Major league baseball on Monday night and the Chicago Cubs will travel to PNC Patk to take on the Pittsburgh Pirates in game 1 of their 3 game series. Free Pick to follow. First pitch is scheduled for a 7:05 PM (Eastern) start time and the game will be televised on ESPN.
Over/ Under: 6.5 U -115
Important series for both teams as the Pirates are chasing the Cards for first place in the NL Central, while the Cubs are tied with San Francisco for the final wild card spot. The Cubs are 30-23 on the road this year, while the Pirates are 35-17 at home. The Cubs rank 23rd in scoring (3.85 rpg), while on the mound they are 5th in ERA (3.43). The Pirates come in ranked 17th in scoring (4.12 rpg), while on the mound they are 2nd in ERA (3.17).
Trends for today’s game includes: The Cubs are 6-1 in Lester's last 7 starts vs. the NL Central, but just 6-15 in their last 21 games played in Pittsburgh, while the Pirates are 51-21 in their last 72 games as a favorite of -110 to -150, but just 1-7 in Liriano's last 8 starts as a home favorite of -110 to -150.
Getting the ball for the Cubs tonight will be Jon Lester, who is 6-8 with a 3.26 ERA in 21 starts this year, while on the road he has gone 2-2 with a 3.24 ERA in 8 starts. Jon is 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA in 2 career starts vs the Pirates.
Taking the hill for the Pirates tonight will be Francisco Liriano, who s 7-6 with a 2.92 ERA in 20 starts this year, while at home he has gone 3-4 with a 3.65 ERA in 11 starts. Liriano is 4-2 with a 2.56 ERA in 10 career starts vs the Cubs.
Pick: Let's take a shot at the Under in this game. Jon Lester has been hot of late as he comes with a 1.66 ERA in his last 6 starts. He has allowed 2 ERs or less in 5 of those games and he allowed just 1 ER in 7 innings of work in an earlier start vs the Pirates this year. I expect him to be able to slow down a hot Pittsburgh offense in this one. Liriano also comes in on a roll as he has allowed 2 ERs or less in each of his last 6 starts, posting a 2.13 ERA over that stretch. He will be taking on a Chicago offense that has had many issues scoring this year. I just don't see these offenses coming up with 7 runs or more in this one.
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College Football Betting Pick: Utah vs Michigan
Jim Harbaugh is worth six points to Michigan according to the recently released Golden Nugget NCAA Football odds, but pro bettors Steve Fezzik and Scott Spreitzer think fans are expecting way too much way too soon for the new Wolverines head coach. In this 9/3/2015 match up, the guys think the Utes are on the way up, recruiting top Pac-12 talent, while Harbaugh and company will be struggling to find their stride this early in the season.