NL Central Picks: June 9, 2013

Lance Lynn - Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images North America

Lance Lynn – Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images North America

With three of the National League’s top teams separated by just two and a half games, the NL Central is shaping up to be the finest and most competitive division in baseball this year. Bettors have been getting great action from the Central all season and that trend continues today, as all five teams will be on the diamond in three high-profile match-ups. Here are our picks for each one!

Philadelphia Phillies +1.5 at Milwaukee Brewers -1.5

The Milwaukee Brewers have hit a rough stretch lately, but surprisingly enough, they’ve had plenty of success against the Phillies. Milwaukee has won just five of its last 15 games, but four of those wins have come against Philly, with two coming in their current four-game set with the Phils.

The Brew Crew will send Kyle Lohse (1-6, 4.39 ERA) to the mound as they look to take three of four from Philly, but the Phillies will counter with Jonathan Pettibone, who has pitched well so far this year with a 3-1 record and a 3.40 ERA.

Even though the Brewers seem to have Philly’s number lately, I like the Phillies on the road with today’s pitching match-up. Milwaukee’s success against Philadelphia is an anomaly more than anything, so take Philadelphia to cover +1.5 today.

Pittsburgh Pirates -1.5 at Chicago Cubs +1.5 

The Pittsburgh Pirates haven’t swept the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field in over a decade, but it’s a new era in Pirates baseball, as they enter today’s contest tied for the third-best record in the National League with division foe Cincinnati.

After winning the first two games in the series, the Pirates will send Jeff Locke to the mound as they go for the sweep. Locke has been exceptional all season long, coming into today’s game with a 5-1 record and a 2.45 ERA.

The Cubs will counter with Edwin Jackson, who has struggled to say the least. Jackson has posted a 1-8 record and a 6.29 ERA so far this year and against Pittsburgh, those numbers are unlikely to improve.

Although the Cubs are at home today, this one seems like a pretty easy call. Take the Pirates to cover -1.5 in the win as they sweep away the helpless Cubbies.

St. Louis Cardinals -1.5 at Cincinnati Reds +1.5 

Even after losing last night 2-4 against the Cincinnati Reds, the St. Louis Cardinals still own the league’s best record, but Cincy is closing fast and could pull to within a game and a half of the lead with a win in tonight’s rubber match.

And there will be some serious talent toeing the rubber in this significant mid-season showdown. The Red Birds will give the ball to Lance Lynn, who hasn’t disappointed with it in his hands, as he’s gone 8-1 so far this season with an ERA of 2.76. Meanwhile, the Reds will send the always reliable Bronson Arroyo to the mound, who hasn’t gotten a ton of run support this year, but has still managed a 6-5 record and a solid 3.38 ERA.

This will easily be the closest match-up of the day and even though Lynn has already beaten the Reds twice this year, I like Cincinnati to at least keep things close and cover +1.5 today. The Reds have home field this time around and with Joey Votto coming in with a .379 average against the Cards, it should be Cincy’s turn to do some damage against the NL-leaders.

 

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