Chicago (Quintana) at Cincinnati (Castillo) +130 O/U 8.5
Don’t look yet, but the Cincinnati Reds are playing their best baseball of the season right now. Cinci has won four straight including yesterday’s series opener against the Cubs, while taking seven of their last nine overall. It’s a fairly significant uptick for a team that had been playing miserable baseball for extended stretches this season; a squad that was 22-43 prior to their current hot streak. And when a team goes 22-43 over a span of more than two months, the betting markets have done what betting markets do – dropping Cincinnati like a rock. This current Reds uptick has come with Cinci at their most ‘value laden’ price points of the entire season, including yesterday’s +165 cash.
Similar to the team behind him, Cinci starter Luis Castillo got off to a very rough start this year. Castillo finished April with a 7.85 ERA after a string of five consecutive ugly road outings. Since that time, basically every stat that gets tracked has improved for the Reds second year starter. He struck out ten Cardinals in his last home game. The Reds bullpen behind him is in solid shape; rested & ready following a day off and three straight quality starts.
The Cubs continue to play mediocre baseball, and their pricetag hasn’t declined at all. That’s why they’re 12 games Over .500 right now, yet still in negative ROI territory; costing their backers money. And while Jose Quintana dominated this Reds lineup back in April, Cinci is averaging a half run higher per game against opposing southpaws. Plus Quintana isn’t eating up innings of late, completing the sixth only twice in his last five trips to the hill. With closer Brandon Morrow on the DL, the Cubs bullpen is more than a little bit dicey right now, offering the potential for late inning shenanigans should we need them.
To make matters even worse for Chicago, their lineup isn’t hitting again; producing just eleven runs in their last five games combined. That stands in sharp contrast to a suddenly hot Reds lineup that has scored five runs or more in all seven of their recent victories while averaging 5.2 runs per game at home in June. Live dog here!