Tuesday MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Pirates vs. Cubs Betting Preview (July 26)

Tuesday MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Pirates vs. Cubs Betting Preview (July 26) article feature image

Via Matt Dirksen/Getty Images. Pictured: Christopher Morel.

  • The Cubs host the Pirates in an NL Central matinee matchup on Tuesday.
  • The Bucs will send struggling Bryse Wilson to the mound while the Cubs will counter with Keegan Thompson.
  • D.J. James breaks down the matchup and shares his best bet below.

Pirates vs. Cubs Odds

Pirates Odds+135
Cubs Odds-160
Time2:20 p.m. ET
Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Bryse Wilson and the Pittsburgh Pirates will play the second game of a quick two-game series on Tuesday afternoon against Keegan Thompson and the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Outside of his Walk Rate, Wilson has below average peripherals as nothing is indicative of future success for him, with a 6.52 ERA against a 5.69 xERA. Sure, he has been a bit unlucky, but a 5.69 mark is still terrible.

Thompson, on the other hand, has been more than serviceable. He has a 3.43 ERA and 3.96 xERA. This does not jump off of the page, but he has earned his keep in the starting rotation for the Cubs. Since Pittsburgh struggles when it comes to hitting right-handed pitching, it is hard to gauge how well they will do with Thompson in this game.

Targeting the Cubs’ team total over is the correct move in this matinee matchup.

Pirates Pitching Will Struggle

Wilson is one of the worst pitchers in the majors for a reason. This has been a rude awakening upon his entry into the Pirates’ rotation as his xwOBA is .364. He also ranks in the sixth percentile in Average Exit Velocity against and in the 17th percentile in Hard-Hit Rate.

Nick Madrigal, Andrelton Simmons, and Jason Heyward are on the Injured List for the Cubs. Over the course of the last month, the Cubs only have two batters, Willson Contreras and Christopher Morel, over a .340 xwOBA off of righties in the past month.

Otherwise, they do have five others above a .300 xwOBA. This does not necessarily mean they are expected to crush the ball, but they have enough hitters in the lineup to work the count against a poor pitcher, like Wilson.

Pittsburgh has also had one of the worst bullpens in the last month, too. They have a 26th-ranked 4.42 bullpen xFIP. They have four bullpen arms below a 4.00 mark, but none are lower than 3.00. This means they have no one who is a lockdown arm, including David Bednar, who comes in at 3.55. The Cubs should score late in the game and dig into the weaker part of the middle relief corps for the Pirates.

Thompson and Cubs Arms Have an Edge

Thompson is a different pitcher. He doesn't do anything at an elite level, but he is solid in almost every aspect. He ranks in the middle of the pack in Hard-Hit Rate and Average Exit Velocity. The Pirates only own a team 94 wRC+ off of right-handed pitching since June 26, though.

The Pirates recently traded Daniel Vogelbach to the Mets. Bryan Reynolds, Canaan Smith-Njigba, and Roberto Pérez are all on the IL, so they are short-handed. Only three available batters are above a .300 xwOBA off of right-handers in the past month. The bottom of the lineup should be a breeze for Thompson. Expect him to pitch deeper into this game than he has typically gone.

The Cubs bullpen also has been slightly above average in that same timeframe with a 3.71 xFIP. They have five active arms below a 4.00 xFIP, and David Robertson owns a 3.72 SIERA. This is more than enough with Thompson pitching against a bad lineup, like Pittsburgh.

Pirates-Cubs Pick

The Cubs are the better team in this game in every aspect. The Pirates’ lineup takes a massive step back with no Reynolds or Vogelbach, while the Cubs at least have batters who can battle in the box. Wilson has not quite put it together, and the Bucs have holes in their bullpen. Take the Cubs Team Total Over 4.5 (-110), and play to 5.5 (-110). They should light up Wilson and Pittsburgh’s relievers.

Pick: Chicago Cubs Over 4.5 (-110) | Play to 5.5 (-110)

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