MLB Betting: Rubber Game In Cincy To Settle Cards vs Reds Series

Cardinals

Willie Bee

Thursday, August 4, 2016 12:29 PM GMT

Five matinees are on Thursday's baseball betting card, and one of the afternoon games will decide the series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds.

After splitting the first two games, the St. Louis Cardinals take aim at their fourth consecutive series win over the Cincinnati Reds when the clubs collide for a 12:35 PM (ET) contest at Great American Ball Park.

Mike Leake takes the mound first for the Cardinals who are laden with a chalk line in the mid-to-upper -140s. Brandon Finnegan takes the hill for the Reds with a 9 run total priced a little heavier to the high side at BetOnline.

Cincinnati scored a walk-off upset in the opener on Tuesday, Scott Schebler's shot plating the final three in a 7-5 decision as a +140 underdog on the MLB odds. A 4-run first inning put the Reds in a hole they couldn't recover from as St. Louis took Game 2, 5-4. Tuesday's tilt went 'over' the mark while last night's landed squarely on the 9 run total, leaving that column at 3-1-1 O/U/P in Cincinnati this season.

 

Leake Faces Old Club For 2nd Time
After a pair of impressive consecutive starts just before and after the All-Star Game, Leake has struggled the last two times out. Still, despite allowing six earned runs to both the Dodgers and Marlins, he got enough offense in Miami last Friday to be awarded the dubya in an 11-6 slugfest. The most impressive stat Leake had going for him in five July assignments when his ERA was approaching 6.00 was zero walks while striking out 31 in 30 frames. In fact, control has been a huge plus for the righthander with only three walks and 52 K's over his last 59.2 IP.

Leake saw his former teammates on this diamond back in early-June, and it wasn't pretty. The former Arizona State standout worked into the seventh having allowed six earnies, four of those runs coming plateward on a pair of homers. He had a 16-14 record in 41 starts the last three years on this field, registering a 3.95 ERA.

Finnegan, who came to Cincinnati in last year's deal that sent Johnny Cueto to Kansas City, has had his share of ups and downs in his first full MLB season as a starting pitcher. One of the ups was last Friday in San Diego when he tossed six shutout innings to help the Reds to a 6-0 victory. One of the downs was just before that on this diamond where he struggled through five frames vs. the Diamondbacks and took the loss having surrendered six earned runs.

It's the third time the former TCU star has faced St. Louis this season, pitching well in a no-decision here in June (7 IP, 2 ER) and earning the win in Arch City back in April after going five innings and allowing four unearned runs.

 

Umpire Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick
You know, I don't recall watching a game yet this season when Adam Hamari worked the plate, and maybe that's a good thing he's gone unnoticed. The Michigan native is in his first full season at the major league level, and has spent most of his time with this crew chiefed by Tom Hallion. Hamari has favored the 'over' by a 12-8 margin, and the visitors at 14-6. Visiting chalk is running a perfect 5-0 against the baseball odds, though the Reds have captured half of his previous four plate assignments in Cincinnati, totals at 3-1 O/U in the affairs.

A few clouds and a 20%-25% chance of rain is in the forecast this afternoon in Porkopolis. Any precipitation that does show up shouldn't linger, however, with muggy temps in the upper-80s for most of the contest.

The only issue I have with playing St. Louis for my free baseball pick is whether or not closer Seung Hwan Oh is available for a 3rd-straight game. Instead, I'll get behind the bats.

Free MLB pick: Over 9 (-110) 
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle
Season: 39-33 (+8.55)

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