I returned to the MLB picks game last night and admittedly got a little greedy. I saw the Diamondbacks at home at +163 and didn’t really care that they were facing Clayton Kershaw.
That was a little disrespectful, but it ended up being a winning play.
Kershaw bounced back after two rough outings, but it wasn’t enough in a tight 4-3 road loss. Los Angeles just hasn’t been good this year and the D’Backs have been one of the best teams in baseball. I put two and two together and got TSG readers some sweet value in the process.
That gives me my first win of the 2018 MLB season and a 1-0 start and the aim is to keep the ball rolling tonight.
Bettors are again graced with a huge MLB betting slate, with about half the schedule getting started early in the day. You’ll have eight games to work with on the night schedule and one of my favorites resides in Cincinnati with the Reds hosting the rival Milwaukee Brewers.
Milwaukee stole a 7-6 win last night and are up 2-0 in the series. They’ll be shooting for a clean sweep tonight in an effort to push their way back to the top of the NL Central.
The Brewers didn’t show up in a four-game series with the Cubs, but a three-game run against the inferior Reds could have them right back in the thick of things. On the other side, the Reds have been pretty lifeless on the year (7-23) overall and they’re just 4-6 over their last 10 games.
Cincinnati has heated up offensively lately, though, while Luis Castillo will toe the rubber in what could quickly turn into a very interesting game to wager on. Let’s take a closer look as we try to come away with some profit tonight:
Milwaukee Brewers (+1.5, -210) @ Cincinnati Reds (-1.5, +175) Total: 9 (-125/+105)
There are a lot of routes to consider tonight. These two teams burned our own Jason Gray last night, as Milwaukee was up for most of the game by two runs and the Reds closed the gap just enough to kill a run line bet. That wasn’t a bad play at all with Chase Anderson facing Homer Bailey, so if you want to go back in that direction tonight, I’m not going to stop you.
Unfortunately, the value isn’t there with the Brew Crew. They could easily win tonight by two or more runs, but at -210 you’re getting no value to take on that risk.
The run line bet to at least lend a cursory glance to is the Reds at +1.5, as they offer a sweet +175. I also love the Over here (-125), as these two teams beat each other up to the tune of 13 runs last night and could easily go nuts again in the series finale.
The trick is gauging the pitching.
Wade Miley will make his Brewers debut tonight and it comes in a hostile environment. The Reds are not a consistent offense, but they have fared decently against southpaws. They’re the 8th best team in baseball in terms of strikeouts against left-handed pitching and also rank 4th in MLB in batting average against that side of the plate.
Cincinnati has a few mashers that can take care of lefties, too. Joey Votto can crush any arm, while Eugenio Suarez, Adam Duvall and Scott Schebler all offer quite a bit of power in these spots. With the Reds heating up offensively recently (35 runs over their last five games), their bats are something to worry about tonight.
Miley could be rusty and he’s pitching in a brutal hitter’s park. He can make batters miss when he’s dialed in, but he’s prone to a lot of hard contact. After giving up a 27% fly ball rate and 32% hard hit rate in 2017, he’s tough to trust against a slew of powerful righties in this park.
Luis Castillo hits the mound for the Reds and his lone “good” start of the year came against – you guessed it – these very Brewers. He fanned a season-high eight batters in an easy 10-4 win at Miller Park, while he dominated Milwaukee (1.98 ERA) across two starts last year.
That puts the Reds in play as a mild home value and their +175 price for a +1.5 run line can’t be ignored.
The safe bet here is the Over at -125. Both of these teams have a lot of power, both pitchers allow a good amount of contact and this is a park that serves up a lot of home runs. I think the Over is going to hit tonight, but the bet I love is the Reds and their +1.5 run line.
This +175 price is just too nice and they have the clear advantage on the mound. I fully expect the Brewers to put up a fight in this one, but Castillo has owned them thus far in his career and he doesn’t have to worry about Eric Thames (thumb), who is out for a month.
Ultimately, I don’t really trust Miley in his first start of the year, while he’s a guy you can target even when you think he’s in a groove.
The Reds probably wouldn’t mind avoiding the sweep at home against a hated rival, either, while Castillo delivered his best start of the year against the Brewers. I’ll go out on a limb here and say he wrecks as the Reds end this series with a big win.