In an NL Central showdown, the Cubs host the Reds for the 3rd game of a 4-game series on Wednesday night. The Cubs are the betting favorites at -135 on the moneyline, while the Reds’ odds are at +114. The over/under is set at 10 with identical -110 odds on both the over and on the under. The prediction here is the Reds win and the over hits.
Reds vs. Cubs Prediction
Starting pitchers: LHP Brandon Williamson (3-2, 4.48 ERA) vs. LHP Drew Smyly (8-7, 4.50 ERA)
It’s a southpaw showdown in the windy city between two surging AL Central clubs.
Both of these teams went 15-11 in July. The Reds have won 9 of their last 13 while the Cubs have won 11 of their last 14.
The Reds have had the Cubs’ number so far this season. They swept them in a 3-game series in Chicago back in May and took the first game of this series on Monday before giving up a whopping 20 runs in a loss yesterday.
Cubs starter Drew Smyly has struggled in his two starts against the Reds this season. He has allowed 12 runs (11 earned) in just 9-1/3 innings and has failed to get out of the fifth inning both times. The first start came in his first outing of the year, but the second came on the heels of his best stretch of the season, when he logged a 1.98 ERA over five starts (27-1/3 innings)
Things have unraveled for Smyly since then, and over his last six outings (25-1/3 innings) he has posted an 8.17 ERA and a 1.78 WHIP. He did show some signs of righting the ship in his last outing against St. Louis when he allowed just 1 earned run and fanned 6 batters over 4-1/3 innings.
Reds rookie starter Brandon Williamson has been working in the opposite direction. After making his major league debut on May 16, he had a 5.82 ERA and 1.47 WHIP in his first 8 career starts. Then in 5 July starts he logged a 2.45 ERA and 1.13 WHIP.
Williamson faces a tough test against a hot Cubs lineup that led the league in runs scored in July and appears poised to keep that going in August after last night’s outburst. Cody Bellinger has led the way with 9 home runs and 27 RBIs since July 1 while leading the league with a .406 average and a ridiculous 1.143 OPS.
Despite his stellar July, it’s hard to put much trust in Williamson against this lineup tonight, while Smyly doesn’t inspire much confidence either. The Cubs have had the hotter bats, but both clubs have been finding ways to win games, making this a tough matchup to handicap.
In that scenario, let’s go with the team getting the much friendlier +114 moneyline odds: Cincinnati. The safer bet would be playing the over on 10 runs at -110 odds, assuming these teams didn’t use up all their good at-bats in yesterday’s 29-run explosion. In their 7 games against each other this season, the total has gone over 10 runs 5 times.
Reds vs. Cubs Prediction: Reds moneyline (+114), Over 10 runs (-110)
Note: all metrics above were taken before Tuesday’s games
Reds vs. Cubs Odds
The Cubs are the betting favorites at -135 on the moneyline, while the Reds’ moneyline odds are at +114.
The Cubs are laying -1.5 runs on the spread at +140 odds, while the Reds are getting +1.5 at -166 odds.
The total for this game is set at 10 runs with -110 odds on the over and -110 odds on the under.
Reds vs. Cubs Key Matchups
Here are the key matchups that could decide Reds vs. Cubs.
Drew Smyly vs. Elly De La Cruz
Smyly’s recent struggles were one of the biggest factors in picking the Reds in the Reds vs. Cubs prediction above. One of Smyly’s most important tasks will be containing the Reds’ sensational rookie leadoff man, Elly De La Cruz.
The Dominican dynamo is 4th in steals since making his MLB debut on June 6 and he has been a huge spark at the top of the Reds’ lineup. Smyly will need to keep him off the bases – and off the base paths – if he wants to limit the scoring in his start today.
While De La Cruz is a switch hitter, he is much better against right-handed pitchers. He is slashing .273/.327/.511 against righties compared to just .260/.275/.320 against lefties. He also has yet to go yard or draw a walk against a lefty.
That is good news for Smyly, but not so much for the Cubs’ bullpen, which has only 1 lefty.
These teams are pretty evenly matched in the bullpen.
Over the last month, the Cubs’ relievers have posted a 3.57 ERA, 4.41 FIP and 4.29 xFIP, while the Reds’ staff has tallied marks of 3.66, 4.56 and 4.74.
The strength of these two bullpens puts even more pressure on the lineups to put some runs on the board early in the game.
Reds vs. Cubs Starting Lineups (Projected)
Reds Starting Lineup
SS Elly De La Cruz (S)
CF T.J. Friedl (L)
2B Matt McLain (R)
RF Jake Fraley (L)
1B Spencer Steer (R)
DH Joey Votto (L)
3B Christian Encarnacion-Strand (R)
LF Will Benson (L)
C Tyler Stephenson (R)
Cubs Starting Lineup
2B Nico Hoerner (R)
RF Seiya Suzuki (R)
LF Ian Happ (S)
CF Cody Bellinger (L)
3B Jeimer Candelario (S)
SS Dansby Swanson (R)
C Yan Gomes (R)
DH Christopher Morel (R)
1B Trey Mancini (R)