Bales' Best Bet - Chicago Cubs vs Cincinnati Reds
Wade Miley and the Cincinnati Reds will host Justin Steele and the Chicago Cubs in Great American Ball Park tonight. Steele grades out as the better pitcher in terms of ERA and xFIP, although he’s thrown limited innings this season. Ultimately, I expect his numbers to dip a bit once he gets more innings under his belt. Cincinnati’s offense has been significantly better, though, and they’ve been dominant at home in 2021. The Reds also boast a slightly better bullpen over the last 30 days.
The massive discrepancy in offense is displayed through the -220 odds Cincinnati boasts. The Reds are also pushing for a spot in the playoffs, as they currently rank fourth in the NL in record (64-55) this season. Chicago, on the other hand, sold the majority of their starters at the trade deadline, suggesting they’re going into a full-blown rebuild.
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Wade Miley and the Reds opened as -300 home favorites against Justin Steele and the Cubs. The line’s shifted drastically toward Chicago throughout the day, as Cincinnati’s now only a -220 favorite. The game total also increased from 9 to 9.5. With that being said, the Cubs only own an implied team total of 3.4 runs, which can be found on our Trends page.
Miley’s enjoying a solid season, although he’s struggled at times with strikeouts. His total ranges from 4.5 on several sportsbooks to 5.5 on others tonight. His best odds at 5.5 strikeouts come on DraftKings Sportsbook, where you can get +130 on the over. BetMGM offers the best odds at 4.5 tonight, setting the over at -161 tonight.
Miley’s struggled with strikeouts throughout the 2021 season. He owns 18.5% strikeout and 9.8% swinging-strike rates thus far. He enters this game with a 6.93 K/9 this season.
Ultimately, Miley recorded 97 strikeouts through 126 innings over 21 starts. He’s struggled a bit in recent games, posting 6+ strikeouts in only 3 of his last 9 starts. Miley hit 6 or more strikeouts in only 7 of his 21 starts. He’s also recorded 5+ strikeouts in 11 of those starts.
Miley’s strikeouts generally don’t matter in terms of splits. His strikeout rate increases slightly to 19.4% in Cincinnati. It also increases to 19.2% against left-handed pitching. With that being said, his numbers are relatively similar in terms of all home/road and handedness splits. More importantly, Miley’s been better at home, where he owns a 3.69 xFIP, suggesting he can throw deeper into the game tonight.
He gets an elite matchup against the Cubs tonight. He’s played against them 3 times this season, recording only 8 strikeouts over 16 innings. With that being said, he hasn’t faced off against them since the trade deadline.
Chicago’s recent form is what makes this matchup so important. Over the last 14 days, they’ve posted a .292 team wOBA, struggling to get to pitchers early in games. They also own a ridiculous 32.4% strikeout rate over that span. It’s far and away the highest in the MLB.
The Cubs are expected to use several right-handed batters in this matchup, which is a bit worrisome. With that being said, we know that Miley’s strikeout rate doesn’t change much depending on handedness. It’s more concerning in terms of how deep he will be able to throw into this game.
Miley isn’t a pitcher I generally love attacking the over on his strikeout props. The Cubs are a team I love attacking at the moment, though, and this is an ideal spot for the southpaw. Keep in mind, if you want a significantly safer bet here, use one of the books that set the total at 4.5 strikeouts. I’m looking for more upside with this bet, though.
Bet 1 unit on Wade Miley over 5.5 strikeouts (+130) to win 1.3 units on DraftKings Sportsbook
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