Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds Preview and Pick
by Darin, Pro Baseball Handicapper, Predictem.com
First place in the NL Central meets last place as the Cubs and Reds open
a four-game series Thursday at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. How
are we playing this contest with our daily free MLB picks?
The MLB Betting Line
Thursday’s MLB betting odds opened Chicago and Kyle Hendricks at around
-160 over the Reds and Matt Harvey, with an over/under of 9.5 runs. Early
betting action then pushed that spread down about a nickel, to the -155
Also, the Cubs could be found at around -100 giving the 1.5 runs on the
MLB betting run line.
Chicago just took two of three games from the Dodgers at Wrigley Field,
winning Wednesday’s rubber match 4-0. The Cubs pushed across a run in the
bottom of the first inning and that was all she wrote, as Jon Lester threw
seven shutout innings and reliever Anthony Bass closed out the last two.
Chicago actually won that one as a +100 home dog on the MLB betting odds
against hot Los Angeles starter Ross Stripling.
The Cubs are now 7-1 over their last eight series and 17-8 over its last
25 games. Big-picture, at 42-29 Chicago is tied with Milwaukee for the lead
in the NL Central.
The Cubbies have also played four unders in a row and 10 in their last
13 games, because they’ve been held to three runs or fewer eight times in
that span while holding opponents to three runs or fewer eight times. So
they’re not exactly bashing the ball around but they’re getting good pitching.
Cincinnati, meanwhile, just swept two games at home from Detroit, winning
Wednesday 5-3. The Reds trailed the Tigers 2-0 into the bottom of the sixth
but put up a three spot, then added single runs in the seventh and eighth.
Starter Tyler Mahle held Detroit to two runs through six innings, and reliever
Raisel Iglesias tossed a scoreless ninth inning for the save.
Cincy won that one as -135 favorites on the MLB betting line and covered
at +140 on the run line.
The Reds are 2-1 over their last three series and 6-2 over their last eight
games. But at 28-45 overall Cincy sits 15 games back in the NL Central and
realistically is simply searching for a path toward a better future.
The Reds have also played six unders in their last eight games, in part
because they’ve been getting some decent pitching.
Chicago leads this season series three games to two, with the totals pushing
2-2-1, as the games have averaged a touch over seven runs per.
The overs are 18-16 at games played at Great American Ball Park this season.
Harvey (1-5, 5.92) is just 1/11 on quality starts this season, 1/7 since
joining Cincinnati and 0 for his last four. Last Friday he gave up three
runs in five innings at Pittsburgh, and over his last four starts he’s allowed
16 earned runs and 23 hits through 21 1/3 innings. The Reds are 3-4 with
Harvey so far, with the unders going 4-3.
In two starts last year for the Mets against the Cubs Harvey gave up nine
runs and 11 hits, including three dingers, through 7 1/3 innings. New York
managed to split those two games, and both games played over the totals.
Hendricks (5-6, 3.55), by our tough standards, is 6/14 on quality starts
this year, but 0 for his last four. Last Saturday he gave up three runs
in six innings against St. Louis but walked four. And over his last three
starts he’s allowed nine runs through 16 innings. Chicago is 5-9 with Hendricks
this season, with the unders going 9-5, both thanks in good part to some
poor run support.
In three starts over the last season-plus against Cincinnati Hendricks
has allowed five ER and 17 hits through 17 innings. The Cubs lost two of
those three games, with the overs going 2-1.
We’re giving Chicago and Hendricks the check-mark in the pitching match-up
Thursday’s Batting Splits
Chicago ranks 2nd in the Majors against right-handed pitching this year
with a .261 team batting average, No. 1 with a .342 team OBP and 10th with
a .419 team slugging percentage.
The Reds rank 10th against RHP with a .252 BA, 5th with a .327 OBP but
22nd with a .390 slugging percentage.
We gotta give the Cubbies the edge with the sticks for Thursday.
The Chicago bullpen ranks 2nd in the ML with a 2.72 ERA and 10th with a
1.24 WHIP, while going 20/27 on save opportunities.
The Cincy pen ranks 21st in ERA at 4.14 and 22nd in WHIP at 1.39 while
converting 16 of 22 save opps.
We’ll give the Cubs the edge in the bullpen comparison, too.
Free Cubs/Reds Pick
Chicago owns the edge in all three of our major handicapping factors, and
we like playing road favorites against the run line. So we’ll take the Cubs
and chase the better price, giving the run and a half. Tired of your credit card not working at online sportsbooks? End that problem TODAY by signing up at Bovada Sportsbook where your card WILL work for deposits!