Pirates vs. Cubs MLB Best Bet: Runs Hard To Come by in Wrigley

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Miles Mastrobuoni #20 of the Chicago Cubs reacts after striking out during the ninth inning of a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field on May 17, 2024 in Chicago, Illinois. Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images/AFP

We have the normal full Sunday card of Major League Baseball betting matchups, with 14 games in the afternoon plus Sunday Night Baseball. And here we are with the three plays we feel have the most betting value at the current MLB odds offered by the top-rated sportsbooks.

These plays are based mostly on our proprietary model. One of the best bets for Sunday afternoon comes at Wrigley Field, where our model likes the total when the Pirates visit the Cubs.

Check out our other best bet for today:

MLB Best Bet: Under 7.5 (-105) at Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)

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Under 7.5 (-105)
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Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Chicago Cubs

Sunday, May 19, 2024 – 02:20 PM ET at Wrigley Field

Coming off a 1-0 Cubs victory at windy Wrigley Field yesterday, we are betting the Under in another expected low-scoring affair Sunday with Jameson Taillon hosting Mitch Keller and the Pirates.

Co-Ace of Staff?

The Pirates have the makings of a great Big Two at the top of their rotation in rookies Jared Jones and Keller. The latter would be the ace of many staffs and while his 3.93 ERA is relatively high, it is accompanied by a nice 3.37 xFIP. He has a nice repertoire of four pitches he can throw for strikes now that he has increased the usage of his slider.

Mitch has good enough velocity on his fastball at 94.6 MPH, but it now looks faster as he has thrown it only 32.6% of the time this year. Meanwhile, he has raised his slider usage to 22.9% while also mixing in his sinker and cutter. That refined mix has led to a 41.5% groundball rate while still maintaining a good strikeout rate of 8.35/9.

He is facing a Cubs lineup that has been much less productive against right-handers, in fact slightly below average in wRC+ at 98 compared to an impressive 113 against lefties.

Facing Weak Offense

Taillon has had injury issues the last few years, but he has been mostly effective when he has made it to the mound. That is evidenced by his career 3.93 ERA and 4.00 xFIP across 970 Major League innings. He is 3-1 in five starts this season with a spiffy 1.61 ERA, although a much weaker 4.61 xFIP accompanies that.

Still, that xFIP took a huge hit last time out when he was roughed up for seven runs on seven hits while lasting just four innings against the great Braves offense in Atlanta. He had allowed only three earned runs in 24 innings over his first four starts, and we foresee a nice bounce-back effort here against a much weaker offense. 

In fact, the Pirates are part of a three-way tie for dead last in the Major Leagues in wRC+ against righties at a woeful 78.

MLB Best Bet

So, with two effective pitchers, a poor Pittsburgh offense and the Cubs at their worst batting split, back the Under on Sunday.

Predicted Score: Cubs 3 – Pirates 2

MLB Best Bet: Under 7.5 (-105) at Bovada

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Under 7.5 (-105)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.