MLB Odds, Picks & Predictions: Indians vs. Reds (Monday, August 3)

Credit:

Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images. Pictured: Sonny Gray #54 of the Cincinnati Reds

  • Betting odds list the Reds as -136 favorites against the Indians Monday night, with the total set at 8.
  • Zach Plesac will make his second start of the season for Cleveland, while Cincinnati will send out Sonny Gray for the series opener.
  • Michael Arinze breaks down how to bet Reds vs. Indians below.

Cleveland Indians vs. Cincinnati Reds Betting Odds

Indians odds +117 [BET NOW]
Reds odds -136 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 8 (-118/-104) [BET NOW]
Time 6:40 p.m. ET
TV Fox Sports Ohio

Odds as of Monday at 9:30 a.m. ET and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


 

The Cincinnati Reds haven’t enjoyed much of a home-field advantage of late when facing the Cleveland Indians. At home, the Reds have lost their last six meetings with the Indians and you have to wonder if the Indians are in the heads of Reds players. With Monday’s matchup featuring two quality pitchers on the mound, there’s a good chance that runs may be hard to come by early on.

Indians Starting Pitcher

The Indians will hand the ball to Zach Plesac for his second start this season. Plesac was dominant last time out as he pitched eight innings of shutout ball with 11 strikeouts against the Chicago White Sox. Plesac received a no-decision in that start after Chicago put together four runs in the top of the ninth to secure the win.

Reds Starting Pitcher

Cincinnati sends its ace, Sonny Gray, out for the series opener against Cleveland. This will be Gray’s third start this season and he’s already picked up two wins while surrendering only one earned run, four hits and striking out 20 batters.

Gray has faced the Indians nine times in his career but never as a member of the Cincinnati Reds. In those starts, Gray is 4-3 with a 3.33 ERA.

Betting Analysis

With both pitchers off to hot starts, you could make the case to back either one in this matchup. But this type of quality pitching suggests that runs could be at a premium in this game and I’d prefer to leverage the pitching strength in some way by focusing on the total — that will serve as my foundation. My next step was to run some queries for both teams and the starting pitchers to see if anything supports my thinking.

My first query was to look at how the total has fared when both teams faced off.  Since 2015, when the Indians and Reds played one another, the total is 14-9-1 to the over.  When Cincinnati is the home team the total is 8-3-1 to the over.

Neither of those would support my argument so I looked to isolate both starting pitchers, Plesac and Gray.

Plesac’s first start in the majors came in 2019 and the total in his starts were 12-10 to the over whereas Sonny Gray was 18-12-3 to the under in 2019.

Gray’s 2019 stats as an “unders pitcher” are a good start to what I’m looking for. Though with this kind of quality pitching, I’d like to shrink the game even more because I’d expect them to have the advantage in the early innings while the hitters try to assess how they’re being attacked.

Both pitchers look like good candidates to not allow a run in the first inning given their dominant performances to start the season. I checked the recent starts of each pitcher and was able to find supporting evidence.

In his last 10 starts, Plesac has yet to surrender a first inning run. Here it is again in case I wasn’t clear: Plesac has yet to give up a run in his last 10 starts!

I then checked Sonny Gray and in his last 10 starts he’s given up a first inning run only once, which came against the Chicago Cubs on Sept. 17, 2019 last season.

So in the last 20 starts of both pitchers, they’ve combined to give up a first inning run just once. This revelation has me ready to push all my chips to the middle.

We might have caught the bookmakers with their pants down on this one. I’d bet this every day of the week and twice on Sunday if I saw this line. I’ll happily back these quality arms to get through the first inning of Monday’s matchup unscathed. Give me the under 0.5 for the first inning.

I’d play this under to -130.

Pick: First Inning Under 0.5 (-112) [Bet now at DraftKings. CO, NJ, PA, IN and WV only.]

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