Chicago Cubs at Cincinnati Reds Betting Preview
A National League Central battle between the Cincinnati Reds (64-55) and the Chicago Cubs (52-68) begins on Monday night as the Cubs travel to Great American Ballpark to take on the Reds for a 7:10 PM EST first pitch.
The Reds are fighting for a playoff spot being second in the NL Central but still behind the Milwaukee Brewers by eight games and two games out of the second National League wild-card spot. The Cubs have struggled greatly ever since the All-Star Break and have dropped to 4th place in the division, 20.5 games back of the Brewers.
The Reds have won 6 out of their last ten games compared to the Cubs, who have won a grand total of 0 out of their last 10.
The Reds have barely edged out the Cubs for the season series by winning in 6 of their ten meetings so far this season. There are six more games between these two teams left in the season, including this upcoming series.
The Reds are the favorite to win this game by a considerable margin with -1.5 (-115) to win and moneyline at -235 compared to the Cubs spread of +1.5 (-105) and +190 moneyline. The over/under for the total runs in Monday’s game is +/- 9 (DraftKings).
The Reds are 7-3 on moneyline bets, 6-4 on the spread, and 5-4 on betting the under this season against the Cubs.
Monday’s game will feature the pitching matchup of the 26-year-old Cubs left-hander.
Batting, Justin Steele vs. the 34-year-old veteran Reds left-hander, Wade Miley.
Steele (2-1) has 22 strikeouts with only 18.1 innings pitched with a 2.95 ERA. This will be his second appearance as a starter, where he pitched five innings with five hits and three earned runs in his first time out. He has struggled to return to the majors dealing with a hamstring injury for a good part of the season.
Miley (9-4) has 97 strikeouts in 126 innings with an ERA of 3.00. In his last outing, he had a no-decision where he struggled during his five innings pitched, allowing five hits and five earned runs.
The Reds need some of their consistent hitters back from injuries if they hope to continue winning games to keep pushing for a playoff spot. Jesse Winker returned to the lineup Sunday from the day-to-day injury list(IL) after having some lower back tightness. On the 60-day IL, Nick Senzel is looking to make a return sometime this month after undergoing left knee surgery.
Other injuries include relief pitchers, which the Reds bullpen could use with being very short-staffed all season. These injuries include Tejay Antone, Brad Brach, R.J. Alaniz, Art Warren, and Michael Feliz.
The Cubs are struggling with many more injury issues, including Wilson Contreras (10-day IL, right knee sprain), who is not expected to return until September. The rest of the 10-day IL includes RHP Adbert Alzolay, infielder Nico Hoernet, and RHP Dillon Maples.
The 60-day IL includes LHP Brad Wieck, 2B Nick Madrigal, RHP Kohl Stewart, C P.J. Higgins, C Jose Lobaton, and RHP Jonathan Holder.
Needless to say, the Cubs are not trying to rush their injured players back with being so far out of playoff contention.
The Reds Playoff Race
The Reds only have 14 more games this season out of 42 that are against teams better than .500. That makes these games very winnable and crucial to achieve a playoff berth.
They will need to continue to rely heavily on their offense and hope that their pitching can come around at the end of the season as they get more of their bullpen healthy. The Reds pitching staff ranks 19th in ERA (4.48), 25th in WHIP(1.378), and 29th in Walks/9 (4.12).
On the other hand, their batting tells a very different story. They rank 5th in batting average (.252), 3rd in on-base percentage (.333), and 5th in slugging percentage (.431).
The Cubs Playoff Contention Dwindling Fast
Being so far from playoff contention, you would imagine that the Cubs have refocused their sights on next season. With the losses of Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, and Javier Baez during the trade deadline, releasing Jake Arrieta due to poor performance, and more players added to the injury list, the Cubs are looking to rebuild into the next couple of seasons.
They will have a huge payroll going into next season with all of these big contracts removed. Cubs fans can look forward to their front office potentially making some big moves in the off-season to put them back into the playoff picture in the near future.
Keys to a Reds Win
The Reds need to keep their winning ways alive, especially against a Cubs team that is not the same as the one they have played previously this season. They will need to keep relying on their big bats with Winker, Castellanos, and Votto to produce early in games to take the pressure off of a struggling pitching staff.
The Reds will be facing a young pitcher in the opener and a team that is looking to next season for a rebuild. This should make winning an easier task for the Redlegs as they start this three-game series against the Cubs on Monday night.
As the Reds continue to push forward to achieve a playoff berth, they will need to get all of their players healthy to ensure that they have a full bench to make the playoffs and potentially a deep run. This team has the tools to do some damage in the postseason if the pitching can match the level of the bats.
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