MLB Predictions – Betting The Reds to Win World Series

MLB Predictions Reds Jose Garcia
  • Outfielder Nick Castellanos had posted insane numbers with the Cubs late last season
  • Drastic team improvements makes them a strong candidate to make a playoff appearance
  • Sportsbooks priced Cincinnati to finish in third in the division (+280 – DraftKings)

It has been a long time since the Cincinnati Reds were relevant. The last time the organization finished above .500 and made the playoffs was back in 2013. Ever since their average win total has hovered around 69 games.

The Reds see an opportunity. They notice the tides changing within the NL Central and they decided to seize the moment. The St. Louis Cardinals are on the rise, but with teams like the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers losing traction due to some foreseeable, looming contract extensions, Cincinnati decided to pounce. This is why sportsbooks are completely baffled with the NL Central.

Sportsbooks priced Cincinnati to finish in third in the division (+280 – DraftKings) and some have them as low as fourth (+350 – FoxBet). The discrepancy shows the uncertainty with this division. Their guess is as good as anyone’s, really. Are the Cardinals a sure bet to take home the division, or will the Reds have something to say about it? Even if the NL Central isn’t in the cards, what about playoffs? Let’s look at the changes that have been made in southern Ohio.

Key Additions And Reasons For Optimism

Late in 2019, the Reds acquired starter Trevor Bauer from the Cleveland Indians. A deal was struck just after Bauer had one of the roughest moments on the mound in the 2019 season. An inning full of dinks and dunks, swinging bunts and bloops, including a routine pop fly that was lost in the sun, led to Bauer launching a ball over the centerfield wall in Kansas City as Terry Francona came out to spell him. Francona was seen grilling Bauer as he removed him from the contest. The righty was immediately apologetic, but a deal was made in the following days as the trade deadline came.

MLB Predictions Reds Adristides Aquino

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

How was Bauer once he made it to Cincinnati? He was terrible. Shockingly, he posted the worst ERA of his career over 10 starts (6.39 ERA). He gave up a ridiculous 12 long-balls over 56.1 innings despite being in the NL for the first time since 2012. This wasn’t what the Reds had in mind when they acquired Bauer, who had tallied a shiny 3.79 ERA over 24 starts with Cleveland in 2019 before the deal. A change of scenery is different for everyone and it was Bauer’s first change in seven years. Don’t expect him to remain down in 2020. Thankfully, the Reds didn’t need him to perform well in 2019.

Another major addition was made in free agency, as the club added Nick Castellanos. The outfielder had posted insane numbers with the Cubs late last season after they acquired him from the Detroit Tigers. In 51 games, Castellanos went absolutely bonkers in Chicago, posting a .321 average, 1.002 OPS, 16 homers, and 36 RBI. This is a fine upgrade for Cincinnati’s outfield situation and it makes their offense pretty scary.

Then, Mike Moustakas was added to play second base. The Reds swooped on Moustakas after he mashed 35 homers for the Brewers last season. See the trend here? Cincinnati purged some of their divisional rivals’ players. They now have an intriguing offense with Castellanos, Moustakas, Eugenio Suarez, Aristides Aquino, and Joey Votto.

Best Starting Rotation In The Central?

Despite having Bauer stink it up for 10 starts, the Reds tallied the fifth-best ERA among starters in the NL last season. Luis Castillo (3.40 ERA) and Sonny Gray (2.87 ERA) had quite a bit to do with this. Again, Bauer should settle into his new home and get back to his usual self. The Reds could improve on their terrific starting pitching in 2020. They posted the third-highest strikeout rate (25.7 percent) in the NL, something that Bauer will contribute to. They also added Wade Miley to the rotation. This is a starting five to fear.

So, how does this rotation compare to others within the division? On paper, they definitely top the division from a talent perspective. With the Cubs losing Cole Hamels, the Reds have to have the top starting five in the Central. When you look at it that way, why couldn’t they compete for the division? Being fixated on the outcome of 2019 isn’t the way to approach this. The Reds already had one of the most dominant aces in baseball in Castillo. Adding a full season of Bauer to this bunch could set them over the top.

It’s a good thing that Cincinnati drastically improved their lineup, as they finished 2019 with the fourth-fewest runs in the NL. Generating runs should come much easier to them this year, as free-agent additions will take the pressure off others. This was a major struggle for the Reds, so it’s encouraging to see ownership take a leap and basically go all in.

MLB Betting Season Win Totals And Playoff Hopes

Ok, so this club did improve quite drastically. They’re trending upward and have our attention. Are they ready to win 90 games and contend for the NL Central? That’s a tough one. The Cardinals won 91 games in 2019, which is why they’re favored to win the division. If the Reds were able to accomplish this, then it would be a solid 15-game improvement from last season.

I’m not saying this is impossible, but it’s definitely unlikely. The Cubs are rounding out sportsbooks with the best chances to win the division. This seems unlikely in my book, as they feel more like a .500 team to me. I tend to like the Reds more, but the Cardinals are the ones I’m afraid of.

This club should contend for a Wild Card spot. There’s no doubt in my mind that they’ll be interesting this season and will take some by surprise. Feel free to take advantage of a win totals bet on FanDuel right now. The over/under on win rate sits at 52.5 percent, which ends up being 86 wins if you were to take the over. At -110, you should pounce on this! If you can find a juicy playoff appearance wager (NOT NL Central winner), then you should take that as well. Sportsbooks are offering solid returns on the Reds right now, but you can bet that these will change once the club gets off to a hot start in 2020.