It was only a matter of time, but Justin Steele finally had a truly awful start last week when he got torched by the Arizona Diamondbacks for six runs on seven hits. One start doesn’t change that Steele is 16-4 with a 2.73 ERA and 1.14 WHIP. Nor does it change the fact that Steele is second in the National League Cy Young Award odds at +900 behind Blake Snell (-1600).
The Pittsburgh Pirates are down to their last life and are currently the worst team in the NL that hasn’t been eliminated from the playoffs yet. But their MLB betting lines to make the postseason are already off the board, which suggests their exit from the Wild Card race is only a matter of time.
I’m interested to see how Steele responds to his worst start of the year, so let’s dive right into this matchup.
Cubs Need to Steele a Win
The Pirates‘ clock to be eliminated from the playoffs can be counted in hours, not days, as they are nine games behind the Cubs for the third Wild Card spot in the NL. Considering Pittsburgh is 1-4 against the MLB spreads with a -66.94 return on investment in their last five road games, it’s a good MLB bet that Pittsburg doesn’t make it out of this road trip alive.
The Cubs are in a much better position and have much more to fight for with a week and a half left in the season. Chicago is -115 to make the playoffs, and if all goes perfectly, could take over the division lead from the Milwaukee Brewers.
Chicago has dominated the head-to-head series and is 10-1 against Pittsburgh this year.
The Cubs are also in a much better position to win this game with a potential Cy Young winner on the bump. Mitch Keller (12-9, 4.04) will make the start for Pittsburgh less than a week and a half after giving up 12 hits and eight runs to the Atlanta Braves.
To be fair, Steele didn’t do much better in his last game. But it’s obvious he is for real, and even the best have off days. With two straight ATS losses, I bet Steele turns it around and cashes our Pirates vs Cubs predictions as -174 favorites on the moneyline.
There is also some value on the run line here, considering the Cubs are 40-36 ATS at home with the fourth-best ROI in the MLB at 7.92%. But the Pirates’ offense has one or two good games left in them and could keep this one close enough to cover.
MLB Best Bet: Chicago Cubs -174
Pirates vs Cubs Betting Odds
Pirates vs Cubs Game Information
• Game: Pirates vs Cubs
• Location: Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL
• Day/Time: Wednesday, Sept. 20, 7:40 p.m. ET
• Pirates vs Cubs Live Stream: MLB.tv