MLB Odds & Picks for Pirates vs. Reds: Wednesday Afternoon’s Over/Under Offering Betting Value
Rick Ulreich/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Nick Lodolo (40).
- There's a sneaky good pitching matchup on the slate as the Reds host the Pirates.
- Nick Lodolo gets the start for Cincinnati and Roansy Contreras takes the ball for Pittsburgh.
- D.J. James previews this matchup and offers up his best bet below.
MLB Odds: Pirates vs. Reds
|Time||12:35 p.m. ET|
|Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.|
In a sneaky pitching matchup between two up-and-coming prospects, the Pittsburgh Pirates will visit the Cincinnati Reds for a matinee. Roansy Contreras starts for the Pirates and Nick Lodolo gets the ball for the Reds.
Contreras burst onto the scene with a plus-fastball and an exceptional chase rate. He has a 3.29 ERA against a 4.56 xERA, so he has been lucky. Much of this has to do with hard contact. He ranks in the first percentile in Hard-Hit Rate, which is concerning. If he works that out, watch out. Luckily for him, the Reds rank third-to-last in Hard-Hit Rate on the season. Tyler Naquin, Tommy Pham and Brandon Drury are no longer on the team, so those numbers have not improved.
Lodolo has been a surprising add to the Reds’ rotation. He was a top prospect for a reason. He ranks amongst the middle of the pack in allowing hard contact, but his xERA and ERA are 3.73 and 3.78, right in line with expectations.
The Reds struggle with right-handers and the Bucs do not fare well against southpaws. Expect the starters to go deeper into this game and runs to be at a premium.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Can Contreras Twirl a Gem?
Contreras has a promising future. He manufactures whiffs at an above average clip with his 96 mph fastball and an above-average slider. This is a nasty combination, especially if he can figure out a usable third pitch.
Still, he should pitch well against the Reds. Cincinnati has five hitters with a xwOBA above .330 off of right-handers in the past month. The rest of the lineup plummets in production, however.
Over the past month, only one Reds’ hitter (Colin Moran) have eclipsed an average exit velocity of 90 mph. As previously mentioned, the Reds do not hit the ball hard, which eliminates one of Contreras’ weaknesses.
The Pirates do have a weaker-than-normal bullpen with a 4.46 xFIP. They only have a couple active arms with a xFIP under 4.00 — a concern to the under. Manny Bañuelos has been one of the more productive Pittsburgh relievers, so expect to see some action from him. The Pirates have multiple arms on the Injured List, including All-Star closer David Bedar, so they may have some trouble closing out a victory. That said, Contreras has managed to go at least five innings in six straight starts, so he can take some workload off of the relievers’ backs.
Cincinnati Reds: Is Lodolo a Future Ace?
Lodolo has been even more impressive than Contreras. Lodolo’s strikeout rate is nearly 30% and he also has a sub-9% walk rate. That walk rate is a touch below average, but with the Pirates lineup facing him, do not expect many free passes.
The Pirates have a few hitters with a .350+ xwOBA off of southpaws in the past month. However, Cal Mitchell, Taylor Heineman and Diego Castillo fall below a reasonable sample size, so they may not be in the lineup. This leaves Kevin Newman and Bryan Reynolds as the only bats above that productivity threshold. The bottom of the lineup, like the Reds’ lineup, is brutal. Do not expect many baserunners once Lodolo gets through the bulk of the Pirates’ order.
The Reds at least have four relievers with a sub-4.00 xFIP, so this is not as much of a concern. In addition, Lodolo has gone at least seven innings in three of his past five outings. He has displayed the ability to pitch deep into games and looks like an ace in the making.
The market has not quite picked up on how much potential Contreras and Lodolo have shown this season. They both have elite arsenals for rookies and should be able to mow down these weaker lineups. The Pirates need to figure out who comes in relief of Contreras, but if they can hold the Reds in check, this under should easily hit. Take the under at 8.5 (-107), and play it to 8 (-125).
Pick: Under 8.5 (-107) | play to 8 (-125)