The MLB betting action goes on Monday, May 10, with just six games on the schedule, so here’s the best betting pick for the NL Central showdown at PNC Park in Pittsburgh where the Pirates host the Cincinnati Reds.
Monday’s clash opens a three-game series, and the Reds already swept the Pirates in a three-game set this season (5-3, 14-1, and 11-4). It was back in April at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, and the Reds will look to extend their dominance over the Pirates, as Pittsburgh is winless in seven straight games against Cincy.
The Reds are listed at -128 to win Monday’s opener. The Pirates are +118 home dogs with a total of 8.0 runs on BetMGM Sportsbook.
Cincinnati split its first six games in May
The Cincinnati Reds didn’t play Sunday in Cleveland due to bad weather, so they split their last two series against the White Sox and Indians and are 3-3 in six outings this month. David Bell’s boys are 15-16 on the season, sitting at the fourth spot of the NL Central standings, one game behind the Cubs, and two and a half games ahead of the Pirates.
Cincinnati owns the third-highest scoring offense in baseball, averaging 5.06 runs per contest, but the Reds haven’t been at their best recently. They’ve scored more than three runs only twice in their previous eight games overall, and the Reds are slugging just .337 in six showings in May (26th in the MLB).
The Reds’ pitching staff owns the fourth-highest ERA in baseball (4.81), but Tyler Mahle, who’ll get the starting nod Monday, has been solid so far this season. The 26-year-old righty is 1-1 with a 3.23 ERA and 1.11 WHIP through six starts and 30.2 innings of work. Mahle has a 1-3 record with a 3.90 ERA in six career starts against the Pirates.
Pittsburgh’s in serious crisis, struggling mightily at the plate
The Pittsburgh Pirates played the closing contest of a three-game series at Wrigley Field in Chicago on Sunday afternoon, trying to avoid their fourth straight defeat. They got beaten by the Cubs 3-2 in each of the first two games of this set and excluding Sunday’s closer, the Pirates have won only one of their previous nine games at any location.
Pittsburgh has some serious problems on the offensive end, tallying just 3.44 runs per contest (29th in the MLB). The Bucs are 22nd in the majors in batting average (.226) and dead last in slugging percentage (.345).
Mitch Keller will toe the slab Monday, and the 25-year-old right-hander is 2-3 in six starts this season. He sports a poor 6.29 ERA and 1.68 WHIP through 24.1 innings, but Keller has been sharp last time out, tossing 5.2 scoreless frames in a 2-1 victory over the San Diego Padres. The righty is 0-1 with a 6.92 ERA in three career starts against the Reds.
- 7-0 in the last seven games against Pittsburgh
- 14-6 in the last 20 games against the NL Central
- 1-4 in the last five home games against Cincinnati
- 1-5 in the last six outings at home
I don’t trust Mitch Keller despite his excellent performance against the Padres. He’s been inconsistent, yielding 11 earned runs in total over two of his previous four starts. Last season, Keller met the Reds once and got pounded for three earned runs through three frames of work including a couple of home runs. He also walked four.
The Pirates have some injury problems and will miss Collin Moran who leads the way with four homers and 19 RBI in 111 at-bats this season. Gregory Polanco is on the injury list as well, while Bryan Reynolds is questionable to play, so I’m backing the visitors to win.
Cincinnati has been pretty much hit-or-miss lately. I hope the Reds will get things going in the divisional play against the short-handed Pirates.
Pick: Take Cincinnati Reds at -128
The Reds’ bullpen is the second-worst in the majors, sporting a 5.63 ERA. On the other side, the Pirates’ relievers are ninth with a 3.49 ERA, but Pittsburgh surrenders 4.41 runs per game (19th in the MLB). Cincinnati yields 5.19 runs per contest (26th), so I have to bet on the over, though Cincinnati to win remains my top pick.
The over is 11-5-1 in the Reds’ last 17 games overall, but the under has hit in 13 of the Pirates’ previous 20 outings along with a push. Interestingly, the Pirates had failed to score more than two runs in six straight games before tallying four in the first inning of their Sunday’s clash at the Cubs.
Pick: Go over 8.0 runs at -105