Reds vs. Rockies Expert MLB Analysis and Pick

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Charlie Blackmon of the Colorado Rockies. Photo by Justin Edmonds / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

It’s always easy to think about high-scoring action on the sports betting front when a game is being played at Coors Field, and the pitching matchup in Thursday’s series opener between the Cincinnati Reds and Colorado Rockies only fuels that fire.

Cincinnati Reds vs. Colorado Rockies

Thursday, May 13, 2021 – 08:40 PM EDT at Coors Field

Cincinnati arrives for a long weekend set sitting smackdab in the middle of the NL Central race with a dead-level 17-17 record. It’s the last stop on a 3-city tour for the Reds, who began the trip splitting a pair in Cleveland before taking two of three in Pittsburgh. Colorado is dead last in the NL West, and it’s beginning to look like a long summer in Denver. The Rockies are bringing up the rear in the entire National League, mostly due to a 2-14 road record.

We can’t blame hitters in either lineup if they’re licking their chops in anticipation of getting into the batter’s box tonight. The initial duel on the bump pits Luis Castillo (1-4, 6.42) of Cincinnati against Colorado’s Chi Chi Gonzalez (1-1, 5.97), and DraftKings has the Reds installed as -143 chalk with an 11-run total that leans to the ‘under’ despite the two pitchers’ records.

Reds Lead NL in Scoring

It’s no mystery why Cincinnati has seen 22 of its first 34 games go ‘over’ the totals. The Reds top the National League scoring 5.24 runs per game and also sit next-to-last in ERA (4.63). Helping on the offensive side are Jesse Winker, who leads the NL with a .375 batting average, and Nick Castellanos, who is tied for sixth in the majors with 9 HR.

Helping to inflate that ERA is Castillo, who has just one quality start among his seven trips to the mound. Opponents are hitting .324 against the 28-year-old Dominican, who has dropped his last three assignments, and slugging a cool .511 along the way. Five of his seven starts have gone ‘over’ the totals at online betting sites, another pushing the target.

Castillo has faced Colorado just twice before, and neither result went into the win column for the Reds. The Rockies bombed him in Cincinnati in 2019, and also beat him at in Denver during his 2017 rookie season. All told, Castillo is 0-2 with an 8.43 ERA when taking on Colorado.

Rocks Blanked Five Times Already This Season

Colorado split a doubleheader with the San Diego Padres on Wednesday, the win in Game 2 of the twinbill halting a 5-game skid. The Rockies are averaging a respectable 4.49 RPG, sixth in the NL, but scored a total of 14 runs in their last two series, eight of those runs in one loss at St. Louis. And, oh yeah, there’s that 5.09 ERA, the only staff behind Cincinnati in the NL.

Coming off a couple of ugly road outings, Gonzalez climbs the bump for a sixth time as a starting pitcher after beginning the season working out of the bullpen as a long reliever. Last Saturday in St. Louis, where the Cardinals were nearly -200 chalk on the betting odds, Gonzalez was charged with the loss having surrendered seven runs in 4+ innings.

Gonzalez can’t blame the thin air in Denver for his bloated ERA; the Floridian owns a 3.60 mark in his 10 innings at Coors Field, and a 7.23 ERA in 18+ frames on the road. This will be just his second career start against the Reds, the other coming in 2019 at Great American Ball Park where Gonzalez took the loss with a 5.2-IP, 3-ER linescore.

Series Trends, Mile High Forecast and a Free Pick

Cincinnati and Colorado have enjoyed a tight rivalry over the years, the Rockies owning a slight 106-101 lead overall and each side winning at about a .600 clip on their home diamonds. That home-field advantage showed up in their most recent clashes in July 2019, the Reds winning two of three in Cincinnati and the Rockies taking two of three in Denver.

Two of the three at Coors Field in 2019 made it rather easily ‘over’ totals that ran 13½-14. Prior to those two ‘over’ winners, the ‘under’ had cashed in 8-straight Denver matchups. Cincinnati is 22-11-1 O/U/P this season while Colorado stands 18-18-1.

Partly cloudy skies are in the mix for Thursday evening in Denver where the thermometer should be sitting on 70° at first pitch when the game gets underway at 6:40 local time. A light NE breeze (in from right) should begin to shift more from the west (left to right) during the game. Even if that wind was stronger and blowing in the entire game, I would still love the ‘over’ for my MLB pick in this one.

Free MLB Pick: Over 11 (-115) at GTbets

Over 11 (-115)
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