MLB Baseball Betting: Pittsburgh Pirates at Chicago Cubs

MLB Baseball Betting:  Pittsburgh Pirates at Chicago Cubs

There was a time when slumping teams like the Pittsburgh Pirates loved to see the Chicago Cubs on the schedule–and particularly at Wrigley Field. Since 1997, the Cubs have gone 817-768 at home which doesn’t sound too bad until it’s put into context. If you’d bet against the Chicago Cubs in every home game in that time frame you’d have earned +158.5 units of profit. Not that the Cubs have been a real treasure in any venue during the past couple of decades. Overall from 1997 to the present they’ve cost their ‘financial backers’ -255.7 units.

That is no longer the case. The Cubs are a wrecking crew. They’ve cooled off somewhat since the start of the season (5-5 L10) they’re 44-20 which is the best record in baseball. Unlike earlier in the season, however, they’ve got some company for the best record. In the NL Central they’re still in charge of the division but they need to watch the rear view mirror for the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cards have won 7 of 10 and have cut the Cubs’ lead to 9.5 games. That sounds like a huge number but if the Cubs should slump and the Cards continue their winning ways that could evaporate quickly.

The Pirates started the season in decent form but have been in a tailspin during the month of June. They’ve dropped to .500 (33-33) having lost 7 of their last 10 games. Worth noting that despite their ‘June swoon’ they’re still right around break even in most profit/loss categories (eg: -3.1 units on the road). In theory, we’d like to use the Pirates at a big underdog price against the Cubs. To be honest, we’d like to use anyone at a big underdog price against the Cubs since their valuations have gotten out of hand. Implied probability at -280 is just under 74% and that’s a tough win rate for even the best teams.

Two things are going to put us on the Cubs here. First, their record coming off a loss this year. Chicago hasn’t been happy when they lose and they quickly atone for it next time out. They’re 15-3 +11.4 units after a loss which is phenomenal in a sport like baseball that is more of a ‘process’. They’re also facing Jake Arrieta who has a 1.86 ERA overall and Chicago has won 11 of his 13 starts. Cubs have won 5 of 6 meetings from the Pirates this year and they should add to that total given the Bucs’ shabby form.