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MLB Odds & Picks for Cardinals vs. Reds: Both Offenses Will Stay Hot (April 3)

MLB Odds & Picks for Cardinals vs. Reds: Both Offenses Will Stay Hot (April 3) article feature image

Jamie Sabau/Getty Images. Pictured: Tyler O’Neill

  • The Reds are a slight favorite over the Cardinals on Saturday afternoon (4:10 p.m. ET), with the total at 9.
  • Tyler Mahle is still looking to break out after years of high expectations because of strong underlying metrics, but it's never quite happened for him. Adam Wainwright will toe the rubber for St. Louis after a solid but unrepeatable 2020 season.
  • Get our full Cardinals vs. Reds pick and preview below.

Cardinals vs. Reds

Cardinals Odds +100
Reds Odds -115
Over/Under 9 (-110 / -110)
Time 4:10 p.m. ET
Odds as of Saturday morning and via DraftKings.

After an absolute shellacking on Opening Day, the Cardinals are back for more on Saturday in Cincinnati, trying to replicate their offensive outburst against another young talent.

Tyler Mahle, who we’ve expected a lot from in the last few years, will toe the rubber for the Reds as they try to pick up their first win of the season. Adam Wainwright, who’s a whole 13 years older than Mahle, gets the ball for St. Louis.

Cardinals’ New-Look Offense Looking Good

The integration of Nolan Arenado couldn’t be off to a better start. After letting Kolten Wong walk and shipping off Dexter Fowler over the offseason, St. Louis debuted a beefy revamped lineup which featured their prized acquisition Arenado right in the No. 3 spot, and some exciting talents woven in between some veterans. Tommy Edman is now the everyday second baseman, Tyler O’Neill has finally found regular at-bats and top prospect Dylan Carlson appears here to stay.

This lineup absolutely dazzled on Thursday against one of the brightest pitching talents in the game in 2019 All-Star Luis Castillo. They roughed him and the rest of the Reds staff up to the tune of 11 runs on 10 hits, including two roundtrippers by O’Neill and Carlson. Top to bottom, just about everyone in this lineup had something to say, and it was a bit of a message to the rest of the NL Central that this team is not to be taken lightly.

Wainwright will begin Year 16 with the Cardinals on Saturday, and he’s coming off a pretty solid shortened 2020 campaign where he posted a 3.15 ERA and solid 5.7% walk rate. His 4.52 xERA suggests we shouldn’t reasonably expect him to replicate his success, though he did do a good job of keeping contact soft with an average exit velocity of just 87.3 last year.

Tyler Mahle: Analytics Darling, Real-Life Nightmare

The Reds were a hot bet on Thursday with Castillo on the mound, catching some serious steam in the morning before closing around -120. They never even had a chance; the righty surrendered six in the first and though the bats tried their best to pick him up, it ultimately wouldn’t be enough to overcome such a huge deficit. It appears bettors are lining up for more pain, with 59% of early betting tickets coming in on the Reds, and 65% of the money.

There are likely many reasons for this, from a lopsided pitching matchup to higher expectations this year as the Reds’ core develops, but one particularly interesting note is how the Reds have performed at the Great American Ballpark. Cincinnati is 44-36 since 2019 in home games which they’ve been favored in, as is the case here.

Let’s talk about tonight’s starter Tyler Mahle for a second. He’s filed in the Dustin Ackley category of “guys which should be better when you look at the analytics, but consistently stink.”

Mahle’s expected ERA has fallen lower than his actual ERA in each of the last three seasons — and in 2019 there was a difference of a whole run. His expected stats and his contact profile would lead you to believe he’s a top-of-the-line starter, yet whether it’s due to the ballpark he plays in or just some really bad luck, he’s not seen those numbers translate to actual success. Because of this, folks are still pretty bullish on Mahle, though entering his Age 26 season it’s fair to wonder whether or not his breakout will ever come.

Cardinals-Reds Pick

This game is a very tough one to call, which makes this close line incredibly fitting. On the one hand, I’m of the belief of this Cardinals offense is absolutely legit, and that it’ll rank in the top 10 of most categories by season’s end. On the other hand, the pitching matchup is tilted the other direction with one guy due for negative regression and one guy who’s been waiting for positive regression for years now.

In situations like this, I like the over. I’m sure that at least one of these starters will struggle, and I know it to be true that these offenses are mightily talented. Wainwright should take a step back here, and the Cardinals’ supreme offense should scratch a few across against Mahle before getting to this bullpen.

Pick: Over 9 (-110)

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