MLB Predictions: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Cincinnati Reds Picks
MLB Odds, Picks & Predictions
Sundays are the best during MLB season. Teams looking to close out a series or get at least a win before they start a new one on Monday always seems to kick the drama up a bit. Today is the first one of the 2021 MLB season and we’ve got a few games on the schedule that are sure to be interesting. Let’s take a look at how I’m playing Sunday.
Not only has this series already produced some great games, but it also produced the first bench-clearing scrum of the season just two days after Opening Day. I’m sure we won’t see any shoving this time around, but the tension will definitely still be there.
The series is split so far with the Cardinals taking the opener and the Reds winning yesterday, but I like the Reds to come out on top on Sunday and take the series. A lineup like St. Louis’ that features Nolan Arenado, Paul Goldschmidt and Paul DeJong is always dangerous, but I don’t like Carlos Martinez on the mound today, so I’m fading him.
Martinez has faced the hitter in this lineup for 98 ABs. He’s given up 17 RBI, walked as many batters as he’s struck out and allowed a .426 OBP. The Red have guys throughout the lineup that can hit and the only one that has any type of struggle in his career against Martinez is Joey Votto. Jesse Winker comes in hitting 6-for-10 with two XBH against Martinez and I think we’re going to see the STL starter struggle on Sunday.
The Pick: Reds ML @ +102
This star-studded Atlanta lineup in general has had no answer for Phillies pitching. Aaron Nola started Opening Day and allowed just two runs, both of which came on a Pablo Sandoval home run. Then Zack Wheeler started Game 2 and completely shut down the Braves, throwing 7 innings of one-hit ball while striking out 10.
Zach Eflin is nowhere near the caliber of pitcher that Nola or Wheeler are, but I do think we’re seeing some rust in Atlanta that we can take advantage of. Add that to the fact that I really like Ian Anderson and think he’s going to pitch well today and I’m going with the under here.
Eflin has faced this lineup a bunch and has been able to keep them in check, for the most part. Ronald Acuna Jr. has given him some trouble, htting .333 against him in his career, but Freddie Freeman, Marcell Ozuna and Travis d’Arnoud are all hitting under .200 against the Phillies starter.
As for Anderson, he’s never pitched against any hitters in this Phillies lineup, but we saw what he’s capable of in last year’s playoffs.
The total here is 8.5 and there have only been 9 runs scored in the entire series so far. I’m backing the under.
The Pick: Under 8.5 @ -105
It wouldn’t be right if we didn’t have a pick for the first Sunday Night Baseball game of the season. This pick is really this simple, I’m backing Shohei Ohtani and fading Dylan Cease.
For the first time in his MLB career, Ohtani is scheduled to pitch and hit in the same game. He’s only made 12 career starts and had varying success on the mound, but I think a lot of that had to do with circumstance. He’s now a full 2 years past his Tommy John surgery and I personally can’t wait to see him up there hitting triple digits again.
As for Cease, he had varying degrees of success last year. He doesn’t miss a ton of bats, he has a high WHIP and I think this Angels lineup is going to eat him up in primetime.
The Pick: Angels ML @ -124
MLB Expert Picks
Reds ML @ +102 (Click to bet)
Phillies/Braves Under 8.5 @ -105 (Click to bet)
Angels ML @ -124 (Click to bet)
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Brian is a sports journalist with close to ten years of experience in the business. A lifelong Philadelphia sports fan with a passion for all things sports gambling.