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July 22, 2015 (Posted at 5:00 PM ET)

Tonight's pick is a 2% wager.

Take the UNDER 8 total runs in KC Royals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates risking 2% of the bankroll. 
(Volquez and Morton must start for wager to have action)

This Inter-league contest pits two of the most fundamentally sound teams in the league against each other. Both clubs have solid pitching and generally good fielding especially with Pedro Alvarez out of the lineup. The Pirates actually lead the Majors in turning double plays with 111 already this season which could be a huge advantage to help them get out of a jam and keep the game low scoring. While both have been somewhat error-prone recently, that is certainly outside of the norm for both of these squads and we expect them to play a much cleaner game tonight and limit the potential for free passes to home plate which produces unearned runs. 

Tonight is also a chance for Royals pitcher Edinson Volquez to get some manner of revenge and prove a point against his former team. Volquez won 13 games as a starter for the Pittsburgh Pirates last year and was surprised to not be retained! Volquez is having a great year as part of this Kansas City team and is holding hitters to a .192 average with runners in scoring position this season! He should be motivated to put on a good showing and show his former team exactly what they gave up when they let him go. 

Meanwhile, Charlie Morton has cooled off somewhat since starting the season 5-0, but a lot of that has been due to misfortune as he has caught a couple of unlucky bounces in recent starts which has led to unearned runs. Morton has showed flashes of brilliance this season and his sinker ball can be downright devastating to hitters when his command is on. Very few KC bats have seen him in their careers and for the ones that have, it has only been a handful of at-bats. If Morton's command is on, we believe it will take a couple of orders through the the Royals lineup to become adjusted to his timing and delivery and keep the game low scoring.  

While both starting pitchers have the capability to produce quality outings, the bullpens for both squads have been absolutely lights out. Kansas City has arguably the very best bullpen in the league and when they enter the game, scoring any additional runs become a monumental task for their opponents. Meanwhile the Pirates pen has done a respectable job this season as well with a combined 2.52 ERA in almost 283 innings of work. If both starting pitchers do their jobs, this should be a very closely contested and low scoring affair. 

As we said earlier, both of these teams play fundamentally sound baseball which means that they get their scoring the hard way, by grinding out hits and solid base-running. Neither of these teams have flashy offenses and neither hit an above average amount of home runs. They are ranked 25th and 26th respectively in hitting home-runs out of 30 MLB teams! They limit themselves and usually their opposition to playing small ball and earning each run scored. This caused scores to reside a bit on the lower side of things which helps when placing a wager on the under.

With the total being set at 8 runs, it will take quite an explosive effort from both offenses against these pitching staff to reach that number. It also provides the possibility of a 'push' which is valuable in what could be a closely contest game. A 3-3 score that goes to extra innings could easily become a 5-3 final if the winning team hits a 2-run shot for example or if the visiting team scores multiple runs in the top of an inning. Getting a whole number (8) is an important insurance plan for a game like this! This should be a lower scoring contest that stays under the set total.

Other notable facts to consider:

  • The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Pirates' last 8 games against Royals!
  • 10 of 16 Pittsburgh games have gone UNDER with the total set in this range.
  • 24 of 34 Royal games have gone UNDER when they have played teams with winning records!

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