Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Cincinnati Reds
Friday, September 17, 2021 – 7:10 PM EDT at Great American Ball Park
It’s been a while since Cincinnati Reds fans had this much to cheer about. Aside from a brief run in the early Aughts, this is a franchise that has yet to climb out of the hole Marge Schott threw them in – but they’re this close to sneaking into the National League playoffs for the second year in a row. Too bad the Reds (75-71, minus-1.82 betting units) are sending their ace starter to the hill for Friday’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Luis
Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Luis Give Luis Castillo his due. He was an All-Star for Cincinnati in 2019, and pitched even better in 2020; alas, Castillo (3.84 FIP) has taken a step back this year. Not a giant step, but enough to make him the least profitable pitcher on the MLB money charts as we go to press. The Reds are just 10-20 this year behind Castillo, leaving them 12.10 betting units in the... red. Great sentence, hit return.
Of course, it’s not entirely Castillo’s fault that the Reds keep losing when he pitches. The bullpen in Cincinnati is one of the worst in baseball, ranking No. 25 overall with plus-1.1 WAR (Wins Above Replacement) at FanGraphs. Castillo already has 3.1 WAR all by himself. But the Dominican righty would have had a Wade Mileyesque 6.0 WAR by now if he were pitching as well as he did last year in 12 starts. Not that Cincinnati wouldn’t have blown it anyway; they went 5-7 in those dozen games for a loss of 3.81 units.
We could also blame a lot of this misery on dumb luck. But the Elo-based model at FiveThirtyEight (created by Jay Boice and Nate Silver) has the Dodgers winning this game 62-percent of the time, for a fair money line of –163 using the indefatigable BMR Odds Converter, while GTbets have the Dodgers at –156 on their MLB odds board. The numbers don’t lie.
Walker Buehler Still Can’t Lose
Did we mention Walker Buehler is pitching for Los Angeles (94-53, minus-2.87 units)? It’s not easy to make a profit on this chalk-ridden team, but Buehler (3.23 FIP) has the Dodgers up 1.21 units in his 29 starts on a team record of 20-9. The most recent loss was September 5 against the first-place San Francisco Giants; before that, it was August 3 versus the NL West-leading Houston Astros.
The Reds are neither of those teams. Hey, at least FiveThirtyEight says they have a 38-percent chance of winning this game, and a 33-percent chance of making the playoffs. But Cincinnati’s projections for winning anything beyond that fall below one percent, so we can’t recommend them as +6000 outsiders on Bovada's (visit our Bovada Review) World Series odds board – and we can’t recommend them for Friday’s game, either.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.