Cubs (-135) at Pirates
Opening Line: -142, Chicago
Opening Total: 8.5 (-125)
First Pitch: 7:05 p.m ET
Cole Hamels (7-9, 4.22 ERA) vs. Trevor Williams (10-8, 3.66 ERA)
Pirates starter Trevor Williams is a plus-EV bet catching points in his career, the Pirates going 18-18 SU when the right-hander takes the mound. Backers return 12.1 percent profit at 126.7 average odds. The staff allows 4.31 runs per game overall.
The above number is likely to stay on the low side if Williams keeps up his torrid pace. He has surrendered just a pair of earned runs in his last 29 frames dating back five starts.
The Cubs’ current lineup owns a .262 batting average and .750 OPS in 96 combined plate appearances against Williams.
In 2018, Chicago crosses the plate 4.13 times per game against right-handers entering with a sub-4.45 ERA, the MLB average number of runs.
Chicago starter Cole Hamels, meanwhile, has guided his teams to a 59.5-percent win rate in 126 career starts as a road favorite. He and the bullpen yield 3.66 runs per game all-time under these betting conditions.
The Pirates current lineup hits .273 against with just two longballs in 132 at-bats collectively. Not including Thursday night’s meeting against Cubs ace Jon Lester, Pittsburgh drives in 4.21 runs per game against southpaws with a 4.45 ERA or less.
Sports Betting Resources’ Model Projection: Cubs 3.8 – Pirates 3.7
Best Bet: UNDER 8.5 (-115), Pirates +120
Astros (-137) at Athletics
Opening Line: -130, Houston
Opening Total: 8 (-115)
First Pitch: 10:10 p.m. ET
Charlie Morton (12-3, 2.88 ERA) vs. Edwin Jackson (4-2, 2.48 ERA)
The A’s turn to veteran right-hander Edwin Jackson Friday night as they look to close a two-game Astros lead in the race for the AL West title. Jackson has claimed victory in each of his last three starts, yielding a single run on 11 hits in 19.1 innings.
Jackson has taken the pill 55 times as a home underdog in his career. Squaring off against high-scoring teams like Houston is where he shines, allowing just 3.96 runs per game in 24 outings versus opponents posting more than 4.5 runs a night. The Astros cross the plate 4.92 times per game, fourth most in the majors. They post 5.34 in 31 contests against right-handers as road chalk in 2018.
Houston’s Charlie Morton, meanwhile, shows few signs of cooling off after a hot first half, allowing 7 earned runs in 25 frames since the All-Star break. The Cy Young candidate has put in a quality start in seven of his last eight road outings.
The A’s average 5.12 runs per tilt in their last 25 games, dropping to 4.12 against starters with a sub-4.50 ERA.
The OVER is 13-6 in the last 19 head-to-head meetings at Oakland Alameda Coliseum dating back the last two calendar years. An 11.1 final score is cruising 2.5 runs beyond a 8.6 average total. Houston is 15-4 SU overall, taking the first pitch an average -152 favorite.
Sports Betting Resources’ Model Projection: Astros 5.2 – Athletics 4.8
Best Bet: OVER 8 (-110)