We focus our attention here on the run total betting odds for Reds vs. Cubs, noting the weather at Wrigley Field forced these two to wait out a long delay on Saturday.
The Cincinnati Reds Can Win Because...
They are going up against a noticeably vulnerable pitcher, and have a starter who, while not dominant or imposing, is certainly solid and competent.
First, let's look at Chicago's pitcher. Jon Lester has been bad in his last two starts. Not okay, not average, but bad. In his most recent start, Lester was rocked for five runs on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings by the Detroit Tigers, a team he was familiar with dating back to his days with the Boston Red Sox in the American League. In the start before that, Lester gave up six runs on nine hits in five innings in a loss to the Miami Marlins. Lester gave up two home runs in that game. Lester is simply getting hit hard. When you consistently allow from seven to nine hits per game, as lester has in most of his past seven starts, you're clearly not finding ways to overpower hitters and shut down the opposition. Lester has been okay in many of his starts, but in his last 10 outings, only one would truly rise to the level of what the ace of a staff should do (seven innings, three runs, no hits on May 1 against a bad Milwaukee Brewer team). Lester has a puffy 4.25 ERA, and when pitching at Wrigley Field in the middle of June, when the ball will generally carry out of the park, Lester is in a very precarious situation, one the Reds really have to like.
The other thing the Reds have going for them is that their starter, Anthony DeSclafani, has been a pretty decent pitcher for them this year. He's not a household name or a high-end, top-dollar pitcher the way Lester is, but DeSclafani has been better than Lester this season. He has a 3.53 ERA, and what's really important about him is that his ERA was 3.80 almost a full month ago, but DeSclafani has lowered that ERA by about a quarter of a run. He's getting better as the season goes along, and that should be the kind of detail which makes a bettor sit up and take notice. Lester should win the matchup on paper, but in terms of performance during the season, DeSclafani has been the better guy.
The Chicago Cubs Can Win Because...
They are going to get opportunities to drive in runs against DeSclafani. While it's true that DeSclafani doesn't give up a lot of runs and generally stays away from the big inning, he does scatter a lot of hits, and he usually walks at least two batters per game. DeSclafani has walked at least two hitters per game in eight of his last nine outings for Cincinnati. He has given up at least six hits in six of his last seven games for the Reds. When you keep giving up both hits and walks, that's going to come back to bite you. DeSclafani might have given up only two runs in 6 1/3 innings his last time out on June 9 against the Phillies, but he gave up 10 hits and was fortunate to be able to wiggle out of trouble time and again. In a hitter's park such as Wrigley Field, that's a very dangerous game to play, and against the Cubs' aggressive hitters -- who handled him very easily back on April 26 in a 5-2 Cubs win (five runs against DeSclafani in five innings) -- that tendency is likely to catch up with DeSclafani.
The struggles of Jon Lester are well-documented, which makes it hard to lay -160 with him at The Greek in this spot. The Cubs have lost four straight Lester starts and are just 6-6 on the year when he goes. As for the Reds and DeSclafini, he’s very up and down, and tends to put on a lot of baserunners.
The over is 10-4 when the Reds face a lefty this season and that seems to be the best choice for our MLB picks here.
MLB Pick: Over at Bovada