MLB Baseball Betting Picks: Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh Pirates

MLB Baseball Betting Picks:  Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh Pirates

The 2013 Major League Baseball betting season is just a few days old which means until the teams start to show some form we’ll be ‘feeling our way’ through each day’s wagering card. In this National League matchup we’ll return to a concept that has kept us ‘in the black’ for years–betting against the Chicago Cubs. Hope springs eternal every year on the North Side but within a couple of months reality sets in. Despite the fact that the Cubs have been one of the biggest money losers in baseball over the past decade the betting public keeps backing them–and especially at Wrigley Field.

This matchup is at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park but that’s not a big issue. While going against the Cubs at home has been the big profit maker there’s simply not a betting situation in which Chicago *hasn’t* lost a ton of money. Over the last three seasons the Cubs have lost -42.2 units overall–that means that blindly betting $100 against them in every game during that timeframe would have produced a profit of $4,200. During this stretch they’ve lost -34.3 units on the road, -25.3 units against divisional rivals, -32.6 units against left handed starters and–for good measure—15.1 units in day games.

In particular the Cubs were woeful offensively on the road last season and they’re facing a solid pitcher in James McDonald today. Chicago averaged only 3.5 runs per game away from home in 2012 and they’re averaging less than that in two games this year (1.5 runs). To be fair, the Pirates aren’t exactly an offensive machine either but they’ve shown dramatic improvement as a team during each of the last two seasons. True, they slumped toward the end of the season but the fact they started strong further validates our position on the home team. McDonald had a similar performance trajectory, starting strong and was effective at PNC Park all season where he posted a 2.73 ERA in 14 home assignments.

The word in baseball circles is that the Cubs are ‘moving backwards in order to move forward’ by shedding a lot of their high price contracts and rebuilding with younger players. Pittsburgh, meanwhile, is looking to win now and they should get the money here with arguably their most effective starter taking the hill. And–as always–when in doubt bet against the Cubs.