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September 29, 2016

There is one pick tonight.
 

Take Pittsburgh Pirates (-130) on the ML against Chicago Cubs risking 3.9% to win 3%.
(Nova and Zastryzny m
ust start for wager to have action)

Don't expect to see the likes of Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Ben Zobrist, Dexter Fowler or any of the other regular starters tonight. Joe Maddon has elected to give his backup players playing time in order to rest his best position players. In doing so, he minimizes the risk of injuries and keeps his team fresh for the playoffs. It is a smart move by a saavy manager that deserves a lot of credit but on this particular night, it undoubtedly makes his team weaker and we plan to take advantage of that.

The Cubs have already clinched the NL Central division as well as the best overall record in the Majors! They are not a team that we bet against often and for good reason. They've won over 100 games this season and are in elite company in that regard. That also means, however, that games like this are fairly meaningless to them at this point. At the tail end of a long regular season that has seen them meet and exceed every expectation, they are simply going through the motions until October baseball (post-season) comes around. The coaching staff are experimenting with fringe players as well as new strategies in a unique batting order. There are a lot of moving parts in this lineup right now and that will likely have an impact not only on their ability to get on base and do damage but also defensively. After all, you're likely to see catcher Wilsson Contreras play in the outfield, Javier Baez at 1st base, where he rarely plays and a number of others playing in their second or 3rd favorite positions. They should do a serviceable job but it's not often that this particular group of players has stepped on the baseball diamond together. They've all had some playing time over the course of the season but that's when one or two of them joined the regular starters. We believe the lack of chemistry and prior playing experience together may lead to a fielding error or two.

Ivan Nova came over midseason from the Yankees and has generally performed well for the Bucs. While his last two starts have been forgettable, he did a more than adequate job in his previous outings and has given Pirates management food for thought. He's heading into free-agency and has expressed a desire to stay in Pittsburgh. Clint Hurdle and the Pirates have also shown some interest but contract negotiations will have to wait for now. What Nova can do, is record one more quality start to end the season on a high note and impress his suitors.

Nova is far from perfect but he should outlast Rob Zastryzny tonight. Zastryzny is a rookie who's making his first ever start in the Majors! The southpaw been working out of the bullpen for the Cubs and is not expected to last more than a few innings. This is likely to be a 'bullpen day' for Chicago as they'll likely several different relievers to come in and record the necessary outs. The 24-year old left-hander may do well first time through the batting order due to the surprise factor he possesses, given the Pirates' lack of prior experience against him but they should get to him second time through. Not only that, in what is his MLB debut as a starting pitcher, nerves and anxiety may well be a factor.

This game means more to Andrew McCutchen and the Pirates than the Cubbies. It is their last game at PNC Park this season and the hosts no doubt want to give their fans something to cheer about. It's been a disappointing season for them and the least they can do is end it on a winning note, as a token of appreciation. Look for Pittsburgh to put out a stronger lineup than the visitors tonight and come out victorious in what is their final home game of the season! They got to Jake Arrieta yesterday and should carry over that momentum tonight.




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