Two of the worst teams in the majors face off on Thursday night as the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates begin a four-game series at PNC Park. This might not be the sexiest matchup on today's MLB betting board but it's not every day that you can fade the Reds at close to a pick'em price on the road.
Should that be the direction you lean in? We let you know with our best free MLB betting picks and predictions for Reds vs. Pirates on May 12.
Reds vs Pirates odds
This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.
This line hit the board with the Pirates installed as -130 favorites with the Over/Under at 8. Early money has come in on Pittsburgh shifting their line to the range of -135 to -140 at the time of this writing.
Reds vs Pirates predictions
Picks made on 5/12/2022 at 11:40 a.m. ET.
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.
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Reds vs Pirates game info
• Location: PNC Park, Pittsburgh, PA
• Date: Thursday, May 12, 2022
• First pitch: 6:35 p.m. ET
• TV: Bally Sports Ohio, ATT SportsNet Pittsburgh
Reds vs Pirates betting preview
Connor Overton (0-0, 2.53 ERA): Overton has made a pair of starts this season, most recently limiting the Pirates to two runs through 5 1-3 innings last Saturday. His season debut came at Coors Field where he impressed by limiting the Rockies to three hits and one run in 5 1-3 innings. Overton made his big-league debut last year and pitched a total of 15 1-3 innings for Toronto and Pittsburgh, allowing eight runs over that span.
JT Brubaker (0-2, 5.68 ERA): Brubaker has struggled this season but is coming off his best performance, holding these same Reds to three hits while fanning nine batters in five innings last Saturday. The 28-year-old made 24 starts for the Buccos last year, posting a 5.36 ERA and 1.29 WHIP in 124 1-3 innings.
Be sure to monitor the gametime conditions with our MLB weather info.
Reds: Jonathan India 2B (Out), Donovan Solano 2B (Out), Nick Senzel OF (Out), Joey Votto 1B (Out).
Pirates: Jake Marisnick OF (Out).
Find our latest MLB injury reports.
Betting trend to know
The Over is 13-2-1 in the Reds' last 16 games overall. Find more MLB betting trends for Reds vs. Pirates
Reds vs Pirates picks and predictions
Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.
We began this preview by mentioning how bad both these teams are but they've actually both been playing better over the last week. The Pirates are 4-3 in their last seven games and just came off a series where they took two of three games against the World Series favorite Dodgers.
Meanwhile, the Reds are fresh off a 14-11 victory against the NL Central-leading Brewers last night and are 4-2 in their last six, which includes a pair of wins at home against the Pirates last weekend.
That previous series is particularly notable because the two pitchers on the mound today also faced off on Saturday in a 9-2 Reds victory. That game was tied up at 2-2 before Cincy broke things open with seven runs in the seventh innings and both starters were sharp.
Pittsburgh's J.T. Brubaker allowed just three hits and two runs in five innings while Cincinnati's Connor Overton scattered six hits and allowed two runs through 5 1-3 innings.
Brubaker has a subpar 5.30 ERA in 197 career innings since making his big-league debut in 2020 but he's generally been pretty effective against Cincinnati. He had one ugly start on the road against the Reds last year but in his other four career starts, he's allowed two runs or fewer each time.
In the end, the Pirates bullpen blew the game for Brubaker and while their relievers rank just 26th in the majors with a collective 4.36 ERA, they're actually not as bad as the Reds' relief corps. Cincinnati's relievers rank dead-last in ERA (5.26) and second-last in WHIP (1.48), which could play a big role in this contest with neither starter likely to make it past the sixth inning.
Cincinnati has looked good over the last few days but they've been dreadful on the road all season, going 2-15 with an OPS of just .543 away from hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park.
We're not going to get carried away by the Reds' recent success and we'll take the Pirates at -135.
Prediction: Pirates moneyline (-135 at bet365)
Overton's surface numbers are good but there's nothing he does particularly well and his career sample size is extremely small, so I'm not sold on him.
Meanwhile, Brubaker has been less than impressive throughout his three-year career and even has a 4.70 ERA at pitcher-friendly PNC Park (compared to a 5.86 ERA on the road). Add in a pair of volatile bullpens for both teams and it would be tough to take the Under even if these squads weren't hitting well at the moment.
Over the last week, both offenses have been mashing with the Pirates second in the majors with an OPS of .835 and the Reds just behind them in third with an OPS of .828. They easily cashed the Over in each game they've played against one another this season and have now gone 15-4-2 to the Over in their last 21 meetings.
Prediction: Over 8 (-105 at DraftKings)
Despite their recent success, the Reds are easily the worst team in the majors and I can't turn down betting against them on the road at this price. Even if it is against the lowly Pirates.
After all, the Buccos have been awful for the last few years and have still gone 24-10 in their last 34 home tilts against Cincy.
Pick: Pirates moneyline (-135 at bet365)
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