Cincinnati (Stephenson) at Miami (O'Grady) -130 O/U 9.5
The Cincinnati Reds are a dead nuts bet-against team right now, a hopeless squad that has thrown in the towel on the 2017 campaign. Cinci opened the second half with a 2-8 homestand. They’ve gone 0-3 since hitting the highway, losing all three games in non-competitive fashion, by multi-run margins.
Quotes like this one from manager Bryan Price don’t inspire much confidence from this bettor – his entire focus is on evaluating talent for next year, not winning games this year: “These last 10 weeks are very important because I think we have to have a vision of what our starting rotation is going to look like in 2018, but we have to have that vision in 2017. I think it's going to be very difficult to come in and say, talk about, being really competitive if the vision isn't — if we don't know what 2018 is going to look like, at least from the outset.”
The Reds pitching staff is in shambles, bad news against a Marlins team that just pounded out a season high 22 runs last night in Texas. The Reds starters have combined to rank dead last in MLB in innings pitched, ERA and FIP. As a result, their bullpen is completely gassed, throwing gas on fires instead of putting them out. And Price is trying to stretch out his starters, leaving them in games where a strong bullpen would have their collective backs.
Robert Stephenson’s first start of the season came last week, against the same Marlins lineup he’ll face today. It wasn’t pretty, as he allowed eight hits, two walks and five earned runs in 5.1 innings of work, taking the loss in the process. In nine big league starts over the past two years, Stephenson has recorded an out in the sixth inning only once. Like many young pitchers, he’s been awful on the highway, with a 10.97 ERA away from home; an easy fade on the highway tonight.
The betting markets aren’t particularly enamored with Marlins starter Chris O’Grady – hence the cheap price to support Miami this evening. O’Grady is no ace in the making, but he’s allowed three runs in each of his first three big league starts, keeping his team in the game. Cinci’s lineup isn’t hitting right now, producing four runs or less ten times in 13 games since the Break. Price: “We don't have anybody who's on fire. We haven't gotten to our power in the second half, which had been our strength in terms of driving the ball for extra-base hits."