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July 4, 2015 (Posted at 3:00 PM ET)

Picks will be posted at noon (12:00 PM ET) on Sunday.
 

Take the UNDER 8 total runs in Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cleveland Indians risking 3% of the bankroll.
(Locke and Anderson must start for wager to have action)

There is a reason why we have been so successful with Totals in the past. While the oddsmakers no doubt put in extensive research and though into setting and adjusting the line on the sides, Totals are sometimes treated as somewhat of an after-thought. On most occasions this is where the most value lies with a particular matchup and we believe this is one such case. Neither side in this contest in our opinion holds much value as we believe either team is more than capable of winning this game, however given the matchup that these two teams present to each other, we believe there is quite a bit of value residing in the total with plenty of rationale to back it up. 

The Indians have really struggled against left-handed starters all season long as evidenced by their 12-18 record. This really isn't too surprising as most of the power in their bats come from the left handed hitters in their rotation. It's well documented that lefties struggle against lefties and we expect that to be the case again this afternoon. 

We also expect the Pirates to struggle in the early going as they will be facing off against newcomer Cody Anderson. Anderson has been spectacular in his last two starts and has shown the poise and composure of a salty veteran. He has some nasty pitches that baffled the Rays lineup and we expect that the Pirates will need a couple of looks before they are able to get used to his timing and delivery. Anderson, in his two starts, has given up a total of just one run on eight hits in 15.2 innings while striking out six and walking one. If he performs as well as he did in his previous two starts, this should allow the score to stay low in the early part of this ballgame. 

While we believe both starters can have success against the opposing lineups, the two bullpens should as well as these two clubs have two of the better relief groups in the league. Cleveland's bullpen has an outstanding 12-1 record in save situations on the road, while the Pirates pen has a 13-2 record in save situations at home! Even when the starting pitchers exit the game, both pens should be more than capable of limiting the damage of the other and help limit the runs scored in this contest. 

Let's not forget that with this game being played in PNC Park, which is considered a pitcher-friendly venue. Games played at PNC Park have gone Under the total 106 times over the last 3 seasons, so it has been proven that this is a tough venue to score runs in. This contest is also being played under National League rules which mean that both Locke and Anderson will need to take their turn at bat. While Locke will no doubt be the more experienced in this situation, this does essentially take a bat out of the Tribe's lineup. There are very few pitchers in the league who can do damage behind the plate so playing with an 8 man rotation should help aid this contest staying under. 

Both teams have shown power in their bats this season but the two defenses are underrated and often overlooked.The Pirates rank 2nd in Majors in turning double plays, with already 90 this season! They also have by far the most outfield assists in Major League Baseball with 940! Cleveland also is 1st in the league in causing strikeouts per game with an average of 9.49 per contest. We feel that if this game can avoid the bad luck of going to extra innings, it should stay 'Under' as both pitching staffs are likely to have more success than people expect. 

Other notable facts to consider:

  • The Under is 24-15 when Cleveland has been on the road this season!
  • Four of last 5 games where Adam Hamari has been behind home plate have stayed under.
  • The Under is 7-3 in Cleveland’s 10 interleague games this season and 30-20 over the last 3 seasons!



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