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.
A Cy Young candidate is starting for the home team Wednesday night, but that appears to be giving good underdog value to the road underdogs when Mike Leake and those Cincinnati Reds (32-37, 12-23 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander Gerrit Cole and the Pittsburgh Pirates (40-30, 22-11 home) in the second game of a three-game series from PNC Park in Pittsburgh, PA at 7:05 ET in a game available on ROOT.
The posted money line at Bet365 has Cincinnati as a big underdog for this contest at current odds of +165.
Return Home Helped
The Pirates were swept in a three-game series vs. the Giants in San Francisco this past weekend, but they were victorious in their return home 7-6 in the series opener here last night, overcoming an early 4-0 deficit by scoring all seven of their runs in the fourth inning. Thus Pittsburgh remains in second place in the National League Central, six games behind the team with the best record in the Major Leagues the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Reds meanwhile are in fourth place and 13½ games behind the Cardinals despite playing better baseball recently, being the winning MLB picks in four of their previous five games before last night’s defeat. Cincinnati has gotten improved pitching as of late with a team ERA of 2.99 over the last 10 games, which has helped offset averaging 3.61 runs per game during this span.
Great Form, But Not vs. Reds
Cole has been one of the best pitchers in baseball this year at 11-2 with a 1.78 ERA and 1.07 WHIP, leading the Major Leagues in wins and ranking third in ERA. He has an excellent ratio of 97 strikeouts vs. 22 walks in 91 innings and he has allowed three runs or less in all 14 of his starts. However, he has probably had more help with this Cincinnati lineup than with any other team in baseball.
Cole is 0-2 in four career starts vs. the Reds with a 4.70 ERA and 1.43 WHIP while allowing a robust .292 batting average, and even this season when he has been absolutely dominant vs. the rest of the league, Cole is 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA, 1.70 WHIP and a .317 batting average allowed in his two starts vs. Cincinnati allowing exactly three earned runs in five innings on each occasion.
Leake in Nice Steak Himself
Besides, Leake is in fine form himself as he tossed seven scoreless innings and allowed just two hits with seven strikeouts vs. the Miami Marlins in his last start Friday, marking the fourth straight start that he allowed three runs or less, allowing two runs or less in three of those starts. He also has 21 strikeouts vs. six walks over those last four starts.
And Leake has been at his best away from the launching pad that is Great American Ball Park this year as he is 2-0 with a 2.50 ERA and 1.17 WHIP on the road.
Furthermore, Leake was brilliant in his last start vs. the Pirates on May 6th right here in Pittsburgh, tossing eight scoreless innings while allowing six hits. That continues Leake’s lifetime success vs. the Pirates as he 7-3 in 22 career starts against them with a 3.10 ERA.
He now gets to face a Pittsburgh lineup that is in a collective slump over the past five games, particularly vs. right-handed pitchers against whom they are batting just .205 and averaging 2.86 runs during this span.
Cincinnati Dominating Head-to-Head
Despite the records of these two teams, it is the Reds that have dominated this head-to-head series going 7-2 in the last nine head-to-head meetings including 5-2 this season with the second Pittsburgh win coming last night.
While facing Cole obviously presents a challenge, the Reds are one team that have hit him well so we look for Cincinnati to continue that uncanny success vs. Pittsburgh at a big underdog price on Wednesday.
MLB Pick: Reds +165