The Reds are sputtering, and now may be the best time to offload their ace Johnny Cueto. We offer two betting angles that have given us a sizable return over the last few seasons when Cueto takes the hill.
Cincinnati Reds ace Johnny Cueto
Entering the All-Star break, baseball insiders are speculating that Cincinnati Reds ace Johnny Cueto may have pitched his last game for the reeling franchise. Mired 7.5 games behind division rivals, the Chicago Cubs, for the second NL Wild Card spot, GM Walt Jocketty is all but required to offload the ground-ball specialist for potentially a heap of top prospects. Owed $10 million this season and entering free agency this coming winter, the Reds should cash in on last year's runner-up to the NL Cy Young Award and bring in some young talent in an effort to inject life into an underwhelming club. In addition, with the team's $120 million plus payroll, a long-term deal with Cueto may push the franchise perilously closer to dreaded luxury tax penalties. Teams already rumored to be interested in a trade include the Houston Astros, Kansas City Royals, and Los Angeles Dodgers. If Cueto is traded, sports investors may return even more money off of one of the major league's most profitable starters when considering the following angles.
Since 2012, the Reds are winning at a 71% rate when Cueto takes the hill with a line closing less than even money. With a sample size slightly above 75 games, bettors have seen a 20% return on their investment with an average line just south of -150. The Dominican workhorse has averaged a quality start nearly 75% of the time in this situation. Cueto's propensity to induce soft ground balls from hitters places him second in the major leagues in batting average on balls in play (BABIP) since 2012 with opponents hitting .258. Couple this with his above average 8.14 strike outs per nine innings rate, and the Reds see opponents averaging a meager 2.7 runs per game when Cueto starts with odds of 100 or less. If bettors back the Reds under this angle when the game total closes at seven runs or more, then one sees their ROI jump nearly 10%, as the team's winning percentage rises to 79% in nearly sixty starts. Cincinnati struggles to offer Cueto run support in games at six-and-a-half or less, a total signifying less than ideal run-scoring conditions, knocking in an average of 2.8 per contest. Despite the big sticks of Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, and Todd Frazier, Cincinnati ranks only 23rd in the major leagues in runs scored since 2012, and they're pushing home a meager 25th best this season. In fact, with game totals of seven or more under our Cueto angle, the under is also cashing at a statistically significant rate of 74% with an ROI of more than 35%, as we see 6.5 runs scored per game with an average closing line of 7.5.
If Cueto is Traded....
If Cueto is traded, caution must be used when placing MLB picks over/under the game total, as whatever team the ace ends up with are probably scoring more runs than the Reds this season. Nevertheless, playing the under on opposing team totals should remain lucrative when Cueto takes the hill as a favorite. Moreover, one can expect the moneyline wager to continue to generate a positive return. Although bettors may see average MLB odds grow lower and eat away at some return, a team with better run-scoring potential will offer greater support and potentially improve the winning percentage found in our Cueto angle.
As always, use this information to support your leans and best of luck.