The Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates will begin a three-game series on Monday night at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. With that said, it’s a good time to check out our MLB odds series, which includes a Reds-Pirates prediction and pick, laid out below.

The Cincinnati Reds, coming off a series with Milwaukee in which they lost three of four, are 60-93, fourth place in the NL Central. While the final record certainly will not show it, there are reasons for optimism, and the prospects have begun to ascend to the big leagues here.

Pittsburgh has also gone through a rough season, with their 56-97 record placing them in the cellar of the NL Central. Things have not gone well in Pittsburgh, and the Pirates are in a three-way battle for the worst record in the league. Derek Shelton seems to be well-respected in the game and will likely be given the chance to turn things around here.

Here are the Reds-Pirates MLB odds, courtesy of FanDuel.

MLB Odds: Reds-Pirates Odds

Cincinnati Reds: +1.5 (-164)

Pittsburgh Pirates: -1.5 (+136)

Over: 7.5 (-115)

Under: 7.5 (-105)

Why The Reds Could Cover The Spread

Cincinnati will send Chase Anderson to the mound in this one. Anderson has made six appearances, five starts, for Cincinnati, going 2-3 with a 5.21 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 19 innings. Anderson was an effective MLB starter from 2015-2019, but has not found the same level of success in the following years. Batters have hit just .164 against Anderson, but he has been victimized by three home runs. Based on batted ball data, Anderson’s expected ERA is 3.59, over a whole point lower than his actual number.

Cincinnati’s bullpen has been downright terrible. No other way to describe it. Veteran Buck Farmer, who earned the victory Sunday, has pitched to a 3.56 ERA with 49 strikeouts in 43 innings. Batters are hitting just .210 against Farmer, which would be the lowest mark of his career. Rookie closer Alexis Diaz has been spectacular, with a 1.81 ERA and 79 strikeouts in 59.2 innings. Diaz has struck out 33.2 percent of the batters he has faced, which ranks in the 95th percentile in the league. Diaz also leads the team with nine saves.

Cincinnati’s offense has also struggled, which is no surprise given the team’s record. Kyle Farmer leads the team with a .255 batting average, 24 doubles, 13 home runs and 73 RBI. Jake Fraley and Jonathan India each have 10 home runs, which are tied for second amongst active Reds. Joey Votto belted 11 home runs, but he has been injured and is now out for the season. Votto and Mike Moustakas, who is also out for the season, have been missed in this lineup. Both would provide strong left-handed presences in a young lineup. Outfielder TJ Friedl has been solid in his limited time, hitting .249 with seven home runs and seven stolen bases in 65 games. Donovan Solano, signed to provide a boost to the offense, missed nearly three months at the beginning of the season, but has hit .292 with four home runs and 15 doubles in 73 games.

Why The Pirates Could Cover The Spread

Roansy Contreras will be Monday’s starting pitcher for Pittsburgh. Contreras has been a bright spot in the rotation for the Pirates, going 5-5 with a 3.68 ERA in 19 appearances (16 starts). In Contreras’ 16 starts, the righty has pitched to a 3.70 ERA with 74 strikeouts in 80.1 innings. Batters are hitting just .174 with 53 strikeouts in 144 at-bats against Contreras’ slider. This season has solidified Contreras’ spot in future Pirates rotations.

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Chase De Jong has pitched to a 2.32 ERA, the best of his career, in 66 innings, with 56 strikeouts. De Jong’s high-spin fastball has held batters to a .186 batting average. Closer David Bednar could be a trade candidate this offseason and has performed brilliantly this season. In his 48.2 innings, Bednar has pitched to a 2.77 ERA with 66 strikeouts and 17 saves. Bednar’s 33.3 percent strikeout rate ranks in the 96th percentile in the league.

Bryan Reynolds is another trade candidate this offseason, and he leads the team with a .266 batting average, 26 home runs, and 60 RBI. The switch-hitter has turned in another brilliant season and will likely bring back a prospect haul. Rookies Jack Suwinski and Oneil Cruz have hit 18 and 17 home runs, respectively. Ke’Bryan Hayes leads the team with 24 doubles, adding seven home runs. Hayes’ value is increased by some stellar defense, which ranks in the 99th percentile of Baseball Savant’s Outs Above Average stat. Hayes has also stolen a team-high 18 bases. As a team, Pittsburgh has stolen 83 bases, which ranks 15th in the league.

Final Reds-Pirates Prediction & Pick

If you put this game on voluntarily, I hope it is only a placeholder for Monday Night Football.

Final Reds-Pirates Prediction & Pick: Cincinnati +1.5 (-164), over 7.5 (-115)