Pirates at Reds Picks and MLB Betting Odds
by Alan Matthews - 7/19/2013
I am not really ready to call any series in mid-July a big series, but I guess the Pirates-Reds matchup to open the second half is fairly important. At 56-37, Pittsburgh seems a lock to finish with its first winning record since 1992 and is just a game behind St. Louis in the NL Central while leading the wild-card chase. The Pirates need to prove another second-half fade isn't coming. The Reds (53-42) have a five-game lead over disappointing Washington for the second wild-card spot. So we could see the first division to ever have three playoff teams. By the way, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati play each other six times in the final nine games of the regular season. So one could easily knock out the other.
Bovada has a prop on several teams' postseason chances via any avenue. Pittsburgh is a -300 favorite to finally return and +200 to miss out. I still worry about the Pirates. Their pitching seems good to go, especially with the emergence of former No. 1 overall pick Gerrit Cole. I have concerns over an offense that ranks 26th in runs and batting average in the majors. All-star Andrew McCutchen is the only guy above .300, and he's 60 points under what he was at last year's break. The good news is that fellow all-star Pedro Alvarez's average is starting to climb. He's up to .250 by hitting .298 with four homers and nine RBI this month. I do think Pittsburgh will add another bat. Maybe Minnesota's Justin Morneau?
Cincinnati is also -300 to make the playoffs and +200 to miss. I'd be surprised if the Reds don't make it. Their pitching has been great, and the offense should improve when outfielder Ryan Ludwick returns from an Opening Day shoulder injury next month.
Pirates at Reds Betting Story Lines
One of the best under-the-radar signings this offseason was Pittsburgh inking lefty Francisco Liriano, who starts Friday's opener. He almost ruined his chance with the team. He signed a two-year deal in December, but on Christmas, the day before he was supposed to fly to Pittsburgh and sign his contract, he broke his arm at his home. That could have been costly. The original deal was for two years and $12.75 million. The team revised it after the injury to offer $1 million guaranteed for 2012 but a potential $13.75 million plus bonuses over two seasons.
Yeah, Liriano (9-3, 2.00) will reach many of those bonuses this year. He has allowed more than two runs just once in his past eight starts, and the Pirates have won his past four. He's 0-2 this year against the Reds despite a fine 2.25 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 12.0 innings. Reds star Joey Votto is 1-for-6 in his career of Liriano. Todd Frazier has two hits, including a homer, in five at-bats. Zack Cozart also has a homer off Liriano. Reds outfielder Shin-Soo Choo takes a 12-game hitting streak into this game, one shy of a career high.
Cincinnati counters with right-hander Mike Leake (8-4, 2.69). He has allowed more than two earned runs just twice in his past 10 starts. He faced the Pirates on April 12 and had his worst start of the year. He faced them twice more in June and allowed one earned run over 13 innings, and the Reds won both. Leake's numbers are much better on the road, however. Pirates first baseman Garrett Jones is hitting .324 with a homer and six RBI in 37 at-bats off Leake. McCutchen has a homer and five RBI in 38 at-bats but is hitting .211. Alvarez is 6-for-26 with no homers and seven strikeouts.
Pirates at Reds MLB Betting Odds and Trends
At BetOnline, the Reds opened at -113 and the Pirates +103 with a total of 8. Pittsburgh is 39-52-2 “over/under” (21-21-1 on road) and 57-36 on the runline. Cincinnati is 45-47-3 O/U (22-23-1 at home) and 46-49 on the runline.
The Pirates are 6-0 in their past six Friday games. They are 7-2 in their past nine on the road and 8-3 in their past 11 series openers. Pittsburgh is 2-5 in its past seven against righty starters. It is 5-2 in Liriano's past seven against the NL Central. The Reds are 6-1 in their past seven at home against lefty starters. Cincinnati is 1-6 in its past seven series openers. The Reds are 1-5 in Leake's past six starts with at least eight days of rest. The under is 8-0 in Pittsburgh's past eight overall. The under is 9-2-1 in the Pirates' past 12 road games against righty starters. The under is 4-1 in Liriano's past five. The under is 10-2-1 in Cincinnati's past 13 home games. The under is 5-1 in Leake's past six starts. The under is 7-3-1 in the past 11 in Cincinnati. The Reds are 4-1 in Leake's past five home starts against Pittsburgh.
Pirates at Reds Picks and Betting Predictions
Pittsburgh leads the season series 6-4 and split four in the only series at Great American Ball Park. If that series is any indication, go under on every game in this series. The final scores were 4-1, 4-0, 2-1 and 5-3. Neither team played great heading into the break. The Reds are 7-6 in July, with four losses coming with two runs or fewer scored. Pittsburgh is 5-7 this month and scored two runs or fewer five times. For sure under here, and I like that home lefty trend for Cincinnati, so the Reds are the pick.
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