Astros vs. Reds Betting Pick: Can You Pass on Houston at Plus-Money?

Astros vs. Reds Betting Pick: Can You Pass on Houston at Plus-Money? article feature image
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Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Josh Reddick and Alex Bregman

  • The first-place Astros are listed at +110 tonight against the last-place Reds, and are attracting three-quarters of the betting public.
  • Are bettors right to be jumping on Houston?

Prior to the year, I don’t think anyone would’ve batted an eye if  you’d predicted the Astros to be in first place in the AL West and the Reds to be in last in the NL Central come mid-June.

If anything, some folks might’ve thought your Reds prediction was a little disrespectful given their offseason moves, but their Vegas preseason win total (78.5) was only one higher than the fourth-place Pirates, so last isn’t too much of a stretch.

What would be considered a stretch is to then say that the Reds would be favored in the opening game of their interleague series with Houston at that same point.

Well, stretch or not, that prediction has come true today, as the Reds opened at -115 over the second-best team in baseball (by win percentage).

The public has been all over Cinc — ha, no, just kidding.

As you’d expect, bettors aren’t passing up the opportunity to take Houston at plus-money. The ‘Stros have attracted 75% of bettors to this point since opening (see live public betting data here).

If you’ve been in the sports betting game for some time now, you should probably be aware that oddsmakers know what they’re doing. They aren’t giving you a generous Astros number to be nice, and they’re well aware of how many bettors are taking Houston — as well as how much money they’re betting.

In fact, even though bettors are all over the Astros, their number has moved from +105 to +110 since it opened, and it’s in large part thanks to amount of actual money going each way.

The 25% of bettors on the Reds have generated 33% of actual dollars. While still not a majority, that figure implies that Cincy is drawing bigger bets — ones more likely to be made by respected sharp bettors. And if history has been any indication, you’d be wise to jump onboard the sharp train in this spot.

For starters, the Reds have a significantly worse record than the Astros but are coming off a win. To an untrained bettor, that makes it feel like Cincy is due to lose in this spot. Two wins in a row — with the second one coming against Houston — just sounds like too tall a task to ask for from the Reds. And because of that, lines are often shaded in a way that provides value betting on the worse team to pull off a second straight win.

Per our data at Bet Labs, betting on an unpopular favorite (less than a third of bets) facing a better team (through at least 40 games) and coming off a win has resulted in a 207-144 record since 2005, winning 34.7 units for an 9.9% return on investment.

To get a bit more specific to the percentages that the Reds are seeing today, unpopular favorites that are coming off a win at any point in the season (to increase the sample), and are also attracting a higher percentage of money than bets by at least five percentage points, have gone 42-16 since 2016 — when we began collecting money percentage data.

That record has resulted in 19.8 units won and a 34.1% ROI.

THE PICK: Reds -120

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