One Interleague game on the MLB betting docket for Monday and at first glance it appears to be a mismatch. The Houston Astros are flying high with a record of 48-24 which ties them with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the best record in the big leagues. They’ve got the #4 team ERA in the Major Leagues along with the #3 team batting average. A team that can pitch and hit well is going to win a lot of baseball games.
Cincinnati, meanwhile, is decidedly *not* one of the best teams in baseball. In fact, over the past couple of decades the Reds might just be the most perpetual underachievers in baseball. Since 1996, they’ve made the playoffs only three times which is a tough legacy for a team that during the late 1970’s defined excellence. They’ve finished with a record above .500 only three times in the past 17 years and are currently on pace for their sixth consecutive losing season. The Reds have the #26 team batting average in baseball (.233) though their pitching has been surprisingly good–they check in with the #3 team ERA in the Major Leagues at 3.58.
Houston might be the class of the American League but they’re in something of a downturn–at least by their lofty standards. They’ve won 6 of their last 10 which is good but not great. On the other hand, they’ve won 15 of 21 and that’s pretty solid. The Reds are 4-6 in their last 10 games and that’s not going to get them anywhere. There’s not much of an argument to be made that the Reds are the better team in the ‘big picture’. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that this isn’t the goal of sports betting.
The name of the game is finding value. In baseball, one of the best ways to find value is to look for situations where good teams lose money or where bad teams make money. That is what we have here. Cincinnati will start right hander Luis Castillo and he’s been very good this year. Overall, he’s got a 2.31 ERA and a 1.090 WHIP but at home his ERA drops to 2.08 with a 0.923 WHIP. The Astros have barely scratched out a profit against right handers (+0.8 units on the year) and have lost -3.7 units against RHP away from Minute Maid Park.
Houston will go with lefthander Wade Miley who has been fairly solid this season with his team winning 10 of his 14 starts. His statistics are significantly better at home than on the road, however, and he’s facing a Reds team that is definitely capable against southpaws. Our hope was that Castillo would remain ‘under the radar’ a little longer and we’d have the opportunity to take him as a short priced home underdog in this spot. That didn’t happen, but he’s been good enough that he’s still worth playing as a short priced chalk.