Wednesday Cubs vs. Pirates Odds, Picks, Preview: Bet the Total in Matinee

Wednesday Cubs vs. Pirates Odds, Picks, Preview: Bet the Total in Matinee article feature image

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images. Pictured: The Cubs celebrate Tuesday’s win.

  • The Cubs are a short road favorite over the Pirates on Wednesday afternoon at PNC Park.
  • Neither team has shown much offensive life in 2022, and D.J. James is targeting the total in this game.
  • Get his full Pirates vs. Cubs preview and pick below.

Cubs vs. Pirates Odds

Cubs Odds-135
Pirates Odds+115
Time12:35 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Kyle Hendricks takes the mound for the Cubs against the Pirates and Zack Thompson in the second of a short, two-game set between the two on Wednesday afternoon.

Thompson’s peripherals were actually stronger than Hendricks’ last season. Even if Hendricks has a virtually unhittable changeup, the rest of his arsenal can be hit hard. Thompson does not allow hard contact and functioned as both a reliever and starter for the Miami Marlins last season.

Given his versatility and the lack of power in each lineup, the total might be where we find betting value on Wednesday by the Allegheny.

Cubs Need Offense, Reliable Hendricks

The Cubs had a 97 wRC+ against right-handers after the trade deadline last season, which is just below league average. Seiya Suzuki has been a welcomed addition to Chicago — including two dingers in Tuesday's win — but Nick Madrigal has not quite turned it on yet.

Last year’s darlings, Patrick Wisdom and Frank Schwindel have not been very strong either. Zach Thompson only allowed an Average Exit Velocity of 87.6 mph last season, while the Cubs were about league average last season in this metric.

Hendricks, in a similar fashion, held opponents to 86.3 mph Average Exit Velocity last year. He only walked 5.6% of hitters in 2021, so he will not be issuing free passes to the Pirates. Ke’Bryan Hayes, Yoshi Tsutsugo, Daniel Vogelbach and Bryan Reynolds will take up the top portion of the Pittsburgh lineup, and Hendricks should have heyday with the rest of the order.

When looking at this lineup against right-handed changeups, they struggled mightily. Of the regulars in the lineup, only Vogelbach, Tsutsugo and Hayes held a .340+ xwOBA against righty changes. Otherwise, the rest of the lineup did not experience much success. Hendricks utilizes this pitch more often than any other at a 40% clip, so the Pirates will not have many players cross home plate.

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Pirates Hope to Keep Cubs Off Board

Thompson threw against the Cubs twice last season and allowed four hits in 10 innings.

Only Ian Happ, Willson Contreras and Wisdom hit righties hard last season (89.5 mph or harder). There is a significant drop-off in how hard the rest of the lineup could hit. Suzuki and Happ are the only ones hitting well through the first series-plus, too.

Even with that small sample size for the Cubs, they might be able to hit the Pirates’ bullpen. The Bucs will need some strong innings out of Thompson before handing it over to the rest of the relievers.

They do have a few reliable arms in Heath Hembree, Chris Stratton and David Bednar, although the latter two logged an inning each on Tuesday. Still, Thompson should have a little backup.

Offensively, Michael Chavis and Hayes have looked solid thus far. Yes, it is early, but it is going to be hard to get adjusted against Hendricks’ changeup.

Cubs-Pirates Pick

Neither of these teams is particularly strong, but they are both putting forth solid starting pitchers against weak lineups. Expect the offenses to take the day off Wednesday.

It may be warm for Pittsburgh in the spring, but Hendricks will rely on his changeup and thrive while Thompson should keep the ball in the ballpark.

Take the under at 8.5, and play to 8.

Pick: Under 8.5, play to 8

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