National League Betting Preview & Best Bet: Miami Marlins at Pittsburgh Pirates

Jun 11, 2017

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Pittsburgh right-hander Ivan Nova is having a very strong 2017 campaign, posting a 3.04 ERA and 1.07 WHIP across twelve starts. Nova also owns a 2.70 ERA and 1.05 WHIP at home and a 3.32 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in afternoon starts.  I expect Nova to deliver for us with today’s free Best Bet winner.

The underrated hurler has compiled quality starts in 10 of his twelve outings this season and pitched a shutout the last time he faced the Marlins on April 29.

Nova has displayed elite control (0.76 BB/9) and does an excellent job in keeping the ball on the ground (49.4% GB%; career 50.7% GB%).  A solid 3.61 FIP and 3.93 xFIP indicate that the 30-year-old will continue to have success in 2017.

Meanwhile, Miami southpaw Jeff Locke toes the rubber in a familiar environment as he pitched for the Pirates from 2011-16, starting 110 games.  Locke posted an unremarkable 4.41 ERA with Pittsburgh and wasn’t tendered a contract by the Pirates during the offseason.  After signing a one-year deal with Miami, Locke landed on the disabled list during spring training with left biceps tendinitis.

Locke finished 2016 with a 5.44 ERA, 4.84 FIP, 4.91 xFIP and 5.06 SIERA, together with a terrible 13% strikeout rate (well below the league average of 21%) and a career-high 31% hard contact rate.  The middling lefty is also held back from a subpar Miami bullpen that owns a 5.42 ERA and 1.48 WHIP on the road and a 5.15 ERA and 1.57 WHIP over its last seven games.

From a technical standpoint, the Marlins are just 4-10 in their last fourteen road games versus right-handed starters and 1-7 in their last eight games versus starting pitchers with a WHIP less than 1.15.  In contrast, Pittsburgh is 11-1 in Nova’s last 12 starts versus National League East opponents, while Nova’s teams are an incredible 44-18 as favorites of -150 or less when he toes the rubber.

With Pittsburgh standing at 13-8 (+8.0 units) in afternoon affairs this season, take the Pirates as Oskeim Sports’ Free MLB Best Bet for Sunday, June 11 and invest with confidence.

Oskeim Sports’ Free MLB Best Bet: Pittsburgh Pirates (-133)