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MLB picks: Cubs vs. Reds, Brewers vs. Pirates

Profile Picture: Robert Criscola

July 29th, 2020

A pair of NL Central matchups yield our best bets on the baseball diamond for Wednesday night.  

Chicago Cubs (4-1) at Cincinnati Reds (1-4)

Wed, July 29 2020, 10:40 PM

CIN Reds[S. Gray]

Spread

-1.5

Moneyline

-110

Total

O 9.5

CHI Cubs[K. Hendricks]

Spread

+1.5

Moneyline

-110

Total

U 9.5

The Reds let the first two games of their series against the Cubs slip away, but bettors should expect Cincinnati to score some retribution at Great American Ball Park.

Casual bettors will probably be entranced with Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks, who is fresh off a complete-game shutout of the Brewers on Opening Day. But the North Siders’ ace struggled mightily against the Reds in four starts last season. He went 1-1, with a 5.16 ERA (22 2/3 innings).

Cincinnati first baseman Joey Votto has thrived against Hendricks in previous matchups, He is 11-for-28 (.393) against Hendricks, with three home runs. Votto has also drawn 12 walks.

Countering for the Reds is Sonny Gray, who excelled in five starts against Chicago in 2019. Gray went 3-1 with a 2.70 ERA and a 0.833 WHIP. Cubs infielders Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, and Anthony Rizzo are a combined 3-for-32 (.094) all-time against Gray.

Both bullpens have fared miserably in 2020. The Cubs are last in ERA at 9.00, while the Reds are 28th (6.43), so let’s play it safe and stick to the first five innings market here.

MLB free play: Reds moneyline first five innings (-115)

Milwaukee Brewers (2-3) at Pittsburgh Pirates (2-3)

Wed, July 29 2020, 11:05 PM

PIT Pirates[J. Musgrove]

Spread

+1.5

Moneyline

+130

Total

O 8.5

MIL Brewers[B. Woodruff]

Spread

-1.5

Moneyline

-160

Total

U 8.5

Both Brewers starter Brandon Woodruff and Pirates starter Joe Musgrove will seek to wipe the taste of an Opening Day defeat out of their mouths in the rubber match of this three-game series at PNC Park. The former appears to have the edge.

Woodruff draws a plum matchup with the league’s worst offense by OPS (.529). The Pirates’ biggest bat, first baseman Josh Bell, is still in search of his first home run of the season. Bell has struggled against Woodruff in the past, going just 2-for-14 (.143).

Musgrove usually struggles against Milwaukee. He is 0-1, with a 6.46 ERA, in four starts against this division opponent. Christian Yelich has a 1.231 OPS in 15 prior at-bats against the Pirates’ prime pitcher.

The Brewers are considerable favorites to prevail on the road in nine innings, but there is value to be had in the first five innings.

MLB free play: Brewers -0.5 runs first five innings (+105)

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