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June 17, 2017

There is one pick today. 

Take Pittsburgh Pirates (+109) on the ML against Chicago Cubs risking 3% to win 3.27%.
(Arrieta and Nova must start for wager to have action)

After putting up dominant numbers a season ago, there is no question that Cubs' pitcher, Jake Arrieta is having a sub-par season this year. He is 6-4 with an inflated 4.68 ER and 1.33 WHIP in 73 innings of work this season and has become very hittable for opposing offenses. In his last contest, he was roughed up pretty badly, conceding 4 runs in just over 4 innings of work against the Rockies. After dropping last night's series opener, 9-5, the Pirates offense will be in full-blown bounce back mode tonight which could spell trouble for Arrieta if he continues to struggle on the mound.

While Arrieta has been struggling, his counterpart has been having himself a stellar season. Ivan Nova has quietly put together a solid season and comes into this contest with a respectable 2.83 ERA and 1.01 WHIP over 89 innings of work. Nova is coming off one of his best performances of the season in his last outing where he tossed 6 shutout innings against the Miami Marlins. What has been impressive about Nova this season has been his ability to keep the ball in the ballpark. He has given up just 8 homeruns on the season which makes it incredibly difficult for teams to pile up runs on the right-hander. Given the inconsistency of the Cubs offense at time this season, if Nova can continue to limit the homeruns, it will be difficult for the Cubs to plate runs in this contest.

We believe Nova will have the edge on the mound in this contest. He only has one career start against the Cubs in which he tossed 5.1 innings and gave up just a single earned run. The Cubs bats don't have a lot of experience against him, which given the way he has been pitching, should allow Nova to carefully navigate this lineup throughout the first few innings. If he can limit the damage, Arrieta's struggles should open up holes that the Pirates offense can to grab the lead in the early portion of this matchup.

The Cubs have struggled on the road, having lost 13 of their last 16 road games. Arrieta has also struggled on the road. The Cubs have lost 5 straight when Arrieta takes the mound on the highway and the veteran has seen his ERA balloon up to 5.20 in 8 starts on the road this season. Nova has been a difficult out at home in PNC Park where he owns a 2.29 ERA and 0.915 WHIP and has produced Quality starts in 6 of his last 7 appearances. The Cubs are still getting a ton of respect for their World Series win a season ago, and their odds are almost always inflated. We believe the wrong team is favored in this contest and that opens up a ton of value on the Pirates in this one.

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