MLB Pick on Cincinnati Reds as Underdogs in Pittsburgh

LT Profits Sports Group

Wednesday, May 6, 2015 3:25 PM UTC

Wednesday, May. 6, 2015 3:25 PM UTC

Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an overlay side that has a better chance of cashing than its spread, offering long term value. Here is their Side Value Play for Wednesday.


The underdogs could hold value in a matchup of two hot pitchers Wednesday night when Mike Leake and those Cincinnati Reds (13-13, 7-8 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander Gerrit Cole and the Pittsburgh Pirates (12-14, 6-5 home) in the second game of a three-game National League Central Division series from PNC Park in Pittsburgh, PA at 7:05 ET in a game available on ROOT.

The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Cincinnati as a decided underdog for this contest at current odds of +142.

Reds Perfect vs. Pirates This Season
The Reds took the series opener 7-1 as +130 underdogs here in Pittsburgh last night, making Cincinnati a perfect 4-0 vs. Pittsburgh this young season including winning a matchup of tonight’s starting pitchers back in the Queen City 5-4 on April 8th. The Reds are now 3-2 on their current road trip after splitting four games in Atlanta and are third in the division, seven games behind the team with the best record in baseball in the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Pirates now sit one game behind the Reds in fourth place after being the losing MLB picks Tuesday and they have also dropped to two games below .500. We would not be all that concerned about the Bucs though as they have been wild cards each of the last two years after a prolonged playoff drought and they should be competing for another playoff spot again before this year is done.

Cole is the Real Deal…
We have been very high on tonight’s starter for Pittsburgh Cole since his call-up in 2013, and he has seemingly been fulfilling his vast potential. He is a perfect 4-0 in five starts this season with a 1.76 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and a .198 batting average allowed with a nice ratio of 35 strikeouts in 30.2 innings vs. just eight walks and one home run allowed, translating to a 2.14 FIP that is third best in the majors among qualified starters and also a third ranked 2.32 xFIP.

Interestingly though, the only start this season where Cole did not get a win was his no-decision vs. these Reds in that early April encounter where he was not significantly sharp allowing three earned runs in five innings while laboring through 93 pitches. That was actually the second tine in his three starts during his brief career that he has not pitched well against the Reds as they tagged him for five earned on nine hits in six innings the first time he faced them last year!

…But Leake Has Been Just as Good So Far
As high as we are on Cole, his struggles vs. the Reds may not be a coincidence and he is facing a pitcher in Leake here that has also been sharp this early season. Do not be fooled by Leake’s 1-1 record as he has a 3.03 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and a .179 batting average allowed, with the win coming in his last start Thursday where he tossed eight scoreless innings allowing only two hits vs. the Atlanta Braves!

Leake has 25 strikeouts vs. 10 walks overall but 15 strikeouts vs. just three walks over his last three starts and he has allowed three runs or less in each of his last three outings vs. the Pirates, leaving him at 6-3 with a 3.28 ERA lifetime against them. He now gets to face a Pittsburgh lineup ranked 25th in the majors in runs scored with 3.62 per game, 26th in batting average at .227 including a disgusting .210 here at home and 28th in team OPS at .631.

Cincinnati Likes Visiting Pittsburgh
Finally the Reds are now actually 6-0 in the last six head-to-head meetings with the Pirates going back to last season and they have had no qualms about visiting PNC Park, with the win last night leaving Cincinnati 7-3 in the last 10 meetings in Pittsburgh.

As great a pitcher as Cole is, his struggles vs. the Reds combined with the pitching of Leake this year seems to give Cincinnati the value at this nice underdog price while again visiting Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

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MLB Pick: Reds +142

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