Free MLB Picks: Reds vs. Cardinals

Jeff Grant

Tuesday, April 9, 2013 2:36 PM GMT

Tuesday, Apr. 9, 2013 2:36 PM GMT

The St. Louis Cardinals bullpen has been shaky in the early going this season, but the club still deserves a long look against the Cincinnati Reds Tuesday night.

Let’s take a closer look at the MLB betting odds for this National League Central matchup from a betting perspective, with the first pitch scheduled for 8:15 p.m. ET at Busch Stadium.

Let's breakdown this matchup and decide where the best value lies for our sports picks today.

Scoring in bunches

Cincinnati has won three of its last four games, including a 13-4 series-opening victory over St. Louis as +104 road underdogs Monday afternoon, while going OVER the posted total of 7.5.

The Reds have batted .343 and scored 40 runs over that span, while improving to 29-26 in April the last two-plus seasons, with the OVER going 31-23-1 in that situation.

Bullpen woes

St. Louis ranks 25th in the majors with a 6.23 bullpen ERA, as it has allowed 16 of 20 overall runs when trying to hold a lead.  Reliever Mitchell Boggs was able to retire just a single batter Monday, as he allowed seven runs (six earned) in a nine-run ninth inning against the Reds.

The Cardinals definitely miss regular closer Jason Motte, who started the season on the 15-day disabled list with a mild right elbow sprain. 

Cincinnati ranks fifth in baseball with a 2.13 bullpen ERA, as the group has managed to strike out 27 batters in 25.1 innings.  The Reds didn’t have to use setup man Jonathan Broxton or closer Aroldis Chapman in the series opener, which gives them a clear advantage in the late innings in this affair.

Busch Stadium woes

Reds starting pitcher Bronson Arroyo (1-0, 4.50 ERA) earned a 5-4 home win over the Los Angeles Angels last Thursday, as he allowed three runs and eight hits over six innings of work.

The right-hander is 8-13 with a 4.56 ERA in 33 career games (31 starts) versus the Cardinals, including a 3-6 mark and 5.42 ERA in 14 outings at the current Busch Stadium.  He has compiled a 1-4 record and 6.12 ERA in his last eight road starts in this rivalry.

Lynn will try to bounce back

Cardinals starting pitcher Lance Lynn (0-0, 9.00 ERA) didn’t earn a decision in a 10-9 road loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks last Wednesday, as he surrendered four runs and six hits over four frames.

The right-hander is 4-0 with a 2.32 ERA in five career starts in the month of April, with opposing hitters batting just .202 against him. 

[gameodds]3/224381/43/us[/gameodds]

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Cardinals in the first five innings as one of their MLB picks Monday, as they’ve won 14 of Lynn’s last 15 starts versus NL Central opponents.

MLB Pick:  St. Louis Cardinals -109 First Five Innings at 5Dimes

For more free plays, check out our MLB Picks of the Day.

comment here