The Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates look to start the second half of the season on a high note as just 4.5 games separate all five teams in the National League Central Division. The Cubs (47-43), first in the division, limped to the All-Star break, going 4-6 in their last 10 games, while the Pirates (44-45), fourth in the NL Central, won five of their past seven games. The Pirates have also taken down four of the seven meetings this season with the Cubs. Friday’s first pitch from Wrigley Field is set for 2:20 p.m. ET. The latest Cubs vs. Pirates odds show Chicago favored at -159 on the money line (risk $159 to win $100). Before making any Cubs vs. Pirates picks of your own, you should look at the MLB predictions from the SportsLine Projection Model.

This model, which simulates every game 10,000 times, entered Week 16 of the MLB season on a sizzling 18-6 run on top-rated MLB money line picks. Its top-rated money-line picks have now returned almost $1,700 on the season for $100 bettors, and anybody who has been following it is way up.

Now the model has dialed in on Cubs vs. Pirates. We can tell you it’s leaning over, and it also says one side of the money line has all the value. You can only see that pick at SportsLine.

The model knows Chicago, the winner of two of its last three games, has been hard to beat at Wrigley Field this season, going 29-16. Right-hander Yu Darvish (2-4, 5.01 ERA) gets the start. He faced the Pirates in his last start on July 3, getting a no-decision. He gave up four runs with six strikeouts and no walks in 6 2/3 innings.

Third baseman Kris Bryant ended the first half of the season on a roll, hitting in seven of eight games. He has hit Pirates pitching well, going 6-for-14 with two doubles and a home run in his last series against them before the All-Star break. Shortstop Javier Baez has also been red-hot with a six-game hitting streak, going 7-for-19 with a double and two home runs in his last four games against Pittsburgh.

But just because Chicago is ahead in the standings does not mean it is the best value on the Cubs vs. Pirates money line.

That’s because the Pirates have been on a roll, going 5-2 in July. Right-hander Chris Archer (3-6, 5.49 ERA) gets the start. He faced the Cubs on July 3 at PNC Park and allowed three runs in five innings. He walked three and struck out eight.

All-Star first baseman Josh Bell has hit Cubs pitching well and is 6-for-15 with a double, four homers and 11 RBIs in his last four games against Chicago. Also pounding Cubs pitching is second baseman Adam Frazier, who is 10-for-15 with five doubles, one homer and six RBIs in his last four games against them.

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 Pirates vs. Cubs money line you should be all over Friday, all from the advanced model on an 18-6 roll, and find out.

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