The defending World Series champion Giants are on the edge of elimination from this year's playoff race, but urgency can be a factor in handicapping late regular-season MLB games.
Reds-Giants Monday Odds
As of mid-Monday morning the best MLB betting line we could find on San Francisco with Tim Hudson was the -167 at Heritage, while Cincinnati with rookie righty Keyvius Sampson was getting +162 at 5Dimes. Also, BetOnline was chalking the Giants at -175 to win this series, with the underdog Reds getting +155.
San Francisco just swept three games at home from San Diego over the weekend, winning Sunday 10-3. So the Giants are 1-1-1 over their last three series, 6-2 over their last eight games.
At 75-68 San Francisco trails division-leading Los Angeles by 7.5 games in the NL West, and faces the same deficit behind the Cubs, who own the second National League wild-card slot at the moment.
Cincinnati, meanwhile, just took three of four games at home from NL-leading St. Louis, missing the sweep by losing Sunday 9-2. So the Reds are 2-2 in their last four series, 7-6 over their last 13 games. And that's about as good as it's gotten for Cincy this season.
At 60-82 the Reds bring up the rear in the NL Central.
This is the second meeting between these teams this season; back in May the Giants took three of four games in Cincy, outscoring the Reds 33-16. Three of those games played OVER.
Monday's Mound Match-Up
Hudson (7-8, 4.51) is nine-for-18 on quality starts this season, and one-for-one, along with a couple of relief appearances, since coming off the DL a couple weeks ago. Last Tuesday he held Arizona to one run through six innings, while just before that he threw 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief. On the season the 40-year-old has allowed 123 hits through 110 innings, walked just 26 but struck out just 59.
San Francisco is 9-9 in Hudson's starts, with the UNDERS going 11-5, mainly thanks to some poor run support.
This will be Hudson's first start against Cincinnati since June of last season, when he gave up just two runs and five hits through eight innings of a game the Giants eventually lost 4-0.
Sampson (2-4, 6.94) is just one-for-eight on quality starts since joining the Reds rotation back in August, and 0 for his last six. Last Wednesday he gave up five runs in 5 1/3 innings against Pittsburgh, and over his last five starts he's allowed 22 earned runs through just 19 1/3 innings. On the whole Sampson has allowed 47 hits through 36 innings, walked 19, which is way too many, and struck out 32.
The Reds are 4-4 in Sampson's starts, with the OVERS going 5-3.
This will be Sampson's first-ever start against San Francisco.
Monday's Batting Splits
Cincinnati ranks 18th against right-handed pitching this season with a .315 team on-base percentage, and 23rd with a .395 team slugging percentage.
San Francisco ranks second against righties with a .328 team OBP and 10th with a .414 team slugging percentage.
We would give the Giants a check mark with the bats, but they're also missing several regulars from their starting lineup. So we'll call the comparison of the batting orders a push.
Ballpark Totals Factor
Games played at AT&T Park are 37-28 on the UNDERS this season, averaging 7.5 runs per, third-fewest among all ML ballparks.
San Francisco is a banged-up outfit at the moment, with four regulars, including OF Hunter Pence, either out or questionable for this series.
Reds-Giants Free Picks
Many signs point toward San Francisco for this game, but the depleted lineup and the inflated price concern us. We believe the value on tonight's betting line resides with Cincinnati with Monday's MLB pick.
MLB Pick: Reds +162 at 5Dimes