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Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cincinnati Reds prediction and pick for Thursday's game in Pittsburgh from MLB handicapper Matt Zylbert. Which side of the total is Matt on?

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cincinnati Reds Prediction and Pick

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cincinnati Reds

Over/Under: 8.5

First Pitch: 12:40 p.m. ET

Probable Pitchers: Tyler Mahle (11-5, 3.73 ERA) vs. Connor Overton (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cincinnati Reds Prediction

Pirates vs. Reds Odds

Mahle was not honored with a trip to this year’s Midsummer Classic, but it’s safe to say he’s had an All-Star-caliber season.

The fifth-year right-hander is posting career-best marks across the board (at least within a full campaign), like just 3.73 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and .229 batting average against. Most notable, though, is Mahle’s impressive strikeout rate of 10.62 K/9.

If he were allowed to exclusively pitch on the road, where he’s generally been considerably better, Mahle would have been a no-doubt All-Star. This season, that tendency has never been stronger, as Mahle has registered a shiny 1.97 ERA and 0.99 WHIP in his 16 starts away from hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park.

Mahle is essentially an All-Star whenever he takes on the division-rival Pirates, too. In two matchups earlier this season, the 26-year-old was excellent, yielding only three runs combined in 12.1 innings while totaling a nifty 17 strikeouts to four walks.

Of course, there’s one significant variable on the other side of this series finale. And it’s that a starter, who will be more of an opener, is making his first Major League start.

At the same time, Overton has proved himself worthy of earning such an honor, albeit as a reliever in limited work. Even so, the 2014 15th-round draft pick has done enough thus far to open some eyes.

This will only be the sixth appearance in the big leagues for Overton, but he’s actually yet to allow a run, a stretch that spans 7.2 innings. Most of that came with the Blue Jays, who designated him for assignment earlier this month, leading to him being snatched up by the Pirates.

Overton isn’t expected to work more than a few innings at most, but while a bullpen game can be intimidating to some bettors, that shouldn’t be so with Pittsburgh’s pen. There’s a respectable group in place here.

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cincinnati Reds Pick


Astros-Rangers Under 8.5

2021 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: “79-68-9,” +2.96 units

Yesterday’s Result: Marlins-Nationals Under 9 (“loss”)

*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit


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