MLB Betting: Cincinnati Reds To Keep It Close Against Wacha Again For Last Weeks Rematch Game

Cody Reed

Monday, August 8, 2016 2:19 PM GMT

Cincinnati has played St. Louis tough over the last few series and our MLB handicapper believes this is an excellent spot to play the run line even with the pitching mismatch on paper.

Cincinnati Reds vs St. Louis Cardinals
The team with the worst run differential in the majors, the Cincinnati Reds, travel within the division on Monday night to take on the St. Louis Cardinals, who are well behind the Cubs in the NL Central but are tied for the 2nd wild card spot in the National League. The Cardinals have opened as heavy favorites in this game, as high as -200 on the money line at BookMaker. The O/U total has been posted at 9 runs across the board, and the run line favoring Cincinnati is at almost even money when giving them a run and a half.

Cincinnati Reds
Starting in this game is one of the Reds top pitching prospects, Cody Reed. Reed lit up the minor leagues in 2015 and 2016, and his 63/17 K/BB rate in 64.2 innings pitched in AAA last year put some numbers behind why Reds fans are so excited about him. However, the beginning of Reed's MLB career has been tumultuous at best since starting his first game on June 18th. Over that time and 8 starts, Reed has posted a 7.30 ERA, 38/15 K/BB rate, 1.80 WHIP, and .328 batting average allowed. He has also sprung quite a dinger problem, as has given up a home run in all but one of his eight starts. The rates that he is giving up home runs is an incredible 30.6% HR/FB rate. Luckily for Reed, his 6-5 frame induces more ground balls than fly balls, where his batted ball profile has 54.7% of his balls in play coming on the ground. But 40.6% of his balls are qualified as being ‘hit hard', so he is not fooling big league batters so far.

Reed has not won a decision yet, and has posted a 0-6 win-loss record in his first eight starts over 40.2 innings pitched.

St. Louis Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals counter with Michael Wacha, who after a terrible 2-7 start, has won five decisions in a row to be at .500 on the year. If you focused on Wacha's ERA, you could even surmise that he is having the worst season of his career. But this is a spot in which having an understanding of sabermetrics can help you, as Wacha's Fielding Independent Pitching ERA is sitting at 3.66 this year, even better than last year's mark where his regular ERA was a nice 3.38. In short, batters are getting lucky off of Wacha and are carrying a batting average on balls in play much higher than his career norms. That is a particular statistic that normalizes very quickly over time, so we can expect some regression to come Wacha's way soon – as his win-loss record is starting to show. On the year, Wacha is also carrying a 106/40 K/BB rate, 1.40 WHIP, and .271 batting average allowed.

If there was any true weakness for Wacha this year it is his performance out of the stretch. With bases empty, Wacha is allowing batters to hit just .239 off of him. When men get on base it is a different story, as batters are hitting a robust .312 off of the right-hander.

This game is a rematch for these two pitchers from just last week. In that game, St. Louis won 5-4, with Reed giving up all of those 5 runs against the Cardinals and Wacha giving up just 2. Cincinnati actually won that last series and beat the Cardinals in the next game 7-0. Cincinnati has played in a lot of close losses lately, and I like the idea of the run line when I am getting near even money with gifted runs. I'll take my chances with Cincinnati having MLB odds at +1.5 runs -125 with Pinnacle as one of my Monday MLB picks.

Free MLB Pick: Reds +1.5 -125
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle
2016 YTD MLB: 44-29-4, +13.21 Units

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