Friday MLB Odds, Preview, Predictions for Brewers vs. Reds: Bet on Milwaukee to Get Right (May 21)

Friday MLB Odds, Preview, Predictions for Brewers vs. Reds: Bet on Milwaukee to Get Right (May 21) article feature image
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Rich Schultz/Getty Images. Pictured: Christian Yelich.

  • The Brewers and Reds meet on Friday in Cincinnati in a matchup of struggling NL Central teams.
  • Adrian Houser has been solid for Milwaukee, while Jeff Hoffman presents an opportunity for the team's offense to get back on track.
  • Matthew Trebby breaks down the matchup and makes his pick below.

Brewers vs. Reds Odds

Brewers Odds -125
Reds Odds +105
Over/Under 9 (-115 / -105)
Time Friday, 7:10 p.m. ET
TV FS1
Odds updated Friday afternoon and via PointsBet

Neither the Milwaukee Brewers nor Cincinnati Reds enter their three-game series feeling great.

Milwaukee has lost five of its last six games and is 4-12 since winning three straight against the Dodgers from April 28-30. The bats, quite simply, have gone missing for Milwaukee, although there’s reason for optimism that will change.

The Reds were swept by the Giants at home before this series, including an 18-4 shellacking in the Thursday matinee finale. Like Milwaukee, Cincinnati’s bats have struggled. The Reds scored just nine runs in those four games.

Something’s got to give on Thursday at Great American Ball Park. Let’s dig in.

Brewers’ Bats Need To Come Alive

Over the past two weeks, the Brewers rank dead last in MLB in OPS at .587. They just dropped back-to-back games against the Royals, who are barely above them in 29th at .601.

Over the past two weeks, Avisaíl García is the only Brewers player with more than 20 at-bats who has an OPS over .710. Daniel Vogelbach (.703) and Kolten Wong (.655) are the only such players with numbers over .600.

Simply put, it can’t get much worse for the Brewers. They are now healthy with Christian Yelich back in the lineup, and there are too many players with proven track records for them to keep struggling like this.

Another reason to expect some positive regression is Milwaukee’s .645 OPS this season against right-handed pitching. The Brewers’ lineup on Friday is likely to feature at least five left-handed hitters and quite possibly six. Against a pitcher like the Reds’ Jeff Hoffman at a very hitter-friendly park, this could be a big get-right spot for Milwaukee.

On the mound, Adrian Houser invites contact. He has struck out 8.5 per nine innings since the start of 2019, giving up 1.2 homers per nine in that span.

Houser has been solid behind the Brewers’ terrific trio of Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes and Freddy Peralta with a 3.63 ERA that is backed up by a 3.58 xFIP. He has a good matchup here against a banged-up Reds lineup that, unlike him, isn’t playing well at the moment.

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Nothing Going Right for Cincinnati

This season is Hoffman’s last chance, probably, to show that he can be a major-league starter, and it’s going better than any of his previous seasons so far.

Whether that’s good enough remains to be seen. Hoffman’s 4.67 ERA is backed up by a 4.71 xFIP. His stats per nine innings have never been great, although he is allowing just 1.04 home runs per nine this season, which would be a career low.

Simply put, it’s tough for a bettor to back Hoffman. His 6.17 career ERA inspires no confidence, and he hasn’t pitched more than four innings in any of his last four starts. Hoffman has only allowed more than three earned runs in one of those four outings, though, so he’s not blowing up and taking the Reds out of games like Tyler Mahle did on Thursday afternoon.

Offensively, the Reds have been struggling of late, although they still rank fifth in the majors in OPS at .750. Much of that is thanks to a strong April, though, as Cincinnati’s OPS was down to .725 before Thursday’s blowout loss.

The Reds were dealt a big blow on Thursday morning when Mike Moustakas was placed on the injured list. Joey Votto is also out for the Reds, who have ridden Jesse Winker and Nick Castellanos this season.

Castellanos has stayed red hot of late, while Eugenio Suárez has shown some signs of life of late.

Brewers-Reds Pick

The biggest bit of value here comes in the form of the Brewers’ team total. They have a great matchup against a starting pitcher who is running out of big-league chances, and their lineup matches up well with Hoffman.

Scoring more than four runs is very reasonable against a pitcher like Hoffman. He’s allowed four in two of his last four starts, all of which haven’t lasted past the fifth inning.

This is a good spot for Milwaukee’s lineup to get going, so I’ll back their team total, over 4.5 runs.

Pick: Brewers Over 4.5 Runs -105

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