Indians Provide Valuable MLB Pick On The Runline vs. Reds

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, May 19, 2016 2:41 PM UTC

Thursday, May. 19, 2016 2:41 PM UTC

While we rarely play run lines, we think we found a valuable run line MLB pick with the Cleveland Indians as the Battle of Ohio ends with a visit to the Cincinnati Reds Thursday.

MLB Record: 25-22-1, +6.47

Cleveland Indians vs. Cincinnati Reds
Very rarely do we invest in run lines, but we actually feel that the road team provides good run line value in the final game of the 2016 Battle of Ohio Thursday night when Josh Tomlin and the Cleveland Indians (20-17, 9-9 away) pay a visit to rookie fellow right-hander Tim Adleman and the Cincinnati Reds (15-25, 12-11 home) as the teams wrap up a four-game home-and-home series at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, OH at 7:10 ET on FOX Sports - Ohio. The run line at Heritage has Cleveland as a road favorite for this contest with the current line at -1½ on the MLB odds boards at odds of +130.


Tribe Looking for the Sweep
The Indians were off to an uneven start entering this series at .500 after being a chic pick to win the American League Central Division. But taking on their struggling Ohio brethren from Cincinnati has helped turn things around as the Indians are seeking a four-game sweep here, first winning two games back home in Cleveland authoritatively 15-6 and 13-1 before rallying for an 8-7 win in 12 innings here in Cincinnati last night, tying the game with a two-run ninth.

The Reds were one of the worst teams in the league last season at 94-68 when they were injury depleted, and some thought they would be better MLB picks this year with a healthier roster. Such has not been the case however as Cincinnati is now 15-25 and again in last place in the National League Central, already a whopping 14 games behind the first place Chicago Cubs at this still relatively early stage of the season.


Pitching Has Been the Biggest Culprit
The Reds are not scoring a bountiful of runs ranking 19th in the Major Leagues with 4.18 runs per game and 22nd in batting at .237, but the biggest reason for the poor record has been terrible pitching, with Cincinnati dead last in the majors with a 5.55 team ERA and with an atrocious 6.43 bullpen ERA! Thus, allowing 36 runs in the three games vs. Cleveland and blowing a multi-run lead in the ninth inning last night have not been out of character.

The Reds now turn to their 28-year-old rookie Adleman to try and stop the bleeding, as he finally made it to the big leagues after being a 24th round draft choice by the Baltimore Orioles back in 2010. For a pitcher that was not extremely highly regarded and took his time to get here, Adleman has actually performed commendably for the Reds allowing three runs or less in all three Major League starts.

Before getting too excited though, consider that the last two outings have not been Quality Starts as he lasted just five innings on each occasion, and his three starts have gotten progressively worse as he allowed three earned runs on eight hits plus two walks in those five frames vs. the Philadelphia Phillies last Saturday. Adleman is certainly nothing special and he is stepping up in class tonight vs. the red-hot Cleveland offense. Therefore, we are expecting another fairly early call to the Cincinnati bullpen, which is never a good thing.

Tomlin Still Undefeated
Tomlin meanwhile is still undefeated at 5-0 for the Indians after settling for a no-decision vs. the Minnesota Twins last Friday allowing three earned runs on only four hits (but three home runs) in 6.1 innings. He does have a high-ish 3.82 ERA however, so getting very good run support has certainly factored in the unblemished record. By the same token, Tomlin has had good command with 23 strikeouts vs. just four walks in 35.1 innings.

So while there is no doubt Tomlin is not as good as the 5-0 mark, he should again get good run support this game and he has proven reliable enough to protect leads, thanks to not allowing many free passes. Furthermore he is facing a Cincinnati lineup that has been struggling vs. right-handed pitchers, batting just 216 while averaging 3.84 runs per game against them the last 10 games compared to batting .348 and averaging 7.47 runs vs. lefties during this same span! And unlike Cincinnati, the Cleveland bullpen has posted a collective 3.07 ERA and 1.17 WHIP over those last 10 contests.


Almost Always Pitches Well Enough for Team Win
Finally, the Indians are a sparkling 14-2 in the last 16 games started by Tomlin, as he almost always pitches well enough to give his team a chance even when he does not get the win. The Indians are also 20-8 in their last 28 interleague games vs. teams with losing records, while the Reds are 18-48 in their last 66 games vs. teams with winning records overall.

Of course all of that is incorporated into Cleveland’s road favoritism in this game, but we feel there are enough ingredients in place here to win this game by multiple runs, especially if the Cincinnati bullpen gets involved as early as expected, giving the Indians good run line value visiting the Reds in the Queen City on Thursday.

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Free MLB Pick: Cleveland Indians -1.5
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

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