Cincinnati Reds’ Long Odds to Make World Series a Great Bet
The top three teams in run differential in the National League are, not surprisingly, the three division leaders: Los Angeles at a stupefying plus-133, Chicago at a very strong plus-59, and Atlanta at plus-49, which is one run better than the Cincinnati Reds.
Yes, those Cincinnati Reds. The ones who won on Opening Day and then promptly lost their next eight. They’ve trailed by as many as 8.5 in the National League Central, but nearing the halfway point of the season have clawed back to within 5.5 of the front-running Cubs entering Monday’s games.
Reds Better Pennant Bet Than Expected
There’s still a long way to go for the Reds to be considered contenders, but as MLB betting longshots go, their +4000 odds at top bookmakers to win the National League pennant look a lot better than some of the teams ahead of them.
The Mets, at +2800 in baseball futures betting to win the pennant, are tied with the Reds at 3.5 games back in the wild card race, but trail in the East by nine. Every team in the West trails the Dodgers by double digits, yet the Rockies (+2200), Diamondbacks (+2200) and Padres (+2500) all have much better odds for the pennant than Cincinnati.
Considering how much more difficult the path is for a wild-card team than a division winner – play a winner-take-all game, then face juggernaut Los Angeles in a best-of-five series with a starting rotation disadvantage after the wild-card contest – it’s bonkers to back a non-Dodgers team out of the West.
As difficult as it will be for the Reds to win the Central, they have held their own against a difficult schedule. The Reds are a decent 20-25 in games against teams at or above .500, setting themselves up to make some noise in the second half.
The Reds’ most arduous travel after this week’s jaunt to Anaheim is a September trip to Seattle, Arizona, and Chicago – the first two-thirds of that trip against teams that will be playing out the string, the end maybe a series of great consequence.
Pitching Staff Makes Cincinnati Reds Dangerous
Every starter in the Reds rotation racks up lots of strikeouts, led by blossoming ace Luis Castillo, while Raisel Iglesias anchors a better-than-expected bullpen.
Cincinnati has not scored enough, and a problem has been below league-average contributions from Joey Votto (.251/.347/.388) and Yasiel Puig (.235/.279/.455). Both have started to come around, posting respective OPS figures of .880 and .995 in June.
And wouldn’t it be something if Puig came back to cost the Dodgers a third straight pennant? The odds are against the Reds for a reason, but there’s a lot there to like for a team at +4000 MLB odds in June.