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Cubs vs. Reds Odds, Picks, Predictions: Back Hunter Greene, Justin Steele to Limit Runs Thursday (May 26)

Cubs vs. Reds Odds, Picks, Predictions: Back Hunter Greene, Justin Steele to Limit Runs Thursday (May 26) article feature image

Paul Ward/MLB Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: Reds pitcher Hunter Greene

  • The Reds host the Cubs in a Thursday matinee.
  • Justin Steele will get the ball for the Cubs and Hunter Greene, who has thrown well of late, will start for the Reds.
  • MLB betting analyst D.J. James breaks down the game, providing his picks and predictions below.

Cubs vs. Reds Odds

Cubs Odds-115
Reds Odds-105
Over/Under8.5 (-120/+100)
Time12:35 p.m. ET
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

The Cincinnati Reds host the Chicago Cubs in a Thursday matinee. Hunter Greene will go for the Reds, while Justin Steele gets the ball for the Cubs. Greene may struggle with control at times, but he has had three straight outings where he has gone at least five innings and allowed two earned runs or fewer — including one outing where he left a no-hitter on the table due to his pitch count. Steele has been great for the Cubs during this rebuild season. He induces weak contact and owns an xERA of 2.96.

Given that both these teams have had trouble piecing together baserunners off of right-handed pitching in May, taking the under is the correct play with two starting pitchers on the rise.

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Chicago Cubs: Is a Strong Performance Coming from Steele?

Steele ranks in the 71st percentile in Average Exit Velocity and the 98th percentile in Barrel Percentage. These are both strong indicators for an elite performance against an ailing Reds lineup. One gripe with Steele’s performances has been his inability to throw strikes. Although he is striking out 26% of hitters, his walk rate eclipses 11%, which ranks in the bottom 20% of his constituents. Cincinnati has walked at an 7.7% clip off of lefties this month, but negates that with a 22% strikeout rate. After all, the Reds 85 wRC+ ranks 24th in the league.

Five hitters in the Reds’ lineup have a .340 xwOBA off of southpaws this season, but the numbers dramatically drop after those five. This means every inning or so, Steele should have a cakewalk.

One risk to the under play is Cincinnati’s bullpen. They hold a 4.01 xFIP in May, but this is only scratching the surface because a few pitchers are skewing these numbers. The Reds have nine relievers with a sub-4.00 xFIP and should have enough efficient arms to overcome a weak Chicago lineup.

Cincinnati Reds: Can Greene Keep Cubs in Check?

Hunter Greene is starting to look like the prospect Reds fans were promised. His average velocity of 99 MPH is almost untouchable and sometimes, with raw, young and lively arms, walks will come. His walk rate is above 12%, but his strikeout rate is at 27.9%. On top of that, Greene has a 4.51 xERA versus a 5.49 ERA. He has been incredibly unlucky and much of his inflated ERA can be attributed to a few brutal outings.

He will face a Cubs lineup that holds a wRC+ of 88 this month off of right-handers. Christopher Morel has been a welcomed addition to the lineup with Jason Heyward on the Injured List. Yan Gomes and Willson Contreras are two of the other six Cubs hitters with a .340+ xwOBA off of righties this month. One of them will likely be sitting, so this leaves about five or six starters who can fare well against a righty. Most starters do not pitch as hard as Greene, so there is a guarantee at least a few of these hitters will be off balance, as well.

Now, the Cubs bullpen has been a strong suit all season. It ranks third in xFIP with a 3.32 mark in May, only trailing the Yankees and Brewers. The Cubs have more than enough relievers to throw at a paltry Reds bottom of the order.

Cubs-Reds Pick

These starters are both skyrocketing in value for their respective teams. If both of them can limit the walks, there is no reason this under should fail to hit. The relief corps in each organization have some solid arms.

Pairing those variables with awful hitting against these types of starting pitchers and the bottom of each order will produce outs consistently.

Take the under at 8.5 (+100), and play to 8 (-110).

Pick: Under 8.5 (+100) | play to 8 (-110)

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