MLB Picks: Cardinals at Reds Odds and Betting Predictions
by Aaron Smith - 7/15/2011
It’s no secret that the St. Louis Cardinals and the Cincinnati Reds don’t like each other. There was a bit of a rivalry brewing between the two last season, but then the Aug. 10 brawl took the hatred to a whole different level. The Cardinals have been the top dog in the NL Central for several years, but it was the Reds who won the division in 2010. Fast forward to 2011, and the Cardinals are back on top of the division, and it is the Reds who are struggling with inconsistency.
The Cardinals are actually tied atop the NL Central with the Milwaukee Brewers, and the surprising Pittsburgh Pirates are only a game behind. The Reds are four games back, but they are clearly still in the race. This is a crucial series for both teams as they start out the second half of the season.
How the Teams Enter
The Cardinals are 5-5 in their last 10 games overall. St. Louis has dealt with quite a few injuries this year, but they definitely got a nice boost from the fact that Albert Pujols came back sooner than expected. The offense is finally getting healthy again. The Cardinals have the third-ranked team batting average in the majors. Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman have both been ripping the cover off the ball all year long. Pujols has actually had a down season by his standards. If this team gets all three sluggers going at once, they will be extremely tough to beat.
The Reds went just 3-7 in their last 10 games before the break. Four of those seven losses were by one run, and the Reds actually led entering the ninth inning in three of those four one-run losses. Cincinnati’s pitching staff has been a huge disappointment so far this year. The Reds are near the bottom of the charts with a team ERA of 4.17. The Reds are scoring more runs than anyone in the National League, so it is hard to blame the offense too much. Joey Votto continues to hit very well, and Jay Bruce is having a breakout season.
Cardinals vs. Reds Betting Storylines
Remember who was on the mound when the Cardinals and Reds brawled last August? It was Johnny Cueto, and he also happened to be the player that kicked a couple of Cardinals players. It will be interesting to see what the environment is like for this heated rivalry this weekend. One thing is for sure, the umpires will have very little tolerance for the brushback pitch in this series.
It may be a bit overshadowed by the rivalry, but the matchup of first basemen in this game is amazing. Pujols and Votto are two of the best pure hitters in all of baseball today. Both teams will likely pitch carefully to these two sluggers, so it might be the guys batting behind them that have the biggest impact.
Cardinals vs. Reds Pitching Probables
Jake Westbrook (7-4, 5.34) will be on the mound for the visitors. It will be Johnny Cueto (5-3, 1.96) on the hill for the Reds. Westbrook has seven appearances against the Reds in his career, and he has an ERA of 4.50 over the span of 36 innings. Westbrook exited in the fifth inning after allowing seven runs a week ago against the Reds.
Cueto has a 4.88 ERA in 59 career innings of work against St. Louis. He was a tough luck loser despite pitching eight innings and allowing just one run against the Cardinals last week. Cueto has been as consistent as anyone in the majors of late. He has thrown nine straight quality starts.
Cardinals vs. Reds MLB Odds
The Reds opened as -155 moneyline favorites in this one. In early action there has been little movement in the price of this line. According to odds from BetOnline, the posted total of this game is set at 8.5 runs.
MLB Picks: Cardinals vs. Reds Predictions
I believe the Reds have the upper hand in this one because of the pitching matchup, but I can’t justify laying -155 on the favorite in a rivalry game. The ‘over’ makes the most sense to me. The ‘over’ is 5-0 in Cueto’s last five home starts against the Cardinals. It is also 5-1 in the last six meetings between these two teams. Expect a game that is a little higher scoring than most expect on Friday night.
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