The Cincinnati Reds (5-8) and Chicago Cubs (3-10) will open a three-game National League Central series inside Wrigley Field on Friday afternoon, with the first pitch scheduled for 2:20 p.m. ET

Cincinnati Reds at Chicago Cubs   

The Chicago Cubs return home to Wrigley Field after going 1-5 on their recent road trip

Cincinnati snapped a two-game losing streak in capturing a 6-3 road win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday afternoon, as the club attempts to win consecutive games for the first time this season.  The Reds found it to be an important victory due to not allowing the Cardinals to stretch out their lead in the division.  “We could have been six out, and instead we are four out,” commented Red manager Dusty Baker after the game.  The team has won eight of its last 13 games inside today’s venue.  Cincinnati is 5-2 in day games and the “under” is 4-3 in those contests.

Reds starting pitcher Homer Bailey (0-2, 5.40 ERA) has received just two runs of support in his first two starts of the season, as he comes off a 4-1 road loss to the Washington Nationals.  He allowed three runs on seven hits in six frames in that contest.  Bailey will be making his seventh career start versus the Cubs, bringing in a 2-2 mark and 6.75 ERA, including a 5-2 loss in his only effort on the road in this series on Sept. 13, 2009.

Chicago finished its six-game road trip with a dismal 1-5 record, which includes a 5-3 loss to the Miami Marlins on Thursday afternoon.  “It’s tough,” stated Cubs player David DeJesus.  The Cubs have been outscored by a 34-10 margin since their April 13 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.  Offensively, the club has a major-league low five home runs, while they come into this series with a .206 batting average.  Chicago is 26-37 in April over the last two-plus campaigns.

Cubs starting pitcher Chris Volstad (0-1, 4.91 ERA) will attempt to snap a 13-game winless streak that dates back to July 17 of last season, as he was handed a 5-1 road defeat by the St. Louis Cardinals last time out.  The right-hander pitched relatively well in a no-decision effort at home on April 9 against the Milwaukee Brewers, giving up three runs on five hits over five frames.  In three career starts versus the Reds, Volstad is 1-2 with a 4.34 ERA.

Bettors will likely back the Reds due to their 25-5 record in Bailey’s last 30 starts versus a team with a losing record, while the Cubs are 2-5 as a home underdog.

Recommendation: Cincinnati Reds -122

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