Make it back-to-back-to-back 2-1 nights with my free MLB picks to start the season as the profits continue to roll in.
The first of our winners came last night between the Blue Jays and Nationals where I had the under for the second straight night, this time under the 10-run total. Both starting pitchers pitched well, especially the Blue Jays’ Tanner Roark while the Nats’ offense was listless one again en route to a 5-1 Blue Jays win that fell well under the total for a one-unit profit.
We notched another unit’s profit in a matchup between the Braves and Rays where I had the Rays as home moneyline favorites. The Braves struck first, by a five-run third innings from the Rays was more than enough in an eventual 5-2 victory for the home side.
Finally, I had the White Sox as +111 road underdogs in Cleveland, but this one didn’t work out. Adam Plutko was better than anticipated for the Indians while Carlos Rodon was tagged for five runs in just 3.2 innings of work en route to a 5-3 Indians win, pushing them to 5-1 on the season and the White Sox down to just 1-5 on the young season.
Nonetheless, I’ll take the 2-1 night, the one-unit profit and move onto tonight’s action!
Season Record: 6-3
Now let’s take a look at this free MLB pick featuring the Cubs vs. Reds from Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati!
Cubs vs. Reds Betting Odds
- Cubs (-102)
- Reds (-108)
- Cubs +1.5 (-188)
- Reds -1.5 (+163)
- Over 9.5 (+103)
- Under 9.5 (-123)
Cubs vs. Reds MLB Pick Breakdown
Pitching Matchup: Hendricks (CHC, 1-0, 0.00 ERA/1.02 FIP) vs. Gray (CIN, 1-0, 1.50 ERA/3.19 FIP)
Hendricks opened the Cubs’ 2020 season with an absolute gem, hurling a complete-game shutout in a 3-0 win over the Brewers, allowing just three hits while walking none and striking out nine.
The man known as “The Professor” once again put his pinpoint control on display one season after posting a 1.63 BB/9 clip that was the fifth-best mark in baseball among qualified pitchers.
We probably shouldn’t get used to the bulk of strikeouts as Hendricks is the owner of a career 7.63 K/9 clip, but it’s the command and ability to keep in the ball in the yard that has the right-hander sitting with a career 3.11 ERA/3.51 FIP entering tonight’s action.
One area of concern could be the 5.02 ERA Hendricks posted on the road last season while he own a 6.00 ERA in his career at Great American Ball Park across eight starts, however he owns a career 3.84 ERA against the Reds overall and his road ERA has been in line, if not better, than his home ERA in both the 2018 and 2017 seasons.
Hendricks wasn’t the only one to impress on Opening Day as the Reds’ Sonny Gray tossed six innings of one-run ball while also racking up nine punchouts in a win over the Tigers. A C.J. Cron home run was all Gray would yield in an eventual 7-1 win.
The dominant effort comes on the heels of a fantastic first season in Cincinnati as Gray worked to a stout 2.87 ERA/3.42 FIP with a 10.52 K/9 last season, the latter of which blew past his career mark of just 8.34.
Despite the hitter-friendly nature of Great American Ball Park, Gray worked to a 3.05 ERA/3.17 FIP at home last season while keeping the ball in the yard at a solid 0.91 HR/9 clip, a number that’s quite impressive in the season of the juiced ball.
In his career against the Cubs, Gray has enjoyed success to the tune of a 2.83 ERA across six starts to go along with a 4.88 K/BB rate that ranks as his best mark against any team in which he’s made more than two starts against in his career.
The Cubs haven’t had too much trouble generating runs so far in this series off the back-end rotation members for the Reds as they’ve put back-to-back eight-spots on their division rivals while taking the first two games of the series.
After a productive offensive season in 2019, the north siders are off to a hot start to kick off 2020 as their .364 wOBA through five games ranks second in all of baseball while they’ve flexed plenty of muscle in the form of an MLB-best .250 ISO to this point.
Led by a front-five that includes a blend of on-base ability and power with the likes of Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, Kyle Schwarber and Willson Contreras, and the Cubs should be in good hands in the offensive department again this time around.
Cincinnati got off to a hot start with a seven-run effort on Opening Day, but the offense scored just six runs over the next two contests, losing both to the Tigers on opening weekend.
Their bats perked back up in this series as their comeback fell just short on seven runs in game one before putting five more on the board in a game two loss last night.
The additions of Mike Moustakas and Nicholas Castellanos should pay long-term dividends for an offense that disappointed last year while the club also has high hopes for import signing Shogo Akiyama who could find himself atop the lineup against the right-handed Hendricks in this one tonight.
This matchup features a couple of bullpens that have struggled early, and for the Cubs, it’s been a little bit of deja vu when it comes to closer Craig Kimbrel.
After Kimbrel worked to an 8.00 FIP in 23 outings following a mid-season signing last year, he struggled in his first outing of the season to open this series, allowing two runs while walking four batters and recording just one out before Jeremy Jeffress came in and rescued the Cubs’ 8-7 win.
The Cubs lost a couple of their best relievers from last season in Steve Cishek and Brandon Kintzler while Pedro Strop now resides with these very Reds. The offseason addition of Jeffress has paid immediate dividends, but the Cubs didn’t do much else to address a bullpen that needs to improve to give this team a serious shot at a second world championship in five years.
The elite front-three rotation trio of Gray, Luis Castillo and Trevor Bauer dominated the Tigers to open the season, but the club dropped two of three due to bullpen issues that have haunted them early, especially in the home run department.
Reds relievers have allowed a ghastly 3.43 HR/9 in the early going – the worst mark in baseball – while their 6.43 ERA and 6.64 FIP both rank 28th to this point.
On paper, the club seemingly has a nice back-end set up with Raisel Iglesias closing behind the likes of fireballer Michael Lorenzen and nasty left-hander Amir Garrett. None of that trio has delivered early-season results, but I doubt the Reds have lost confidence in the back end of their bullpen this early in the season.
The bullpens haven’t fared well to this point in the season, and while they remain a concern, they should be hidden somewhat by a couple of aces on the mound in this one.
Of course, Hendricks delivered one of the all-time great Opening Day performances last Friday while Gray should be given a longer leash if he dominates as he did against the Tigers to open the season.
Both offenses can produce, but we’re dealing with a couple of the top pitchers the NL has to offer in this one.
We’re seeing some high run totals in the early going and I’ve been able to take advantage with my unders going 3-0 to this point.
There’s some increased concern with this one given the current state of the offenses and bullpens, but after watching these two starters dominate in their season-opening efforts, I am looking at the under as a viable option here as I see the 9.5 total a little high considering the talent on the mound to begin the game.
I’ll look for both starters to go deep into this one tonight and yield a result under the 9.5-run total.