MLB Odds: Cubs Visit Pirates in Double-Tough NL Central. The Chicago Cubs (68-49, minus-0.21 betting units) are once again on top of the National League Central standings, but with three other winning teams in the division, their path to the playoffs is anything but secure. The Cubs will visit the Pittsburgh Pirates (61-58, plus-2.29 units at Bovada) Thursday night in the opener of an important four-game set at PNC Park, beginning at 7:05 PM ET.
Jon Lester (3.89 ERA) will start the game for Chicago, and while Lester made the All-Star Game this year for the fifth time, his performance level is arguably the worst it’s been since he broke into the majors in 2007. Lester has given up a career-high 1.47 home runs per nine innings; the Cubs are still 17-7 this year in his 24 starts for 8.29 units in profit, but that’s after providing Lester 5.96 runs of support per game. That’s well above Chicago’s season average of 4.92 runs, driving the Over to a 14-9-2 record.
The Pirates have yet to officially pencil in a starter at press time, but Ivan Nova (4.42 ERA) is due up if their rotation holds. Nova has Pittsburgh up 4.69 units this year on a team record of 13-9 (Over 12-9-1). Bet on baseball at Bovada and get a free 50% bonus.