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Friday MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions for Reds vs. Diamondbacks: How to Bet Arizona’s Team Total (April 9)

Friday MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions for Reds vs. Diamondbacks: How to Bet Arizona’s Team Total (April 9) article feature image

Ralph Freso/Getty Images. Pictured: Taylor Widener

  • The Arizona Diamondbacks have struggled to score runs so far this season.
  • With injuries now plaguing their lineup, things don't look much better in Friday's game against the Cincinnati Reds.
  • Baseball analyst Michael Arinze previews the matchup below, complete with a pick that targets Arizona's team total.

Reds vs. Diamondbacks Odds

Reds Odds-150
Diamondbacks Odds+128
TimeFriday, 9:40 p.m. ET
Odds as of Friday afternoon and via DraftKings.

The Cincinnati Reds hit the road to take on the Arizona Diamondbacks in their home opener. Tyler Mahle will get the start for the Reds, and he’ll be opposed by Taylor Widener of the Diamondbacks, who will be making his second career start.

Widener was impressive in his starting debut as he pitched six shutout innings against the Padres to collect the first win of his major league career. Arizona managed to hold on for the 3-1 victory after scoring all its runs by the third inning.

To pick up his second win, he’ll need the Diamondbacks’ offense to snap out of their recent funk. Not only has Arizona already been shut out twice this season, but now, injuries to key players in the lineup will present an even greater challenge to scoring runs.

That scenario seems entirely possible on Friday night, and that’s why I’ll look to target the Diamondbacks’ team total in this matchup.

Cincinnati Reds

Tyler Mahle is looking to build on last season’s performance wherein nine starts. He went 2-2 with a 3.59 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. His 3.88 FIP was only a slight increase from his ERA, which is a good sign of the quality he showed on the mound.

Mahle profiles as a power pitcher. In 2020 he had an 11.33 K/9 ratio, and in his first start this season, he struck out nine batters in just five innings of work. Over the last two seasons, he’s generated an above-average CSW (called strikes and whiffs) rate of 29.2% and 30.9%.

He’s certainly a pitcher who has the kind of stuff that misses bats.

Despite pitching in the hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark, he limited hitters to just 1.13 home runs per nine innings last year.

What makes Mahle so effective is that he has at least a 20% putaway rate on all three of his dominant pitches: A four-seam fastball, slider and splitter.

His slider was his second-most used pitch last season (32.4%), and with the Diamondbacks a league-worst 9.2 runs below average against the pitch, we should expect them to see a heavy dose of it in the game.

Arizona Diamondbacks

The Arizona Diamondbacks have scored just three runs in each of their last two games. Their .278 wOBA is ranked 24th in the league, and they have a below-average wRC+ value of 75. Per FanGraphs Off metric, they’re 8.4 runs below an average team.

If we dig a little deeper, we’ll find that the Diamondbacks are ranked 24th with a CSW rate of 30.2%, which is right around where Mahle likes to operate. And when you look at their ability to barrel up the baseball, they have a success rate of 4.8%, which is 29th in the league.

The Diamondbacks were already without Kole Calhoun and Nick Ahmed to start the season. In 2020, Calhoun had a wRC+ value of 125, while Nick Ahmed’s value was 96.

Now they’ve lost their best hitter in Ketel Marte after he tried to beat out a ground ball to first base. On Thursday, he was placed on the 10-day IL with a hamstring injury.

Ketel Marte limping off the field…

— Bally Sports Arizona (@BallySportSAZ) April 8, 2021

Marte has twice as many hits (12) as any player on the team, and in 26 at-bats, he has a .462 AVG / .500 OBP / .846 SLG slash line with two home runs and five RBIs. With a current WAR value of 0.7, Marte is a significant loss to the Diamondbacks lineup.

That puts even more pressure on veterans David Peralta, Christian Walker and Eduardo Escobar to pick up the slack. So far, they’re a combined 11-for-80 (.138).

Reds-Diamondbacks Pick

While I lean to the Reds in this game, Widener has an advantage because Cincinnati has yet to face him. As a result, I prefer to target Arizona’s depleted lineup instead.

The Diamondbacks are hitting .154 with runners in scoring position, and I don’t see them being able to go over their team’s total of 4.5 runs. Since it takes five runs to beat me in this spot, I’ll look to take the under in this spot.

This is one you’ll definitely want to shop around for to try and minimize the juice, but BetMGM has a reasonable price at -140 odds.

Pick: Diamondbacks Team Total Under 4.5 Runs (-140)

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