We had a mediocre day yesterday. We went 1-1 which was good for -0.05 units. We basically watched baseball and broke even, which is a win in itself.
Today, I only have one MLB pick as the board is pretty slim. I have plenty of props and picks for Thursday Night Football on the Podcast.
2022 MLB Regular Season Record: 197-167 (54%) +30.49 units
Cincinnati Reds vs. Chicago Cubs: 2:20 pm EST
Luis Cessa (RHP, Reds) [3-2, 5.18 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 48.2 IP, 36 K, 18 BB]
Adrian Sampson (RHP, Cubs) [1-5, 3.95 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 70.2 IP, 54 K, 19 BB]
We head to Chicago for the final game of a three-game set. We have a set of mediocre pitchers going today where I feel I’m getting more value on one side. I view this as a very even matchup so I’m not sure why the Reds are underdogs at the given price.
Let’s talk about line movement first. The Cubs are getting north of 65% of the bets, yet the line has moved slightly in favor of the Reds. People believe the Cubs are the better team and they have home-field advantage. While they may be right about the Cubs when they are at full strength, the loss of Willson Contreras to this lineup makes them dead even with the Reds in my opinion.
Adrian Sampson is technically the better pitcher than Luis Cessa. I say “technically” because Luis Cessa rarely goes more than four innings, but the four innings that we get from Sampson won’t be much better than what Luis Cessa delivers today. Sampson doesn’t allow a lot of hard contact which works in his favor, but everything else isn’t very good. His 4.47 xERA implies that negative regression is coming and his lack of strike-out stuff is an area of concern.
Sampson faced the Reds back on August 13th and allowed six hits and two earned runs in four innings. The Reds lineup at the time looked worse than it does currently, even without Joey Votto. Spencer Steer has been an awesome addition to the lineup, and Jonathan India will be playing today and he missed the last matchup. The Cubs won this game, but Willson Contreras went 2-4 with a home run, and he’s on the IL.
The offense advantage with these two lineups against right-handed pitching leans towards the Reds. Over the 28 days, the Cubs have a 88 wRC+ compared to the Reds with a 96 wRC+. Over the past three weeks, the Reds have a 91 wRC+ compared to 83 for Chicago. Past two weeks, the Reds have a 94 wRC+, while the Cubs have a 86 wRC+. It’s a slight advantage, but the Reds have been better over a larger sample lately.
The bullpen advantage also leans towards the Reds. Over the past 28 days, the Cubs have by far the worst bullpen FIP in baseball and the third worst ERA. The Reds have been about league average, with the 11th-best FIP and 15th-best ERA in that span.
I don’t believe the Cubs should be this much of a favorite even with home-field advantage. The Reds are at a juicy enough price to take them on the money line.