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MLB Odds & Picks for Pirates vs. Cubs: 2 Ways to Bet This NL Central Showdown

MLB Odds & Picks for Pirates vs. Cubs: 2 Ways to Bet This NL Central Showdown article feature image
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Rich Schultz/Getty Images. Pictured: Nico Hoerner #2 of the Chicago Cubs.

  • The Chicago Cubs are riding high after sweeping a three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies following the All-Star break.
  • On the other hand, the Pittsburgh Pirates own the 8-5 series lead over Chicago this season and are catching plus-money on Monday evening.
  • MLB betting analyst Mike Ianniello previews today's MLB game, including updated odds, picks and predictions for Pirates vs. Cubs at 8:05 p.m. ET.

Pirates vs. Cubs Odds

Pirates Odds +120
Cubs Odds -142
Over/Under 8.5 (-104 / -118)
Time 8:05 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

I take off three weeks of writing for my wedding and honeymoon and I come back to Pirates vs. Cubs? Action Network MLB Senior Editor Collin Whitchurch must be punishing me.

The Nation League Central’s basement-dwellers will face off for the 14th time this year. Pittsburgh boasts an 8-5 record against the Cubs entering Monday’s game. In fact, if the Buccos can win two of the next six games against the Cubs, then they will clinch a winning record against Chicago for the first time since 2014.

This will be an uneasy week for both teams — many of the players in the lineup on Monday may no longer be on their respective team rosters by next week’s trade deadline.

Chicago enters today’s game riding a modest winning streak after sweeping its three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies. Will Chicago’s hot streak continue this week, or will Pittsburgh continue to come out on top in this division rivalry?

Pittsburgh Pirates

After a horrible 2021 campaign — and a dreadful start to 2022 — JT Brubaker has finally started to put things together for the Pirates. Brubaker has amassed a 3.10 ERA during his last 10 starts.

Last year, Brubaker’s biggest weakness was surrendering the long ball: He allowed 2.03 HR/9. He has completely turned that around this season by limiting opponents to 0.86 homeruns per nine innings. Brubaker has not given up a deep shot in five straight starts.

He threw a pretty even mix of his slider, sinker and fastball last season but has really focused on being a sinkerballer in 2022. Brubaker now throws his sinker 40% of the time, and his fastball usage has declined from 24.5% to 7.6%.

Rookie electric factory Oneil Cruz is all the talk right now, but second-year star Ke’Bryan Hayes is quietly having a breakout season himself. Hayes leads the Pirates in hits, runs, doubles, triples, walks and stolen bases.


Chicago Cubs

Former Pirates draft pick Adrian Sampson has been up-and-down from Triple-A during the last seven years. This season, Sampson has made seven MLB appearances and has a 3.34 ERA and 3.68 xERA. He reports a 4.05 ERA in his five starts and has produced mixed results.

The 30-year-old Sampson has one of MLB’s lowest strikeout rates (6.40 K/9), but he has done a good job at limiting hard contract. He mixes a fastball and sinker with the occasional slider and changeup.

As bad as Chicago has been this year, its offense has been league average: The Cubs rank 13th in wOBA and 15th in wRC+. They also boast an elite on-base percentage and draw a ton of walks.

One player who Cubs fans can feel confident is not going anywhere is 25-year-old shortstop Nico Hoerner. During the last 26 games, Hoerner has been red-hot, batting .359, driving in 17 runs, boasting a .911 OPS and 151 wRC+. He has owned the Pirates this year, going 16-for-32 for a .500 average and 1.031 OPS in nine games.

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Pirates vs. Cubs Pick

I went into this article fully expecting to bet the red-hot Cubs, who are playing with a ton of confidence after sweeping the other MLB team in Pennsylvania.

However, I simply can’t lay -150 juice with this Cubs team against anybody. If the Cubs moneyline fell to around -140, I would consider pulling the trigger. Likewise, if the Pirates moneyline gets up over +145 with Brubaker on the mound, I would jump on the Buccos.

This is still a good spot for the Cubs, though. Brubaker has found success this season by increasing his sinker usage and limiting the fastball. But, no team in the league has hit sinkers better than Chicago has this season. The Cubs have 10 players with a wOBA over .360 against sinkers this season.

So, since we don’t want to lay -150, let’s put together a little Same-Game Parlay to help the juice.

Nico Hoerner is batting .414 with a .420 wOBA against sinkers this year. He has been on fire during the last month and has torched the Pirates. You can parlay the Cubs moneyline with Hoerner to record a hit for +112 at FanDuel. If the Cubs come away with the win, Hoerner’s bat will likely be involved.

Pick: Cubs Moneyline & Hoerner To Record a Hit (+112)

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