SI Gambling analyst Roy Larking previews Monday’s MLB betting action and shares the two top picks on his baseball betting card.
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Cincinnati Reds at Pittsburgh Pirates
National League Central Division rivals meet when Cincinnati and Pittsburgh begin a three-game series. Game time for the Reds vs. Pirates contest is slated for 6:35 p.m. ET at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pa. This is the fourth of 19 meetings this season. Cincinnati pounded Pittsburgh when these teams meet in Cincinnati in early April. Including 11–4 and 14–1 victories, the Reds outscored the Pirates 30–9 during a three-game sweep. Dating back to last season, the Reds have won seven straight and 10 of the last 13 games against the Pirates. Nine of the wins were by two runs or more.
Cincinnati (15–16) opened the season with a 9–5 record. The Reds outscored their opponents by a 73–25 margin during the nine wins and were outscored 36–15 over the five losses. Stumbling after that, Cincinnati was outscored 45–29 during seven straight losses. Getting back on track, the Reds have won six of their last 10 games. Cincinnati heads to Pittsburgh after a 3–0 win, a no-hitter by Wade Miley, and a 9–2 loss in Cleveland. The third game of the series was rained out yesterday. Joey Votto, who is second on the Reds with 17 RBI, is out for a month with a broken thumb.
Pittsburgh (14–19) has been through three different streaks over 33 games. Following a 1–6 start, the Pirates went on an 11–5 run and were two games behind NL Central-leading Milwaukee on April 27. Struggling on offense, Pittsburgh has lost eight of their last 10 games, and they are now last in the division. The Pirates have scored two runs or less in six of the last seven games. Before this homestand, Pittsburgh lost a pair of low-scoring series 2–1 on the road against the Padres and Cubs. They were outscored 7–4 in San Diego and 11–10 in Chicago. Pittsburgh is 5–7 at home this season.
RHP Tyler Mahle (1–1, 3.23 ERA) gets the start for Cincinnati. He allowed five earned runs, over 25.2 innings, during his first five starts. Mahle was roughed up in his last outing as he gave up six runs, over five innings, on May 2 at home against Chicago. RHP Mitch Keller (2–3, 6.29 ERA) is the starter for Pittsburgh. His ERA took a huge hit after he allowed seven runs, over just 3.1 innings, during an 8–3 loss to the Padres at home on April 15. He held San Diego to just two hits, over 5.2 scoreless innings, in his last start on May 4. The Cincinnati five-inning game prop has value at even money.
Pick: Cincinnati Reds Lead After 5 Innings (+100)
Boston Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles
Aiming for a sweep, Boston is in Baltimore to close out a four-game series tonight. The first pitch for the Red Sox vs. Orioles matchup is 7:05 p.m. ET at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Md. This is the third series this season, and it’s the last time these teams will play until August. The Orioles outscored the Red Sox 18–5 during a season-opening three-game sweep in Boston. That was followed by Boston winning three straight in Baltimore by a 27–16 margin. Making it six straight wins, the Red Sox won the first two games of this series, 6–2 and 11–6, before a 4–3 victory yesterday.
Boston (22–13) sits first in the overall MLB standings and the AL East. They have a 3.5 game lead on the Yankees and Rays, plus a 4.0 game lead on the Blue Jays. Following a 12–6 start, The Red Sox were up and down during a 5–6 run. Prior to this series, Boston won twice at home against Detroit, 11–7 and 12–9, and the Tigers avoided a sweep with a 6–5 F/10 win. Five of the Red Sox’s last six wins have been by at least two runs. Led by Xander Bogaerts (.349), J.D. Martinez (.333), and Alex Verdugo (.306), Boston scores an MLB best 5.34 runs per game and is first overall with a .269 team batting average.
Baltimore (15–19) will be happy to be done with Boston for a while as the Red Sox have scored 53 of the 147 runs the Orioles have allowed this season. Baltimore sits last in AL East, and they are 6.5 games out of first place. The Orioles entered this series following a pair of 2–1 series wins on the road against Oakland and Seattle. They outscored the Athletics by a 16–13 count and the Mariners by a 13–8 margin. Overall, the Orioles are averaging 3.85 runs per game on offense and 4.32 runs on defense. Baltimore has one of the better road records in the league (11–6), but they are just 4–13 at home.
LHP Martín Pérez (0–2, 4.40 ERA) is making his seventh start for Boston, and he is facing Baltimore for the first time this season. Pérez allowed two earned runs and six hits, over 5.2 innings, and took a no-decision in the Red Sox loss to Detroit in his last start. RHP Jorge López (1–3, 6.49 ERA) is making his second start against Boston and seventh overall. He allowed seven runs and eight hits, over 4.0 innings, during the Red Sox 14–9 win on April 11. Boston has run up the score during several games, and their offense is hot. Expecting those trends to continue, bet the run line back the Red Sox.
Pick: Boston Red Sox -1.5 (+115) run line
2021 MLB Regular Season Betting Record: 20–24 (-4.80 Units)
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