pitchers: Bryse Wilson (0-0, 5.40 ERA, 1.56 WHIP) vs. Mark Leiter Jr. (0-1, 18.90 ERA, 2.70 WHIP)
On a day when you’ve got all but three games starting in the day, one of the three-night games is being played at Wrigley Field. You’ve also got two of the supposed weaker teams in the NL Central actually playing decent baseball for the first few weeks of the season. Most people expected the Cubs to win around 70 to 75 games this year and fade in the final month-plus of the season, but practically nobody expected the Pirates to even still be close in the division race past the first series of the year.
Neither team should count on making any plans to play baseball in October, but there are signs that these teams might be a tad better than the general consensus expected this year. Granted, in the Pirates’ case, there was virtually nowhere they could go but up, but both teams are actually putting together some decent games, suggesting that they might be able to get the job done in future seasons.
Starting Off Hot
One thing that’s almost always a plus with young players is that they’re eager to make their mark, and that appears to be the case with these teams as they try to get their young players up to speed. Both teams have turned that eager attitude into early runs, as the Cubs rank seventh in the majors in runs in scoring in the first five innings and the Pirates are a reasonable 17th in the bigs. Together, the teams average 5.5 runs in the first five innings, a solid start to going over the total.
But it goes beyond that, as neither team is keeping their opponents from tagging their pitching for several early runs. The two teams have combined to give up 6.5 runs in the first five innings, and with Wilson and Leiter going to the hill, the offenses are likely to have the better of the situation. When the total goes on the board, both the first-five play and the overall total will likely have value, as neither has all that strong of a bullpen, and both will likely give up their share of runs in the early going
Bad Early Returns
The Cubs might have played better than expected to this point, but Mark Leiter Jr.’s pitching hasn’t been part of that. Leiter hadn’t pitched in a major league game since 2018, when the Cubs added him to the rotation, and his first start looked exactly like that of a pitcher who hadn’t pitched in four years, as he got tagged for seven earned runs and was a deserved loser at Colorado. It’s hard to get a read on him at this stage (especially because Coors Field makes it impossible to get any kind of read on a pitcher), but early returns are not promising.
Things aren’t much rosier for Bryse Wilson at this point, as the Pirates’ pitcher has not made it out of the fifth inning in either of his two starts. The Pirates don’t appear to have a lot of patience with Wilson, as he hasn’t run up against a pitch count in either of his two starts. Pittsburgh seems like it’s going to go to the bullpen at the first sign of a problem.
- The Pirates are 6-0 in their past six against a team that scored two or less in its most recent game.
- The Pirates are 20-52 in their past 72 games against the NL Central.
- The Cubs have won four straight series openers.
- The Cubs are 5-2 in their past seven against the NL Central.
- The under is 2-0-2 in the Pirates’ past four games overall.
- The over is 17-4 in the Pirates’ past 21 Thursday games.
- The under is 4-0-1 in the Cubs’ past five series openers.
- The over is 10-1 in the Cubs’ past 11 games as a home favorite.
- The Pirates are 2-10 in their past 12 meetings with the Cubs.
- The over is 5-0 in the past five meetings in Chicago.
The wind could help the over cash, as it’s set to blow 11 miles per hour toward the right-field pole on a 59-degree night on Chicago’s north side.
The pitching matchup seems to favor Pittsburgh, even though the trends lean toward Chicago. There’s just no way to justify laying the juice with Mark Leiter after an ugly showing in his first start. I think the best play on the board is the over, but failing that, I’ll take the better pitcher and go with the Pirates. Bet your Cubs/Pirates prediction and ALL your MLB bets for free this week by taking advantage of a 100% real cash bonus on your first deposit up to $500 at Betnow Sportsbook! (Must use bonus code PREDICTEM when signing up.)
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