MLB Picks: Locke & Pirates Set To Sweep Reds Regardless Of Starter

Doug Upstone

Sunday, May 1, 2016 12:05 PM GMT

Sunday, May. 1, 2016 12:05 PM GMT

For those paying attention to the NL Central race and betting baseball, how Cincinnati and Pittsburgh are playing is essentially what you would expect from these teams coming into 2016.

The Reds have been nose-diving after 5-1 start and on the road, they bring tears to Cincy fans eyes with their dreary 1-10 record. After a touch of a slow start, the Pirates have won eight of nine and thanks to an offense which has been far better to this point to those teams which went to the playoffs the last three years.

Because of the pitching matchup (now changed for Cincinnati), the opening money line odds were the shortest of the three games, but will it matter with the direction of these two NL Central rivals? Let's look inside the numbers and figure out the best choice for MLB picks.


 

Pitching Matchup - Adelman vs. Locke
All the talk in Cincinnati concerning Raisel Iglesias this week was his fastball never reached 90 MPH until the fifth inning, which off the top sound important for a hurler who normally is in the 91-94 range. Iglesias has stated it is nothing to worry about as was interested more in command than velocity. Now the word is Igelsias felt a "pinch" in bullpen session Friday and is scratched. In steps Triple-A right-hander Tim Adleman who is 28, is 2-0 with a 4.24 ERA in three starts this season for Louisville.

For baseball bettors, they can only wish Jeff Locke's last name was how he pitched, but yet again that is not the case with a 1-2 record, 5.03 ERA and sickly WHIP of 2.19. His fastball is mostly average at around 90 MPH and while his across the body delivery would seem hard to pick up, it seldom is. The lefty has lacked command all season which is why his WHIP is so high, with 15 walks in 19 2/3 innings.

 

Offensive Overlook
Subtract the 13 runs in victory over the Cubs and in all other games since April 21st Cincinnati has averaged a measly 1.3 runs a contest. With Zack Cozart having easily the best start of his career at .361 and veteran Brandon Phillips at a solid .288, other than these two players, Cincinnati does not have anyone being a threat.

Since becoming an upper echelon club in the National League, Pittsburgh relied on Andrew McCutchen (5 HR's), Starling Marte (.323 BA), starting pitching and a run-stopping bullpen. However, thus far in 2016 the Bucs bats have been sizzling and every regular other than McCutchen has an on-base percentage of .350 or higher, which has lead to the Pirates averaging 5.3 RPG.

 

Betting Odds, History and Bullpen Numbers
The MLB odds at Heritage have Pittsburgh as a -140 home favorite with a total of 8. With better teams, Cincinnati has held an edge over the Pirates at PNC Park at 11-10 the past three years, with the Underat 12-9. Neither bullpen has been good and they've been even worse in home/road scenarios. Pitt's relievers have an ERA of 4.96 at home, with the Reds far worse on the road at bloated 7.36 figure.

 

Game Outcome
With the pitching change, look for Pittsburgh to be a rising favorite even though Locke is hardly a betting lock. The Pirates are scalding with six straight wins and Cincinnati is not with six consecutive defeats.

Both these streaks will end, but taking the Reds with unknown starter and terrible bullpen makes no sense.

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?Free MLB Play: Pittsburgh -163
Best Line Offered: at Intertops
MLB record: 7-5, +1.7 units

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