Reds vs Pirates Monday Odds & F5 Predictions

Reds vs Pirates Monday Odds & F5 Predictions article feature image

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) Pictured: Paul Skenes.

Reds vs Pirates Monday Odds & F5 Predictions

Cincinnati Reds Logo
Monday, June  17
6:40 p.m. ET
Pittsburgh Pirates Logo
Cincinnati Reds Odds
Run LineOver/UnderMoneyline
-102o / -118u
Pittsburgh Pirates Odds
Run LineOver/UnderMoneyline
-102o / -118u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.
DraftKings Logo

The Cincinnati Reds got off to a slow start and endured a long losing streak at the beginning of May, but they have managed to turn things on since then. Since May 24, the Reds are 14-7 — it's the best record in the National League over that stretch.

Just one game out of NL Wild Card position, Cincinnati will face the game's best young pitcher on Monday when it heads to Western Pennsylvania to take on Paul Skenes and the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. Pittsburgh has been able to tread water all season and has gone 9-7 in its last 16 games.

The Pirates are -200 moneyline favorites for just the second time all season; the over/under is set at 8.5 (-102o / -118u). Below, I’ll break down my Pirates vs Reds prediction on the first five innings (F5) total.

Check out our MLB Betting Hub for more previews from today's slate.

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Cincinnati Reds

It looks like the Reds will go with a bit of a bullpen game with Carson Spiers getting the start Monday. Spiers has made five appearances as a long reliever, but this will be his first start of the season. Spiers has a 2.33 ERA out of the bullpen, allowing five runs across 19 1/3 innings.

Prior to this season, Spiers made two starts and four total appearances at the end of last season for the Reds. Cincinnati has spent Spiers back and forth to Triple-A throughout this season and he has posted a 2.51 ERA across nine games for Louisville.

In the minors this season, Spiers has posted solid strikeout upside, with a 9.45 K/9 rate, but that had not translated to the majors until his most recent outing. His last time out against the Cubs on June 9, Spiers fanned seven batters in less than six innings.

Injuries caused the Reds to come out of the gates slow on offense, but as they have gotten guys healthy, the rest of the lineup has also picked things up. Over the last two weeks, Cincinnati ranks sixth in wOBA and ninth in wRC+.

Offseason acquisition Jeimer Candelario has been crushing the ball over the last two weeks, and Jake Fraley and Spencer Steer are heating up along with TJ Friedl’s return to the lineup.

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Pittsburgh Pirates

If you needed to hand the ball to one guy to go out and win you a game, you can make an argument that Paul Skenes is already the guy you’d most want on the mound. Last year’s No. 1 overall pick tore through the minor leagues and has not shown many growing pains adjusting to big league hitters.

In just six starts, Skenes has a 2.43 ERA and has racked up a remarkable 46 strikeouts across 33 innings. His 12.42 K/9 rate is the second best in the league among starting pitchers.

Skenes throws five pitches but is mostly known for his fastball and his highlight-reel splinker. This splitter-sinker hybrid is one of the most unique and lethal pitches in the game. Opponents are hitting just .073 against it, allowing just three hits on 174 pitches. He pairs it with a 100 mph fastball that has a 41.8% strikeout rate. Skenes has thrown 60 pitches at least 100 mph this season, the most among any starting pitcher.

Paul Skenes, Ridiculous 96mph Splinker. 🥴

— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 29, 2024

While the pitching staff has been electric for Pittsburgh, the offense has not been. The Buccos rank just 27th in wOBA and wRC+ this season. They have some talented young bats, but they have yet to take a big step forward and are struggling with inconsistencies.

Bryan Reynolds is the star of this team and has been hitting the ball well. So has the middle infield of Oneil Cruz and Nick Gonzales. But they need more guys to step up. Gonzales and Reynolds are the only players with a wRC+ above 115 this season. Connor Joe and Andrew McCutchen have been okay, but Ke’Bryan Hayes needs to be more consistent and the rest of the team needs to improve.

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Reds vs. Pirates

Betting Pick & Prediction

Skenes has already established himself as one of the game’s best pitchers. He has a 2.54 xERA and has seamlessly adjusted to big-league hitters. Skenes has elite velocity on his fastball, and also tremendous control. He has the best K-BB% walk rate of any starting pitcher in the league.

Not only does Skenes have a 35.4% strikeout rate, but he also generates a 50.6% ground-ball rate. That means 86% of batters are either striking out or keeping the ball on the ground. The Reds rank 25th in strikeout rate and 17th in ground-ball rate, so they are below average in both.

Spiers will be making his first start for the Reds but he has shown well throughout the minors and has had success in his limited outings as a reliever this season. Spiers has allowed just two runs in his last 15 1/3 innings and struck out seven batters in his last outing.

Even if Spiers doesn’t pitch deep into this game, the Reds have an elite bullpen to take over. They rank fourth in bullpen ERA and ninth in xFIP over the last month.

The Pirates bullpen has been super shaky on the other hand. They rank 25th in reliever xFIP in the last month and this unit has a group ERA of 5.18.

We have already seen the Buccos' bullpen spoil a couple of Skenes’ starts, so instead of dealing with that sweat, I’ll back Skenes and Spiers to limit the offenses over the first five innings Monday.

Pick: First Five Under 4.5 (-125)

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