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Cubs vs. Pirates MLB Pick – June 18th

I played it pretty close to the vest yesterday, taking the better pitcher and the vastly better team despite a slimmer payout than I usually look for. Sometimes, it’s better not to try to outsmart the room and to just take the relatively easy payday. Fortunately, Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals delivered, despite making it a little more interesting late in their 7-4 victory over the Mets. The win was their third straight in the series and they will look to finish executing the Mortal Kombat flawless-fatality this afternoon with a four-game sweep at Citi.

Elsewhere, the top three teams in the Central all lost, as Milwaukee continues to lead the division by 2 ½ games by virtue of being the only team in the division over .500. The Cubs and Cards continue to flounder and the once promising Reds have now lost eight straight games.

Only the West seems to be winning. The Rockies, Diamondbacks and Dodgers continue to race at breakneck speed, going a combined 24-6 over their last ten games each. Only the Astros in the American League have a better record than the trio atop the NL West.

Let’s make it a great Father’s Day – for those of you it applies to – and wrap up the week with a winning wager.

Today’s MLB Pick:

Chicago Cubs -104 at Pittsburgh Pirates -106 (Total: 9)
John Lackey (4-7, 5.26 ERA) at Jameson Taillon (3-1, 2.90 ERA)

The Cubs are going to snap out of it and run away with the division. Right? Annnnny day now…

But as we approach the midway point of the season, the Cubs are still under .500, their starting pitching is mediocre at best, and entering today they are a pathetic 13-19 on the road. None of that bodes well today, sending a struggling starter to the mound in PNC Park. Last night was an exciting 4-3 dramatic Pirates win, highlighted by an Andrew McCutchen homerun. The Bucs will look to cap off a series win this afternoon with their prize hurler on the mound.

We took the loss going against Taillon last outing, figuring he’d be on a limited pitch count. He lasted only five innings, but he was magnificent in them, and the leash should be a little longer tonight. Taillon famously returned from cancer surgery after a mere month away and looks to be as strong as ever. He is definitely easy to root for, but today’s pick isn’t sentimental. The Cubs are the WORST road wager my money line in all of baseball, and getting the Pirates at even money at home with the starting pitching advantage is a really great price.

Since May 16th, Lackey is 0-4 with a 6.75 ERA. Over the last three weeks, McCutchen is hitting nearly .500. There’s another big check in the Buccos column. Thank goodness the whole world (and Vegas) refuses to look at the current reality in Chicago. Yes, they still are loaded with talent and have to be the slight favorite in the NL Central. But this is FAR from a dominant baseball team. They are hitting poorly and their pitching is subpar at best. Until that changes, we are getting 10-15% more on the Cubs lines that we likely should.

Today’s MLB Pick: PITTSBURGH PIRATES TO WIN -106

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