Cubs ace Jon Lester was a Cy Young candidate at the All-Star break but has been perhaps the worst pitcher in the National League since. Thus, Thursday’s start in Pittsburgh is rather important as the team could decide to DL Lester if he struggles again. Chicago is an MLB Betting underdog.
Cubs vs Pirates MLB Spread & Game Info
- When: Thursday, 7:05 PM ET
- Where: PNC Park, Pittsburgh
- Probable pitchers (away/home): Jon Lester/Ivan Nova
- TV: MLB Extra Innings
- Live Stream: MLB.tv
- Radio: TuneIn
- MLB Spread: Chicago Cubs -1.5 (Total 8.5)
Why Bet on Chicago Cubs?The Cubs split a two-game home series with Milwaukee to open this week. Chicago has been without closer Brandon Morrow for weeks, but he’s scheduled to resume throwing off a mound this weekend. Morrow has been sidelined since the All-Star break due to discomfort in his lower right biceps and there is currently no timetable for his return to the Cubs’ bullpen, though a successful mound workout would be a significant step in the right direction. Pedro Strop has been serving as the Cubs’ primary closer in Morrow’s absence.Third baseman Kris Bryant and pitcher Yu Darvish also have missed weeks. Darvish (elbow) threw around 45 pitches in a simulated game on Tuesday morning. He’s expected to head out on a rehab assignment and could be back early next month if not setbacks. Bryant’s return is still TBA. David Bote has received the recent starts at the hot corner for Chicago.Chicago actually made a trade on Wednesday. They acquired outfielder Terrance Gore from the Royals for a player to be named later or cash considerations; assigned him to Triple-A Iowa. The 27-year-old speedster has spent the entire 2018 season in Triple-A, slashing just .211/.304/.254 in 67 games. Gore has one home run (and 309 stolen bases) in 2,242 professional plate appearances between the minors and majors. Why does this matter? He could be used as a pinch-runner in key spots once rosters expand in September as the Cubs push for the NL’s best record.It’s former ace lefty Jon Lester here. Lester (12-5, 3.89) took the loss against the Nationals on Thursday, allowing nine runs (eight earned) on 10 hits over 3.2 innings. He struck out five and walked one. Lester has posted a 10.32 ERA in five starts since the All-Star break. Opponents are hitting .383 off him in the second half.
Why Bet on Pittsburgh?The Pirates enter this one on a three-game skid, being swept two open this week at a bad Minnesota team. Josh Harrison had three hits Wednesday in Pittsburgh’s loss to the Twins. All three were singles including a bunt hit off Oliver Drake in the fifth inning. He scored his only run in the fourth on Gregory Polanco’s RBI single to right field. Harrison has had a productive month, batting .308 across 39 August at-bats.Starting outfielder Starling Marte sat Wednesday due to an illness. So did shortstop Jordy Mercer. Mercer made an early exit from Tuesday night’s game after experiencing discomfort in his left calf. If he can’t play again Thursday, it will be new addition Adeiny Hechavarria.It’s Ivan Nova on the mound. Nova (7-6, 4.42) allowed two runs on three hits and two walks while striking out three over six innings in a win over the Giants last Thursday. He was excellent to begin the night, allowing just one baserunner over his first four innings before running into some trouble in the fifth. Ultimately, Nova limited the damage and picked up his second win in four starts since the All-Star break. The 31-year-old has allowed just one home run in those four starts after serving up 19 in 18 first-half outings.Nova has put together a 3.88 ERA in 11 starts since coming off the DL in early June, and the Pirates have won eight of those games. He last faced the Cubs on June 10 at Wrigley Field, allowing one run with eight strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.
Latest MLB Betting Trends
- Over is 6-0 in Lester’s last 6 road starts vs. Pirates
- Pirates are 4-1 in Nova’s last 6 starts vs. Cubs
- Cubs are 4-1 in Lester’s last 5 starts vs. Pirates
- Cubs are 5-2 in the last 7 meetings in Pittsburgh
- Over is 17-8 in the last 25 meetings in Pittsburgh
- Chicago is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games on the road
- Chicago is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games on the road
- The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Chi Cubs’s last 8 games
- Pittsburgh is 1-5 ATS in its last 6 games at home
- Pittsburgh is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games
- The total has gone OVER in 4 of Pittsburgh’s last 5 games at home