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Most years we pick on the Pirates, we’ve been giving them the respect they deserve this year, and it’s been paying off. Here's my best strikeout prop for Friday's Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates matchup.

Chicago Cubs vs Pittsburgh Pirates Prediction: No Smiles Today for Drew Smyly

This feels high. Smyly has failed to reach 5 or more in his two starts thus far and one of the games was against this same Pittsburgh team where he only had 1 strikeout. Pittsburgh has excelled at preventing lefties from striking them out this season with Steven Matz as the only outlier with 5. Patrick Corbin is arguably the best they’ve faced and he only had 4 K’s through 5.1 innings pitched. I think Smyly should only go 5 innings at the absolute most. He was actually dealing in his opener against Pittsburgh as he only allowed 3 hits but they pulled him after 68 pitches. He can pitch well and he can cash this for us still.

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Cubs vs. Pirates Line Movement

Chicago Cubs vs Pittsburgh Pirates Player Prop

1u - Drew Smyly Under 4.5 K’s (-120) (Bet $120 to win $100)

*Odds Available at Caesars at Time of Publishing*

Smyly has struck out 12 Pittsburgh batters in 63 plate appearances which is only good for a 19% K rate. If that number were to hold true he would need to face 26 batters on average to get to his fifth strikeout. Tonight I see him maybe facing 17-19 batters as he goes through the order twice or so. Pittsburgh Vogelbach, Yoshi, and Gamel are all lefties but I can't imagine the all starting and I would imagine only one or possibly two open the game up. When Pittsburgh stacks righties against lefties this year they have faired well so I wouldn’t imagine them changing that strategy thus far.

Taking unders early in the year is the smartest way to go. I will start to bet them more and ease in overs as they seem like no-brainers. Pitchers are still finding their groove and I’m definitely seeing more unders hit for K props than overs thus far. As a believer in fun, we might start taking the first 5 team total on the opposing side to spice up our picks and make it a more enjoyable viewing experience. This 4.5 feels high and I can imagine this closing at 3.5 with juice on the over. Let's hope Pittsburgh hits him better than last time and can get him out quickly so we don’t have to sweat out flyouts and groundouts.

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Article Author


Josh has a knack for picking winning bets, and he specializes in the NFL, NBA, and MLB. As a lifelong Detroit sports fan, he has plenty of time on his hands during playoff season. You can follow him on Twitter at @ThatGuyBets.


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