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The Chicago Cubs are off to a rough start this MLB season, dropping three of their first four games. That includes a loss to the Cincinnati Reds to open their three-game series on Monday night. Here, though, we like the Cubs to bounce back nicely with a win over the Reds at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.
Chicago’s 1-3 start is not as bad as it looks on paper. While they did drop the first game of this series to the Reds, their first series of the season consisted of them dropping two out of three against a Milwaukee Brewers team that could end up winning the NL Central this year. Cincinnati, by comparison, had a much easier opening series against the Pittsburgh Pirates and took two out of three.
It is also worth noting going into this game that the Cubs have an advantage when it comes to starting pitching on Tuesday night. Hayden Wesneski will get the start for the Cubs, making his first appearance of the season after a promising 2022 campaign. In limited action, Wesneski went 3-2 with a 2.18 ERA, and had a sub-1.00 WHIP in his six games. Here, he takes on Luis Cessa of the Reds, who posted a 4.57 ERA in 2022.
Chicago has also been hitting well despite their poor record, posting five or more runs in back-to-back games despite losing both. Dansby Swanson is on fire, batting .588 to start the year, and getting on base over 60% of the time in the early going. We like the Cubs to continue their hot hitting, and for their pitching to step up and deliver to get them their second win of the 2023 season.
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What do you get when you put a starting pitcher in his first career start in a hostile environment? Our expectation is runs, and plenty of them, in what should be a very exciting contest between the Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals. These National League title contenders both have plenty of offensive weapons, but we think the Cardinals will be the ones pacing this game to a double-digit run total.
The reason for that is the fact that the Braves are sending Dylan Dodd to the mound for his first start in the majors. Dodd was called up from AAA ball after a nice spring, but this will be his first game action at this level of competition. The fact that it comes against a Cardinals team that boasts the reigning National League MVP on its roster, along with several other big bats, may not bode well for the rookie.
Of course, Atlanta has plenty of firepower of its own at the plate, as they have scored seven or more runs in three of their first four games of the season. That includes their 8-4 victory over the Braves on Monday night, which included a five-run inning that was highlighted by a Ronald Acuña Jr. home run.
On the St. Louis side, high-scoring games have also been commonplace in the early stages of the young 2023 season. They have seen three of their four games feature 10 or more combined runs scored. Some of that has to do with the fact that they have played two elite offensive clubs in the Braves and Blue Jays, but we like them to do their part to push this game over against an inexperienced opposing starter.
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The Detroit Tigers shocked the Houston Astros in their first meeting of the season on Monday, with the Tigers winning a 7-6 extra-inning affair. On Tuesday night, we like the Astros to bounce back in a big way, as we will lay the run line with the hosts in this contest. A big reason for that comes on the mound, as Astros ace Framber Valdez will make his second start of the 2023 season at home.
Valdez was impressive in his first start of the year, throwing five innings of shutout ball in a no-decision. Here, he faces a Tigers lineup that is batting just .169 as a team so far, even after scoring seven runs in a win on Monday. This could be a great opportunity for Valdez to bolster his Cy Young candidacy early in the season, by shutting down a typically anemic Detroit offense.
In this contest, look for Yordan Alvarez to continue to make massive contributions for the Astros offensively. Alvarez has 9 RBI through the Astros’ first five games, driving in 39% of their 23 runs scored thus far. He and the rest of the Astros lineup will take on Tigers starter Matt Manning in this contest, who has a career ERA of 4.79 heading into his third season as a professional.
For those who wish to get adventurous when betting on this game, it may be worth looking at an alternate run line when betting on the Astros. Bettors may be able to get a plus price if they lay two runs with Houston, which may be a prudent move from a value perspective in what could be the biggest mismatch of the night on the diamond.
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I am a huge sports fan; locally, many know me as the guy who does the PA for our high school football team on Friday nights. Having grown up in Michigan, I am a sports fan of all the Detroit teams, and at the college level, I love Michigan State sports.More info on Caleb Tallman
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