If someone would have said back in April that the Pittsburgh Pirates will hold the best record in baseball on home pitch, most punters would have dismissed the statement as nonsense. After the All-Star Game we are in the position of witnessing exactly that and for at least a week, there are rock solid reasons to expect the Pirates to maintain their lead. The visiting Cubs have unpleasant memories from PNC Park because the last time they’ve traveled to Pittsburgh they were swept in three games.
Match: Pittsburgh Pirates vs Chicago Cubs
Bet: Run Line Pittsburgh -1,5
Odds: bwin 2.45
The Pirates are riding a five game winning streak, the longest for any team in the National League and they expect to extend it after the opening game. By sending in their most experienced pitcher, the hosts are making a point but it is entirely up to Bedard to recapture his form and win the second game in a row. His previous outing was less than stellar, but against a team that struggles offensively, he should be fine.
Within striking distance
Cincinnati is still leading the division and is riding a hot streak as well, but the Pirates need a single victory to close the game and tie them for the lead. They have scored an average of 5.5 runs per game during the winning streak and they know Jeff Samardzija all too well. The pitcher starts for the Cubs tonight for the first time in a match against Pittsburgh, but he faced them in the past as a reliever.
If we were to look strictly at the figures, we would probably assume that Jeff’s ERA of only 1.27 makes him a real threat for the hosts, but this would be an illusion. Samardzija needs to walk the distance and last for more than 6 runs, something that he is not used to and this means that the bullpen will be under pressure. PCN Park is not traditionally an arena favoring the pitchers and with the Pirates’ offensive rolling in the manner it does these days, the Cubs will find themselves under a thick barrage.
Backing the hosts tonight is the common sense thing to do and the odds are juicy enough as they are, but there is always room for better. The Cubs are rarely going down by a single run, and with their pitching staff frequently melting down in a matter of innings, the run line bet can be a better solution. Currently the odds stand at 2.45 with bwin and it is most unlikely for them to climb above this level, so there is no point in waiting any longer.