Friday MLB Betting Odds, Preview, Prediction for Reds vs. Cubs: Red-Hot Chicago Opens NL Central Series (May 28)

Friday MLB Betting Odds, Preview, Prediction for Reds vs. Cubs: Red-Hot Chicago Opens NL Central Series (May 28) article feature image
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Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images. Pictured: Kris Bryant.

  • Chicago opens a three-game series with Cincinnati on Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field.
  • The Reds are a +120 underdog and are starting Vladimir Gutiérrez in his major-league debut.
  • Matthew Trebby explains below why he thinks the Cubs will pick up their seventh win in eight games.

Reds vs. Cubs Odds

Reds Odds +145
Cubs Odds -175
Over/Under 6.5
Time Friday, 2:20 p.m. ET
TV MLB Network
Odds as of Friday morning via BetMGM.

A three-game National League Central set starts on Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field, where the Cubs host the Reds.

Chicago enters having won four straight series against the Tigers, Nationals, Cardinals and Pirates, including having won six of its last seven games. This recent hot streak, combined with St. Louis’ recent slide, has the Cubs tied for first place.

Cincinnati, meanwhile, has been hitting the hell out of the baseball. The Reds’ offense, while injured, is powered by two of MLB’s hottest bats at the moment. On the mound, there’s a bit of uncertainty surrounding a debuting right-hander, although there’s reason to believe his stuff will play in the show.

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Gutiérrez  Gets Call to the Show for Reds

Vladimir Gutiérrez is going to make his big-league debut at the Friendly Confines on Friday afternoon, thanks to a strong start to the minor-league season. Gutiérrez has a 2.65 ERA and 0.94 WHIP through three starts with Triple-A Louisville.

Gutiérrez is the Reds’ No. 12 prospect, according to MLB.com. He was signed for $4.75 million before the 2017 season but hadn’t shown results that merit such a total before this year. He reached Triple-A back in 2019 and had a 6.04 ERA and 1.40 WHIP through 27 starts.

There’s a good chance that the 25-year-old Cuban’s stuff plays in the majors. Gutiérrez’s fastball gets up to 97 mph and is primarily complemented by his curveball.

The Reds’ lineup, meanwhile is still without Joey Votto and Mike Moustakas, which is fine because of how well Jesse Winker and Nick Castellanos are hitting.

Winker has a 1.094 OPS this season, a number that dipped below 1.000 before he went 7-for-17 with five home runs in a three-game series last week against the Brewers.

Castellanos, meanwhile, is the hottest hitter in baseball. In his previous 12 games entering Thursday, he was slashing .511/.593/.844 for a 1.437 OPS. He has nine extra-base hits in that span to go with nine walks.

Cincinnati did own the second-highest OPS in MLB against right-handed pitching at .774 entering Thursday’s slate, trailing only the Dodgers.


Bryant & Baez Raking for Cubs

Adbert Alzolay showed his stuff played in the majors last season, when he registered a 2.95 ERA and 3.19 xFIP over six appearances (four starts), spanning 22 1/3 innings. His success was a welcome sight for a Cubs team that was in dire need of a fresh arm.

This season, Chicago made room for him in the rotation. His stuff has continued to play, although the results don’t show it.

Through eight starts (44 innings), Alzolay has a 4.30 ERA, mostly due to his allowing 1.84 home runs per nine innings. His 3.19 xFIP indicates there are better results on his way. Alzolay is allowing 1.43 walks per nine innings while striking out 9.20, both strong rates.

The 26-year-old has 0.4 WAR through eight outings, which would come out to about 1.5 over a full season. The Cubs would surely take that if they let Alzolay assume such a workload in his first full season as a major-league starter.

The Cubs put infielder Nico Hoerner on the injured list on Thursday, a blow for the 24-year-old who has become a fixture at second base. Anthony Rizzo, meanwhile, has missed the Cubs’ last two games due to back tightness. No word on the severity and his status for this one was on Thursday.

The Cubs’ offense this season has been led by Kris Bryant, who is hitting like a guy set to become a free agent and who has already turned down a $200 million deal from his current team. Bryant homered on Thursday and has a 1.009 OPS entering this matchup with the Reds. His 11 home runs are tied with Javier Baez for the team lead, and his 32 RBIs trail Baez by one.

The biggest change to the Cubs’ lineup has been moving Joc Pederson to the leadoff role, where he has thrived. Since May 5, when the Cubs began a series with the Pirates, Pederson entered Thursday with a 1.023 OPS in 15 appearances (13 starts).

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Reds-Cubs Pick

Rizzo’s uncertainty creates some hesitancy toward the Cubs here, then you realize that Chicago is red hot.

The Reds’ bullpen ranked 27th on Thursday night in MLB with a 5.32 ERA, and I’m not sure how much we can expect from Gutiérrez here with his first big-league start.

Also, the Reds are going to arrive in Chicago early on Friday morning because of their postponement on Wednesday night, which forced them to play an extra game on Thursday in Washington D.C.

As of Friday night, there were no run lines or totals posted for this game, so we’re strictly going off the spreads. The best number on the Cubs can be found at BetMGM, so that’s where we’ll take our action.

Pick: Cubs (-145)

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