905 St. Louis Cardinals at 906 Cincinnati Reds, 6:10 p.m. CT
Only one team has cashed the under more times than the Cards this season and it just so happens to be their opponent on Thursday night. While the Cards have hit the under at a 57.8-percent clip this season, the Reds have cashed the under at 58.8-percent, the highest mark in baseball.
So why am I bucking those trends tonight? Michael Wacha…and the Great American (small)Ballpark.
Wacha surrendered six runs on seven hits (including two home runs) last Monday night in L.A. He lasted just 3 2/3 innings and while the Dodgers have a more potent lineup than the Reds (hot take alert!), Eugenio Suarez (9-for-23, 1 HR) and Joey Votto (14-for-41, seven extra base hits) have owned Wacha throughout their careers.
The over is also 5-1-1 in Wacha’s last seven starts against the Reds and is 3-0-1 in his last four outings at the GABP. In efforts to cash the over, we also need a struggling Cardinal lineup to figure out Sonny Gray, who has been solid this season for CIncinnati. While that’s risky, the over is 4-0 in Gray’s last four starts.
I see tonight’s game planning out this way: the Reds jump Wacha early while the Cards largely struggle with Gray (a ground ball artist facing a lineup that lacks power). Once Wacha exists, the Reds’ bats cool against an excellent St. Louis bullpen while the Cards go to work against a collection of relievers for Cincinnati that own a 4.57 xFIP heading into Thursday’s action.
The Pick: Cards/Reds OVER 9.5 (-110) = Risking 1.10 units to win 1.0 units
907 New York Mets at 908 Atlanta Braves, 6:20 p.m. CT
Through six innings last night in Atlanta, the Mets and Braves had combined for only a single run. In the final three frames, New York and Atlanta tallied a combined nine runs in a 6-4 Braves’ victory. Had the Mets not left the bases loaded in the top of the ninth, the over of 10.5 runs would have cashed.
Why bring up last night? Because it’s another example of the bullpen problems that currently plague each team. The Braves acquired relievers Shane Greene, Mark Melancon and Chris Martin at this year’s deadline, yet the results have been ugly. In fact, before the new acquisitions arrived, Atlanta’s relievers had a 4.00 ERA, which was third-best in the National League. In the 40-plus innings since the new guys arrived, Braves relievers have an ERA well north of 6.00.
Speaking of deadline acquisitions, the Mets have received mixed results from starter Marcus Stroman. He has yet to pick up a decision in his first two starts for the Mets, but he allowed three runs on seven hits over 4 1/3 innings in his New York debut against Pittsburgh, then surrendered four runs on nine hits over six innings last Friday versus Washington. This Atlanta lineup will be the best Stroman has faced since coming to New York.
Meanwhile, Julio Teheran has been excellent for the Braves but the over has still cashed in six of his last seven outings following a Quality Start in his last appearance. Thus, despite receiving quality outings from Teheran, the Braves are still finding a way to hit the over when he starts. Furthermore, the over is 5-1-2 in Atlanta’s last eight games and is 16-7-5 in the Mets’ last 28 divisional matchups.
The Pick: Mets/Braves OVER 10.5 (-110) = Risking 1.10 units to win 1.0 units
2019 Betting Results:
MLB First Half: 59-50-4 (+2.55 units)
MLB Second Half: 12-16-1 (-6.05 units)
NHL Playoffs: 2-0 (+2.0 units)