MLB Betting: Cubs to club Cards

Matt Garza’s motivation to prove his worth and Lance Lynn’s recent struggles should result in a Chicago Cubs victory at home to the St. Louis Cardinals. Whether Garza ends up leaving Chicago or not, this is an important start as it’s his last before the All Star break. If he’s going to get shipped away, now is a key moment to show his talents as the break is a time when negotiations before the trading deadline begin to really heat up. And if the Cubs want to keep him, they’ll want to be reassured of his talent now. The good news for Cubs fans: Garza has been fantastic over his past five starts, going 4-0 with a 0.97 ERA. With so much at stake there’s no reason to believe he won’t keep dealing.

As for Lynn, it was right around this point last season that fatigue set in and his performance level diminished (he actually spent time in the bullpen to rebuild arm strength early in the second half of 2012). True to that form, Lynn has been struggling again, owning a 5.49 ERA over his past five starts. An additional factor: Lynn isn’t great on the road. In nine away starts he has a 5.03 ERA (compared to a 2.44 ERA in nine home appearances). Consider the Cubs, on here at 2.10, a good shot for the upset.

The Pittsburgh Pirates will reign victorious at home against the New York Mets. In his first start back off the disabled list on 7 July, Pirates’ starter A.J. Burnett showed he’s physically fine: in five innings against the Chicago Cubs he gave up one run on three hits. He has a good track record against the Mets,  albeit in a small sample size. Through 69 plate appearances, Mets hitters have just a .194 lifetime average against him. The team's big star, David Wright, owns just a .167 average in 18 at-bats against Burnett.

Additionally, the Pirates have been one of baseball’s best clubs at home. Coming into the series, Pittsburgh are 30-17 (.638 winning percentage) at PNC Park.

Mets starter Carlos Torres has been great as a reliever this season (he has a 0.51 ERA in ten appearances). The problem is this is his first start of the year and he hasn’t thrown more than three innings in any of his relief outings. That means the New York bullpen will be taxed and the Mets’ relief corps hasn’t been too good in 2013. The club’s relievers have given up the fourth-most runs per game of any National League team. Pick the Pirates (1.66) to win.