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The Cincinnati Reds (26-29) ride a 5-game winning streak into their 3-game series finale vs. the Boston Red Sox (28-27) Thursday. The Reds are going for the sweep after winning the 1st two games of this series by a combined score of 14-12.
Cincy gives hard-throwing RHP Hunter Greene (1-4, 4.18 ERA) the start Thursday. Boston counters with LHP Chris Sale (5-2, 4.72 ERA).
Greene pitched 6-hitless innings in his last start with an 11/2 K/BB rate in a 9-0 win at the Chicago Cubs Friday. Sale has won four of his last five outings including two straight at the Arizona D-Backs and San Diego Padres.
After battling injuries from 2021-22 and a sluggish start to 2023, Sale is starting to find his groove. Also, Boston has exceeded preseason expectations thus far. That is why the Red Sox are decisive favorites Thursday.
But, the Reds have an edge in both starting and relief pitching. The Red Sox have been struggling at the dish lately. Plus, there is suspect reverse line movement headed toward Cincinnati in the betting market.
Reds At Red Sox Odds (DraftKings Sportsbook)
- First pitch: 7:10 p.m. ET.
- Ballpark: Fenway Park in Boston.
Sale is the more recognizable name but Greene has better stuff. In fact, per FanGraphs, Greene has the 3rd-best Stuff+ in MLB among qualified starters.
Furthermore, according to Statcast, Greene grades in the 98th percentile for fastball velocity, 92nd percentile of K%, and 89th percentile in whiff rate.
Cincy’s bullpen ranks 7th in FIP (“fielding independent pitching”), 3rd in WAR, and 6th in hard-hit rate, per FanGraphs. FIP is more predictive than ERA. Boston’s bullpen ranks 22nd in both FIP and hard-hit rate and 20th in WAR.
Also, over the past two weeks, the Red Sox lineup is 27th in wRC+, 28th in WAR, 25th in wOBA, and 22nd in BB/K rate, according to FanGraphs.
Boston’s moneyline opened at roughly -165. The Red Sox have been lowered to -155 at DraftKings despite more than 70% of the action being on Boston at the time of writing, per VSIN.
It’s suspicious whenever you see the line move in the opposite direction of the betting public. Especially, in this case, since Boston is starting a 6-time All-Star vs. a sub-.500 Reds ball club.
Finally, the Reds have performed well in similar situations this year. They are 10-5 with a +54.5% return on investment as underdogs vs. left-handed starters in 2023 with five straight victories in this spot.
BET: Cincinnati (+135) moneyline at DraftKings, down to +130
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