NL Central Rivals Clash
The Cincinnati Reds open their 2023 campaign at home on Thursday when they host the National League Central rival Pittsburgh Pirates in the first of a three-game weekend series. Cincinnati tied for last place in the NL Central in 2022, losing 100 games and finishing 31 games behind the division champion St. Louis Cardinals.
Pittsburgh was the team that the Reds tied for last in the NL Central, the fourth straight season that the Pirates had the most losses in the division. Both teams are trying to get off to a good start to the season, so check out our MLB odds preview of this contest to help you with your betting online on the season opener.
Pirates Look for Improvement
The Pittsburgh Pirates have had a long string of losing seasons, finishing above .500 just once in the last seven campaigns. If Pittsburgh is going to get back above the break-even point this season, it will need some solid pitching to keep it in games.
Right-hander Mitch Keller will get the Opening Day start for the Pirates, who have had a different opening hurler in eight straight seasons. Keller was 5-12 with a 3.91 ERA in 2022, striking out 138 and walking 60. He was 0-1 in three starts against Cincinnati, compiling a 7.07 ERA over 14 innings pitched.
The Pirates put together a new middle of the lineup in the offseason, including former NL MVP Andrew McCutchen, who won the award while playing with Pittsburgh in 2013. The 36-year-old has spent the last five seasons jumping between four teams, including the Milwaukee Brewers in 2022, where he hit .237 with 17 home runs.
Pittsburgh has also brought on first basemen Carlos Santana (.202 with 19 home runs and 60 RBIs with Kansas City and Seattle in 2022) and Ji-Man Choi (.233, 11 home runs, 52 RBIs with Tampa Bay last year) for more pop to its lineup.
Reds Begin Without Votto
The Cincinnati Reds will be making MLB news on Thursday. They’ll be without a familiar face on Opening Day as veteran first baseman Joey Votto will begin the season at the Triple-A level. The 39-year-old Votto, coming off a season in which he batted .205 with 11 home runs and 41 RBIs, will see his 14-year streak of being in the Opening Day lineup end on Thursday as he works on getting ready for his 17th MLB season.
“What led me to that decision was just not being ready,” Votto said of his streak ending. “Starting a good bit behind during spring training. Still working through some of the rehab process (from a torn rotator cuff). Not accumulating enough time in the field. Not accumulating enough at-bats.”
Cincinnati will turn to right-hander Hunter Greene to get the Opening Day start on the mound. The 23-year-old was 5-13 with a 4.44 ERA in 24 starts last season, but he struck out 164 in 125⅔ innings.
Second baseman Jonathan India will try to power the Reds offense, as he’s coming off a season with a .249 batting average, 10 home runs and 41 RBIs. Outfielder Wil Myers is new to the Reds this season, coming from San Diego, and brings his .261 batting average with seven home runs and 41 RBIs from a season ago.
Pirates vs Reds Game Injuries
Pirates vs Reds Head-To-Head
The Pittsburgh Pirates had the edge in their series against the Cincinnati Reds in 2022, winning 12 of the 19 matchups. Playing on the road, Pittsburgh was 6-3, the first time since 2018 in which it had a winning record at the Great American Ball Park.
Cincinnati had won the season series between the two ballclubs in the previous two campaigns. The MLB lines for this contest are favoring the Reds to get the victory at home.
Pirates vs Reds Game Information
- Game: Pirates (0-0) vs Reds (0-0)
- Location: Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati
- Day/Time: Thursday, March 30, 4:10 p.m. ET
- Pirates vs Reds Live stream: MLB.tv
Pirates vs Reds Betting Lines
Pirates vs Reds Picks and Prediction
Deciding to bet on MLB on Opening Day can sometimes be a harrowing experience, as teams start to find themselves and no true history is available when you make your wager. Still, the Pittsburgh Pirates look like a rejuvenated ballclub with their veteran pickups this season, so we like them to get the best of the Cincinnati Reds in the opening game for both.
When making your MLB picks, take Pittsburgh to win and cover on the road.