Editor’s note: The opinion on this game is from the individual writer and is based on his research, analysis and perspective. It is independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.
Raj Mehta, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Homer Bailey
Betting Odds: Cincinnati Reds @ New York Mets
- Reds: +149 (Homer Bailey)
- Mets: -166 (Noah Syndergaard)
- Over/Under: 7.5 (-120/+100)
- First pitch: 7:10 p.m. ET
>> All odds as of 11:30 a.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time MLB odds and track your bets
After spending a week writing about various overs, the last few of which finished in frustrating fashion, I will return to the land of the contrarian for Monday night’s topic, and that’s the Reds-Mets game.
Early bets have been unsurprisingly one-sided, because when you see Homer Bailey vs. Noah Syndergaard on the board, you know who is going to take a lot of the action. “Thor” still resonates with people as a lights-out dominant pitcher. I always thought Homer Bailey got a bad rap because his first name was Homer, but that’s just me. Like, if he was just “Jim Bailey” we’d recognize the longevity and effectiveness of his career more than if he was named after the very thing he was trying to avoid that affected him negatively.
Anyway, let’s move on. The reason for a contrarian approach here is simple: which Homer Bailey are we likely to get Monday night? And which Noah Syndergaard are we likely to get? The answers may make this not as much of a one-sided affair as you’d originally believe.
Bailey is, without much fanfare, enjoying a nice two-game stretch since returning from a knee injury. Not only has he kept the hits and walks down, but he’s thrown a LOT of pitches, 100-plus in each start. Last time out against the Tigers he went the distance. This was not something rare earlier in his career, where he’d have frequent two, three or even four-game stretches throwing a ton of pitches, but in terms of this season, those were the two highest pitch counts he’s had.
After his last game, the veteran hurler said his mechanics are much improved since his injury. He’s in a rhythm. And although Homer Bailey intimidates exactly no one on the mound, and his stuff isn’t close to that of “Thor,” there’s a case here that you’re getting whatever the best version of Bailey looks like.
Meanwhile, you’re unlikely to be getting the best version of Syndergaard. After an odd stint on the DL with hand, foot and mouth disease (his second trip to the DL in the last month), he returned August 1st and pitched seven relatively effective innings against the Nationals.
Still, he has made just three starts since May 25th because of this illness and strained ligaments in his finger and admitted after his most recent start that he was incredibly rusty and that it would take time to get back into his usual dominant rhythm. The statistics back up what he’s saying — in 91 pitches against Washington, he induced just seven swinging strikes, an incredibly low number for someone with his stuff and history of punch-outs. There’s a case to be made that you’re definitely NOT getting whatever the best version of Noah Syndergaard is Monday night; you’re most likely getting a rusty, incomplete version.
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Considering he’s working his way back from two stints on the DL, there’s a good chance you’ll see the Mets’ bottom-five bullpen for a fair amount of innings in this tilt. That creates a little bit of value on Cincinnati. It will be an incredibly hot night at Citi Field, wind blowing out, so I also thought about the over at a very-low 7.5 (very low especially considering we are not getting dominant Syndergaard), but it isn’t called “Bets to Watch,” it’s only the singular, so for the purposes of this franchise I will take the Reds ML here.
The Bet: Reds +149