MLB Picks: Finding Betting Value In The Reds vs. Astros Game

Saturday, June 18, 2016 2:00 PM GMT

The Reds delivered a 4-2 victory as a big underdog in their MLB picks in yesterday's series opener. Let's analyze the matchup and see if the Astros can even up the series.

I took Friday off but we cashed yet again on Thursday when I decided that the New York Mets were poised to cover as a palatable MLB Odds favorite with the ageless Bartolo Colon on the hill. As I predicted Pittsburgh's starter Juan Nicasio would still be rattled after his hellacious performance in his previous appearance and Bartolo would continue to drink from the Fountain of Youth, for at least one more day. When the dust settled I connected yet again when the Metropolitans delivered a 6-4 victory over the Bucs.

I am happy to tell you that I have cashed in 11 of my last 13 MLB Picks and am hitting at a 68 percent clip with a mixture of favorites and underdogs. We are now up almost 20 units and look to do it all over again this afternoon.


Cincinnati Reds (27-41, -7.8 units)
Infielder Eugenio Suarez and his meager .227 batting average rose to the occasion yesterday when he cracked a double in the 11th inning which drove home, what became the winning run, in a 4-2 victory over the Astros on Friday night. The Reds were heavy underdogs, getting well north of +200 by top rated sportsbooks but proved they were the better team last night. Every now and again, even during the most dismal of seasons, there is a silver lining and Friday night was one of them for a struggling Reds team that owns one of the worst records in the majors.

This afternoon southpaw Cody Reed will make his big league debut after being summoned from Triple-A Louisville. Reed enjoyed a decent spring training with the club but was designated to the minors for a bit more seasoning. Today he will get the opportunity to prove that he belongs with the parent club after registering a 6-3 record with a 3.20 ERA in Triple-A ball.

Houston Astros (32-36, -11.8 units)
The Astros have not only disappointed their fans but those who have backed them continuously this season as part of their MLB picks. After a trip to the postseason in 2015 it was widely believed that Houston would be a contender to capture an AL West title and make some noise in the playoffs. But things have not gone as planned as the Texas Rangers have vaulted to a 6 ½ game lead over second place Seattle and 11 games ahead of third place Houston. The Astros .236 team batting average places them 27th in the league and are 18th in runs produced.

Astros purported ace Dallas Keuchel had an impressive year in 2014 followed by an outstanding 2015 season in which he recorded a 20-8 record with a 2.48 ERA and a WHIP of 1.02. The Dallas Keuchel of 2016 reflects much more closely the pitcher he was in his first two seasons (2012, 2013) when he had an ERA in the fives and a WHIP of 1.55. Keuchel's last start was more of the same where he pitched well until one big inning cost him the game. That occurred on Sunday afternoon when he dealt like an All-Star for four innings until the wheels fell off the wagon in the fifth when he was torched for five runs (four earned) in the 5-0 loss to the Rays.

Betting Analysis
There are signs that Dallas Keuchel is beginning to turn the corner. If you look at his last five starts and his strikeout to walk ratio you will find it to be a startling 34:4. That is the measure of a pitcher who is getting the ball in the strike zone and making batters whiff. The problem of course is that when they do make contact it comes in a deluge rather than a sprinkling. Today he gets the opportunity to face a team that he has never pitched against and one that is far from dangerous.

I am not crazy about laying the heavy lumber with a team like Houston even against a motley crew like the Reds. Keuchel could indeed lay another egg and cost us a bundle. But this looks like the right spot for the Houston starter against an anemic Reds' lineup. In addition, Cincinnati will be crossing their fingers that a rookie starter making his MLB debut will hang around long enough to rest the team's overworked bullpen. If the Astros get to the kid early and the Reds' pen needs to rescue him, this one will be over in a hurry.

We will play it safe and bet the Astros on the run line just in case Keuchel gets torched yet again.

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Free MLB Pick: Astros -1½ -125
Best Line Offered: at Heritage
MLB Record: 36-17, +19.46 units