Reds vs Cubs Odds, Picks, Prediction | MLB Betting Preview for Tuesday, August 1
Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: Justin Steele #35 of the Chicago Cubs.
Reds vs. Cubs Odds
The Cincinnati Reds and Chicago Cubs are set to face off on Tuesday night. The NL Central has gone from a laughing stock to one of the most fun divisions in baseball, thanks in large part to these two teams, who are five games apart after the Reds' 6-5 win on Monday evening.
On Tuesday, Cincinnati's Ben Lively will start against Chicago's Justin Steele in a pitching matchup that looks quite one-sided on paper.
Lively has a 3.76 ERA over 67 innings this season, but his 4.56 FIP paints a more accurate picture. He has failed to go at least five innings in three of his past five starts, and although he's avoided blow-up starts, he doesn't offer much that'll scare the Cubs. His fastball sits around 91 mph and his 79 Stuff+ ranks 136th of 143 pitchers with at least 60 innings this season.
The Reds are a just-below-average offense. Their wRC+ of 97 ranks 20th in baseball and doesn't ring too many alarms on either end of the spectrum. In June, the bats were hot (108 wRC+) but still only just cracked the top 10. Cincinnati's success this season has been a collection of little edges — a bullpen that's getting a bit lucky, a soft schedule and an over-.500 record in one-run games.
I don't mean to write off the Reds entirely, but rather to put everything into context.
On the other hand, many have been waiting for the Cubs to get hot this season and it seems to finally be happening. After underachieving their Pythagorean record for most of the first half, the Cubs have now rattled off 10 wins in their past 12 games. Chicago has reinserted itself into the NL Central race just in time for the Trade Deadline.
The Cubs' offense has been notably better than Cincinnati's lately with a 111 wRC+ over the past 30 days. Cody Bellinger is leading the charge, but it has been a strength in numbers movement in the past month, during which seven players have at least 55 plate appearances and a wRC+ of at least 111.
On the mound, Steele has been a certified stud for over a season now. In his past 228 2/3 innings, Steele has a 3.03 ERA and a 3.16 FIP. His 50% ground-ball rate ranks 10th among qualified pitchers, and while his strikeout rate isn't quite elite, only 10 qualified pitchers walk batters at a lower rate.
Steele has perfected his ability to pitch to contact and let his teammates do the rest. He also has been very dominant in a good chunk of his games. Of his 19 starts, just under half (9) have seen him go at least six innings while allowing one earned run or fewer.
Reds vs. Cubs Betting Pick
The Cubs opened at -150 but have already taken a bit of money. That being said, I'll be looking to bet the Cubs in a few different ways. My favorite way is to zone in on this starting pitching matchup and bet the Cubs in the first five innings. There is no line available yet, but I would play it to -180. Given Steele's ability to regularly lock down teams, I'll also add a bit on the -0.5 first five innings run line. If the number is right, I'll take -1.5 as well.
I'll also be looking at the Cubs full game moneyline, but it's quickly approaching my breaking point, which is around -170.
Finally, I'll be looking at the Reds team total under, both the full game and the first five innings. Tuesday's weather looks to be pitcher friendly and the Reds are in their worse split against lefties. These numbers aren't out yet, so keep an eye on the app (@TurveyBets) for my plays if the number is right.