Pirates vs. Cubs Betting Odds & Picks: Value on Total in NL Central MLB Clash

Pirates vs. Cubs Betting Odds & Picks: Value on Total in NL Central MLB Clash article feature image

Christian Petersen/Getty Images. Pictured: Seiya Suzuki.

Editor's Note: Friday's game between the Pirates and Cubs has been moved to an 8:05 p.m. ET start time because of forecasted inclement weather.

Pirates vs. Cubs Odds

Pirates Odds+154
Cubs Odds-184
Over/Under7.5 (-115 / -105)
Time2:20 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Drew Smyly and Jose Quintana will go head-to-head for the second time of this young 2022 season Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field. Both pitched very effectively April 12 at PNC Park, with Seiya Suzuki's two home runs lifting Smyly to victory.

Will the pair of aging veterans dominate again Friday, or could we see these hot offenses put together more effective days at the plate than we saw earlier this month?

Pittsburgh Hurler Quintana Due for Regression

Pittsburgh has batted lefties more effectively than expected to open this season with a wRC+ of 97 and .306 wOBA. It may need that production to continue against Smyly here with Quintana taking the mound.

Quintana appears a very clear regression candidate from his 3.86 ERA throughout the first nine innings for a number of reasons. His xERA sits at 6.44, which is far above his high mark of 5.02 last season when he was 33 years old.

He holds a QOPA of just 4.09, and that could be a big concern with the lack of command displayed so far by his 12.5% walk rate. Chicago just saw Quintana's stuff, and I think that's a problem considering that outside of some clever sequencing, this stuff shouldn't really be fooling anybody.

The hard contact hasn't come against Quintana yet this season, but I believe we'll see a Chicago lineup that has displayed some solid discipline at the plate figure him out Friday.

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Suzuki to Boost Chicago Lineup

The Cubs have started off the 2022 campaign with some real promise at the plate, producing the eighth-best run-per-game average with a wRC+ of 123 and a wOBA of .347.

The BABIP is bound to fall down from its current mark of .317 and will hurt the results, but this team is clearly putting together solid at-bats and ranks sixth in hard-hit rate at 42.6%.

Suzuki has been every bit as advertised, consistently showing the kind of tremendous zone awareness that made him such a highly anticipated arrival to the big leagues. Suzuki has just an 8.4% chase rate on out-of-zone pitches but has been deadly when he sees a pitch he can handle, as evidenced by his 28.6% barrel rate and .477 xwOBA.

As a whole, the Cubs have hit lefties notably well this season, with a wRC+ of 123 and .358 wOBA.

Smyly has had a surprisingly strong start to the campaign at 32, with 9.2 shutout innings to start the season.

He holds a strong 4.71 QOPA throughout the small sample size, which suggests he could find a way to fare better than last season — but certainly not as markedly dominant as it has been so far. At age 33 with the stuff looking comparable to last year when he played to a .503 xERA, it seems unlikely this level of dominance continues.

He has clearly been on point in both outings and made little in the way of mistakes, but at some point, we're going to see Smyly trend downward to more middling results.

Pirates-Cubs Pick

Even though we saw each of these starters comfortably handle the opposition two weeks ago, I'm going to look for each to find far worse results Friday.

That contest finished with the best possible stat lines for each of these starters given the gameplay on a day with a favorable park environment and umpiring factors working in their favor. Only 82% of called strikes were accurate in that one, with wide strikes consistently called.

It seems likely that for each of these aging veterans, worse results are coming this season, particularly for Quintana. I also do not believe it bodes well for either that these lineups have seen their arsenals so recently.

Both of these clubs may be candidates to slow up at the plate moving forward this season, but I'm not expecting that to start Friday. We will see a lot of contact throughout this game, leading to a high total.

The forecast is calling for a mess of rain Friday and eight MPH winds out to right — both of which could work in our favor here.

*Edit 10:13 am EST: We are now seeing projections of 13 MPH winds coming slightly towards home plate from left. The conditions will be unfavorable to batters for carry, but I am still seeing value here and happy to hop on a lower number here of 7.5.

Both of teams have used a fair amount of relievers over the last few days, which could also contribute to us seeing a higher final score to cash this over.

Pick: Over 7.5 Runs (-115)

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