Reds vs. Dodgers Odds, Pick & Preview: Mahle and the Reds Bats Should Limit Scoring (April 17)

Reds vs. Dodgers Odds, Pick & Preview: Mahle and the Reds Bats Should Limit Scoring (April 17) article feature image

Dylan Buell/Getty Images. Pictured: Tyler Mahle

  • The Dodgers are home favorites on Sunday as they look for the series sweep against the Reds.
  • Tyler Mahle has had success against the Dodgers in the past, but can he keep it going today in LA?
  • Michael Arinze breaks down this NL matchup and shares his best bet below.

Reds vs. Dodgers Odds

Reds Odds+155
Dodgers Odds-190
Over/Under8.5 (-120 / +100)
Time4:10 p.m. ET
TVMLB Network
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

It took until the sixth inning on Saturday night before the Dodgers got to the Reds' rookie right-hander, Hunter Greene. Greene pitched five scoreless innings, but a leadoff hit to Austin Barnes paved the way for a Trea Turner two-run shot to left field. Los Angeles added two more runs in the inning and went on to win the game 5-2. The loss marked the fifth straight defeat for the Reds as their offensive woes continued.

The Reds will try to avoid the sweep on Sunday, with Tyler Mahle getting the start against Andrew Heaney for the Dodgers. While I can't say that the Reds' bats will suddenly awaken, Mahle at least gives them somewhat of a chance to keep the game competitive.

Mahle Looks to Continue His Hot Start for the Reds

Mahle is off to a fine start this season as he's allowed just one run in his nine innings of work. The California native had a breakout year in 2021 after going 13-6 with a 3.75 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP. What's even more promising is that his advanced numbers didn't show any regression, given his 3.73 xERA, 3.80 FIP, and 3.74 xFIP. Moreover, his 3.82 SIERA is a good sign of what we can expect from him this year.

As a result, I'm not surprised to see the right-hander already has a 1.00 ERA and a 1.95 FIP. Part of his success might be linked to a decision to utilize his splitter more often. Per FanGraphs, its usage increased from 10.8% to 15.9% this season.

Mahle has a decent fastball which averages around 94 mph, but what probably separates him from most pitchers is his ability to throw first-pitch strikes. This past season, he set a career-high with a 64% First-Pitch Strike Rate. Once he can get ahead in the count, he'll look to exploit the hitters' aggressiveness by using his splitter, which FanGraphs grades at 7.6 Runs Above Average.

The Dodgers were slightly below average against the splitter last year, and they're right around the same mark this season. Overall, Mahle's had some success facing the Dodgers hitters as they have a .243 / .273 / .297 line against him in 59 at-bats.

Heaney and the Dodgers Hunting for More Success Against Reds Hitters

Los Angeles added another left-hander to the rotation by signing Heaney to a one-year deal. Heaney spent 6.5 seasons with the Angels before moving on to the Yankees ahead of last year's trade deadline. Although he had his share of suitors, some were probably surprised to see that he signed for $8.5 million. After all, he's 32-38 in his career with a 4.69 ERA.

However, his advanced numbers consistently signaled a potential for positive regression over the past four seasons. For example, his 3.84 SIERA last year was roughly two runs lower than his more disappointing 5.83 ERA.

Frankly, I think a change of scenery can be good for Heaney after leaving an Angels team embroiled in turmoil both on and off the field. The Dodgers are a winning organization that's also benefited from the analytical approach that their president of baseball operations, Andrew Friedman, brought over from his time with the Rays. While it may be unclear to some teams why the Dodgers so coveted Heaney, you can bet their front office did its due diligence.

The Dodgers will certainly be pleased with what they saw from Heaney in his first outing after throwing 67 pitches in 4 1/3 scoreless innings. He should fancy his chances against a Reds team struggling mightily at the plate.

Cincinnati is dead last in the league with a wRC+ value of 53. The Reds are 29th with a .185 batting average, 27th in ISO (.108), and 27th with a 6.9% Walk Rate. In 22 at-bats against Heaney, the Reds' current lineup has a .135 / .197 / .385 line, which is even worse than their .194 / .255 / .301 split against lefties this season.

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Reds-Dodgers Pick

As bad as the Reds have been this season, Mahle certainly gives them a chance to get back in the win column. After all, the Reds are 3-1 in his starts when facing the Dodgers. During his lone visit to Dodger Stadium in 2019, Mahle pitched six shutout innings as the Reds went on to win 4-0.

However, Cincinnati's anemic offense certainly gives me cause for concern. Despite all the talk about this Dodgers offense, the total is 5-2-1 to the under in their eight games. As a result, I'd recommend a play on the under if you plan to get involved in this game. Mahle should also benefit from being in more of a pitcher's park than the oft-considered bandbox at Great American Ball Park.

When Mahle's on the road and the opening total is no higher than nine runs, the under is 24-15-3 for 7.41 units. In addition, all four of his starts against the Dodgers also resulted in no more than eight runs.

The over/under is currently sitting at 8.5, and BetMGM has the best price on the board at +100. Make sure you shop around to ensure you grab the hook when playing this under the total.

Pick: 1/2 Unit on Under 8.5 (+100)

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