MLB Picks Today | Reds vs. Cubs Betting Preview (Friday, September 30)

MLB Picks Today | Reds vs. Cubs Betting Preview (Friday, September 30) article feature image

(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) Pictured: Graham Ashcraft.

  • The Cubs are home favorites on Friday afternoon against the Reds in the first of six straight matchups between these teams to end their seasons.
  • The Reds will send Graham Ashcraft to the mound while the Cubs will answer with Adrian Sampson.
  • Nick Martin breaks down the matchup below and shares his best bet.

Reds vs. Cubs Odds

Reds Odds+138
Cubs Odds-164
Time2:20 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Cincinnati and Chicago will kickoff a set of six consecutive matchups Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field to close out the 2022 campaign. These teams are heading into the final week of the season on opposite trajectories.

The Cubs have won 12 of their last 16 contests, and many surrounding the Cubs feel the club could be closer than people think to breaking through with another winning season.

On the other hand, the Reds have lost three straight and six of seven as they enter just a single game up on the Pirates for last place in the NL Central.

The Cubs will send the veteran Adrian Sampson to the mound while the Reds will counter with Graham Ashcraft, who could be part of the solution moving forward for Cincinnati.

Sampson and the Cubs have shown far better form than the Reds of late, but has that led to an inflated price in this spot?

Ashcraft and the Reds Look to Bounce Back

Things have gotten pretty ugly down the stretch for the Reds, who have to a horrific wRC+ of just 77 over the last 30 days.

Brandon Drury's departure compounded the holes in what was already a weak batting order, and it's unlikely the Reds start to show signs of life over these final six contests.

However, Ashcraft is very realistically due for considerably better results, and it would not surprise me at all to see the talented young arm find success Friday after a tough return from injury on Saturday.

Ashcraft's threw three scoreless innings, with his velocity looking true to form and touching triple digits, before a nightmare fourth inning ended his day with four earned runs.

His stuff has rated very well this season, with a 4.96 QOPA altogether. It's easy to see why the 24-year-old still holds some hype even in the midst of what has statistically been a disappointing campaign.

You hear the phrase all the time that if "x" pitcher ever puts it all together, he could be someone to look out for, and that certainly applies to Ashcraft looking toward his better outings this season.

He has a 3.89 xFIP with a 4.01 xERA over 97 innings this season. I believe he can shake off his tough outing last time out versus the Brewers in this spot.

Will Sampson's Luck Run Out for the Cubs?

Contrary to Ashcraft, Sampson has had some favorable luck this season, with his 3.23 ERA more than a full run below his 4.60 xERA and a far cry from a 4.23 xFIP.

Sampson has put together a spectacular month of September, posting an ERA of just 1.55 over 29 innings pitched. He has done this by stranding 91.9% of baserunners this month with a Strikeout Rate of just 13%, which is simply not sustainable moving forward.

Sampson has induced seven double plays in 16 opportunities this month, which again is an area of likely regression, even considering that finding double-play balls can be looked at as a skill.

The Cubs have shown more life at the plate of late than the Reds, but not by much. The Cubs have hit to a poor wRC+ of 88 themselves over the last 30 days.

Reds-Cubs Pick

Even though the Cubs are closing out the stretch strong of what has been a  very tough season, the Reds are priced quite long here because Ashcraft should offer them a pitching advantage in this spot.

Sampson could be overvalued after what has been an unsustainably strong month, and regression is looming for him soon.

When in top form, Ashcraft certainly has the ability to pitch far better than we have seen of late, on top of the fact he has suffered into some poor luck with BABIP. At +130, we have a good enough price to hunt for what will hopefully be strong outing from the 24-year-old.

Pick: Cincinatti Reds +130 (Play to +125)

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