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MLB Odds, Predictions, Picks for Pirates vs. Reds: Back the Home Team in Cincinnati (Thursday, July 7)

MLB Odds, Predictions, Picks for Pirates vs. Reds: Back the Home Team in Cincinnati (Thursday, July 7) article feature image
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(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images). Pictured: Jonathan India.

  • The Reds have fared well against the Pirates this season and will look to continue that streak in Thursday's doubleheader.
  • This matchup looks even on paper, but our analyst found an edge when looking at some advanced metrics.
  • Tony Sartori shares his best bet below.

Pirates vs. Reds Odds

Pirates Odds -108
Reds Odds -108
Over/Under 9.5 (-102 / -120)
Time 2:10 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

We have the first matchup of Thursday’s doubleheader between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Cincinnati Reds. This is the eighth meeting between these two clubs this season and the Reds have won four of the first seven meetings.

Will the Reds pull off another win against Pittsburgh, or can the Pirates grab the road victory?

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Pittsburgh Pirates: Is Contreras in for a Rough Start?

The Pittsburgh Pirates have returned to their poor form following a small win streak and have now lost eight of their past 12 outings. I expect this trend to continue as right-hander Roansy Contreras is slated to take the mound for Pittsburgh.

Through 11 appearances this season, Contreras is 2-2 with a 4.09 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP. While those numbers are not the worst, his metrics suggest regression is around the corner.

This season, Contreras possesses a .377 xwOBA, .269 xBA and a .536 xSLG. We saw this regression hit Contreras in a big way in his most recent outing as he surrendered seven earned runs on five hits through 1 2/3 innings against a Brewers team not known for its offensive prowess.

I expect this regression to continue for Contreras as he hits the road. Through six pitching appearances on the road this season, Contreras is 0-1 with a 4.56 ERA and a 1.61 WHIP.

It would not be shocking if Contreras does not get much run support in this contest either as the Pirates are slated to go against left-hander Mike Minor. Since June 1st, the Pirates rank just 28th in the league in BA, 23rd in SLG, 27th in OPS and 27th in wOBA when facing left-handed pitchers.

Cincinnati Reds: Can Minor Put Together Another Quality Start?

As mentioned above, left-hander Mike Minor is slated to take the mound for the Cincinnati Reds. Through six starts this season, Minor is 1-5 with a 6.82 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP.

So why back this guy? To start, he got the monkey off his back when he finally had a good start in his last outing against Atlanta, a team with a much stronger lineup than Pittsburgh.

Through six innings, Minor allowed just two runs and struck out three while surrendering no walks. It will be interesting to see how he responds coming off of his first good start of the season and I believe the veteran will use that performance as a building block moving forward.

Secondly, I previously discussed how the Pirates struggle mightily when facing left-handed pitchers. Lastly, this current Pirates roster has struggled against Minor in a small sample size.

Through 18 career plate appearances against Minor, this current Pirates roster possesses a .235 BA and a .351 wOBA. Additionally, Minor should get some decent run support as the Reds are slated to go against right-hander Roansy Contreras.

Since June 1st, the Reds rank 10th in the league in BA, 20th in SLG, 17th in OPS and 16th in wOBA. While those rankings are obviously not the best, they outperform the Pirates splits’ against left-handers in every category.

Pirates-Reds Pick

In terms of the bullpens, both are absolute garbage so hopefully they will cancel each other out as both relief staffs rank in the bottom five in the league in most statistical categories. That leaves us with the Contreras/Minor matchup.

At first glance, It would look like Contreras has the edge in this matchup. However, Minor’s metrics are stronger and he is coming off his best outing of the year while Contreras is coming off of the worst performance of his career.

Additionally, the Reds hit right-handers much better than the Pirates hit left-handers. Add in the fact that the Reds are at home and I will take them as a pick ’em.

Pick: Cincinnati Reds ML (-108) | Play up to (-120)

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