If you were looking for a true pitchers' duel in the baseball playoffs, you didn't have to wait too long.
The Chicago Cubs, winners of 97 games and possessors of the second wild card position in the National League, face off against the Pittsburgh Pirates, who won one more game and thus will host the one-off contest that is set to begin at 8 PM ET at PNC Park. Vietbet customers get to place wagers on the side, total and various props while the game is actually in progress, as they make use of the state-of-the-art software available through Live Betting Extra.
Each team sends its ace to the mound, and both of them have been absolutely splendid. The Pirates will go with Gerrit Cole, who has not lost a game in over a month, while the Cubs counter with Jake Arrieta, who has virtually owned the National League over the second half of the season.
Both of these clubs trailed the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central, but the Cubs really finished with a flourish, winning their last eight games.
In the baseball playoff odds that have been posted on this NL wild card game at Vietbet, the Cubs are favored on the road:
Chicago Cubs (Arrieta) -134
Pittsburgh Pirates (Cole) +124
Over 5.5 Runs -115
Under 5.5 Runs -105
We almost don't have to go much further than to lay out the numbers for you. Arrieta, who led the major leagues in victories with 22, was almost unhittable from August 1 forward. From that point to the end of the season, he was 11-0 with a 0.41 ERA and gave up 41 hits in 88-1/3 innings. That is staggering. So is his 13-1 road record, as he struck out more than a batter per inning and carried a 0.87 WHIP ratio.
What could be more impressive than that? Well, perhaps his record pitching against the Pirates this season. The Bucs compiled a .151 batting average and .176 slugging percentage against him, picking up just 18 hits in 36 innings. Overall, Arrieta has surrendered just two earned runs in his last nine starts. And the Cubs have won 17 of the last 18 games he has started.
Vietbet patrons may look upon Cole's numbers as pedestrian by comparison. The first pick in the 2011 amateur draft was 9-3 at home with a 2.83 ERA. He also handled the Cubs pretty well; he had a 2.13 ERA in four starts against them. Cole (19-8, 2.60 ERA) started two games in the NLDS against St. Louis last season and allowed three runs on five hits in eleven innings of work.
There is some real "strength vs. strength" on display here; Chicago had the best road record in all of baseball at 48-33, while the Pirates were a tough nut to crack at home, as their 53-28 record at PNC Park is the third-best in the senior circuit.
If you can believe it, Arrieta wasn't even named to the NL All-Star team, yet he is considered Zack Greinke's primary competition for the Cy Young Award. The Pirates certainly don't want to see the same guy they saw ten days ago, when Arrieta yielded just one hit over seven innings and threw only 84 pitches.
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