Robert Hanashiro / USA TODAY Sports

National League Central rivals meet when the Pittsburgh Pirates visit the Chicago Cubs in the first of a three-game series on Friday afternoon. This will be the seventh game between the teams in 2021. The Pirates (13-17), who are fifth in the division, are 8-10 on the road this year. The Cubs (15-16), who are third in the division, just 2.5 games behind first-place St. Louis, are 11-7 on their home field.

First pitch from Wrigley Field is set for 2:20 p.m. ET. The Pirates lead the all-time series 1,294-1,238, although the Cubs hold a 667-592 edge in games played at Chicago. Chicago is a -140 favorite on the money line in the latest Pirates vs. Cubs odds from William Hill Sportsbook, while the over-under for total runs scored is 7.5. Before making any Cubs vs. Pirates picks, check out the latest MLB predictions and betting advice from the SportsLine Projection Model.

This model, which simulates every pitch of every game 10,000 times, had a banner 2019 season, the league's last full schedule, returning more than $1,400 on its top-rated money-line and run-line MLB picks. It is off to a profitable start in 2021, going 36-28 on top-rated MLB money-line picks through five weeks, returning almost $400. Anyone following it has seen huge rewards. 

Now, the model has dialed in on Pirates vs. Cubs. You can visit SportsLine now to see the picks. Here are the MLB lines and trends for Cubs vs. Pirates:

  • Pirates vs. Cubs money line: Pittsburgh +130, Chicago -140
  • Pirates vs. Cubs run line: Chicago -1.5
  • Pirates vs. Cubs over-under: 7.5 runs
  • PIT: The under is 4-0 in the Pirates' last four games
  • CHI: Chicago is 12-1 in its last 13 home games against Pittsburgh
Featured Game | Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates

Why you should back the Cubs

Chicago will send right-hander Zach Davies (1-2, 8.22 ERA) to the mound. Although Davies has had mixed results against the Pirates in 16 career starts against them, he is 1-0 vs. Pittsburgh at Wrigley Field this season. In the April 4 matchup, Davies worked 5 2/3 innings, allowing four hits, two earned runs, while walking three and striking out five in picking up the victory. In his career, Davies is 5-6 with a 5.06 ERA against the Pirates.

Infielder Kris Bryant can be a difference-maker, and already has 10 multi-hit games on the season. In six games against Pittsburgh this year, Bryant is hitting .316 with three doubles, two homers and four RBIs. He has also walked four times. In 18 games at Wrigley Field in 2021, he is batting .273 with a .515 slugging percentage with seven doubles and three home runs. For his career, Bryant has worn out Pittsburgh pitching, hitting .348 with 28 doubles, one triple and 18 home runs with 54 RBIs.

Why you should back the Pirates

Right-hander Trevor Cahill (1-3, 7.40 ERA) gets the call for the Pirates and will make his sixth start of the season. In six career games against the Cubs, including four starts, Cahill is 3-2 with a 4.88 ERA. He has walked 12 and struck out 26. He has not faced Chicago this year. He pitched for the Cubs in 2015 and 2016. In his 13-year Big League career, Cahill is 86-97 with a 4.25 ERA.

First baseman Colin Moran leads Pittsburgh in hitting with a .292 batting average with four home runs and 19 RBIs. He was 4-for-12 (.333) in the just concluded three-game series at San Diego. For the season, he has nine multi-hit games, including a 3-for-4 performance against St. Louis on Saturday. In six games against Chicago this year, Moran is 7-for-21 (.333) with two doubles, one homer and five RBIs. 

How to make Cubs vs. Pirates picks

SportsLine's model is leaning over on the total, as the teams combine for 8.9 runs in the simulations, and it also says one side of the money line has all the value. You can only see the pick at SportsLine

So who wins Pirates vs. Cubs? And which side of the money line has all the value? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the money line to jump on, all from the advanced model off to a hot start in 2021.