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Cubs vs. Reds, 6:40 ET
Another 2-1 day in the books for us yesterday as we pulled out the extra innings victory for the Guardians. My apologies to anyone that read the article – I swapped the headline, the official pick was the Guardians – the error was fixed, but it was published for a few hours at that point. Always reach out if there are any issues or questions!
The Cubs started the season with a nice victory over Corbin Burnes and but then struggled in the next two contests. I don’t expect the Cubs to be the best baseball team in the world or something, but I do think they have a good chance to be second or third in the division and compete for a Wild Card spot potentially. One big concern I have – even though they faced pretty good pitching – is their batting average is very low right now and their on base percentage is very low as well. Sure, it is just one series, but they have to be more selective and try to work out some walks. They have Drew Smyly taking the hill for them tonight. He had a decent season last year. When he was signed by the Cubs originally, I expected him to be a rehab project that they wanted to try and flip for a prospect. He did struggle away from Wrigley last season, but he pitched well against the Reds. He had three starts that covered 13.2 innings and he allowed just four earned runs. Three of those four earned runs came at Great American Ballpark.
The Reds did the opposite of what I expected and of the Cubs performance. After dropping their opening game, they were able to take the next two off of the Pirates. Their offense actually looks pretty good so far as they have a .242 batting average and already have put six balls over the fence in the first weekend. I do expect the Cubs to be tougher competition for them than Pittsburgh is. Connor Overton is taking the ball for the Reds. Last season he was able to throw 33 innings for the Reds and allowed 10 earned runs. One concern though is that he allowed seven earned runs at Great American and just three on the road. He did face the Cubs in the last start of his season. He allowed just two hits over 5.1 innings. He is a bit of a fly ball pitcher and that could hurt him in a stadium that allows a lot of home runs.
I’m backing the Cubs to win this game, they are the better team and we are paying a short price to take them at -120. Drew Smyly isn’t a guy you’ll find me backing often, but in this case I think we get a decent value and we will see the Reds modest two-game winning streak come to an end.
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