Eli’s MLB Betting Picks: Time To Wager On Cincinnati Reds’ NL Central Odds?

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Written By Eli Hershkovich | Last Updated
Reds Odds

With college basketball season wrapped up, I have spent the last week combing through the latest MLB odds. The NL Central first caught my attention, especially with the Milwaukee Brewers outperforming the market’s preseason expectations, including their weekend sweep against the AARP-filled St. Louis Cardinals. However, I believe the Cincinnati Reds’ division odds are worth considering. Let’s examine why.

Click anywhere below to wager on MLB futures odds. These prices are the best available in your state.

NL central betting odds

Above, you’ll find the best Reds odds to win the division are . Since I couldn’t put much down there, I settled for +450 at BetMGM Sportsbook, the next-most appealing price at sports betting sites. This number is higher than when the season began (+350), yet they are only 2.5 games out of first place. You can find the best sportsbook promos with this link, too.

Reds Odds: Valuing Starting Pitching

Cincinnati’s offense often garners considerable praise among the league’s most prestigious young cores. The budding Elly De La Cruz and NL MVP odds contender Mookie Betts are the only players across MLB with 20+ runs scored, 15+ RBI, and five or more stolen bases.

But offense isn’t usually at the forefront of my handicapping for MLB futures. FIP and other advanced pitching metrics help guide my bets on a single-game basis, concerning starting pitching and the like. The same notion applies to the long haul. Granted, that doesn’t insinuate that bettors should ignore a team’s offensive ceiling.

Nevertheless, the most critical aspect is deciphering whether a team’s arms are viable and durable enough to contend for a division title.

Buy Into Cincinnati’s Upside

The Brewers, which lead the NL Central as of this publishing, showcase NL Cy Young odds nominee Freddy Peralta as their ace. But after trading Corbin Burnes to the Orioles and placing Brandon Woodruff on the shelf until 2025, the rest of their rotation is quite frail with Collin Rea, DL Hall (IL), Joe Ross, and Wade Miley. Despite the team’s above-average 3.90 ERA, it ranks in the 37th percentile or worse in xERA, FIP, and SIERA.

The Cubs own the shortest NL Central odds and are ahead of the pack in each category. Still, their success doesn’t seem very sustainable with Justin Steele on IL and a bevy of lower-ceiling commodities (outside of Shota Imanaga) behind him.

Conversely, the Reds have generated a top-11 standing in the latter two categories. Hunter Greene, whose gaudy 133 Stuff+ is combated by his inconsistent command, is arguably the most intriguing of the bunch. Nick Lodolo, who boasts the fourth-lowest FIP among qualified MLB starting pitchers, and fellow southpaw Andrew Abbott follow suit.

Graham Ashcraft, among Cincinnati’s more highly touted prospects during the rebuild, hasn’t impressed so far. But Ashcraft’s peripherals, including a 3.55 xERA, exhibit some potential positive regression in the future. Assuming veteran Frankie Montas (forearm bruise) isn’t out too long, the Reds have the most attractive rotation in the NL Central.

More Nuggets For Reds Odds

Unlike Cincinnati’s rotation, the bullpen hasn’t shown much to write home about. Their arms have combined for a 3.96 SIERA, 4.13 FIP, and 4.55 xERA, all below the league average. While Reds closer Alexis Diaz has rebounded from his blown save in his first outing of the season, his command has been spotty over the course of his appearances. Yet, the recent addition of Nick Martinez, with the now-healthy Lodolo reassuming his spot in the rotation, should provide a steadier presence moving forward.

As for their aforementioned lineup, their 22nd-ranked wRC+ makes for an alarming start. But some of that correlates with an unlucky .281 batting average on balls in play (BABIP), particularly since their soft contact rate isn’t worrisome.

Their offense will also feature steadier presences as the campaign moves along. Outfielder TJ Friedl (wrist) will presumably return in mid-May, and shortstop Matt McLain (shoulder) could work his way back on the Reds’ roster in mid-August. McClain, De La Cruz, and Spencer Steer, whose red-hot bat carried Cincinnati during the first couple of weeks, could evolve into one of MLB’s most dangerous trios.

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