Chicago Cubs vs Cincinnati Reds - Predictions, Odds & Picks (July 29)

  • Kyle Hendricks makes first appearance since complete game shutout in season opener
  • Sonny Gray looks to extend record streak
  • Reds pitching hopes to bounce back

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Reds vs Cubs Odds

Betting odds provided by BetMGM

Team Run Spread Total Money Line
Chicago Cubs -1.5 +145 O 9.5 -110 EVEN
Cincinnati Reds +1.5 -121 U 9.5 -110 -112

Reds vs Cubs Predictions and Picks

Both games in the series have hit the over but with Sonny Gray and Kyle Hendricks on the mound who gave up a combined one run in 15 innings in their opening day starts, 9.5 feels awfully high.

Seems like Vegas is daring us to take the under but when it’s too obvious, it’s usually because something is up. Call me a sucker, but I still like it.

Additionally, Cincinnati should be desperate after losing four straight early in this short season. Hard to have a must-win game one week into the season, but it’s feeling close to that time for Cincinnati.

Take the under and Reds in what should be a pitcher’s duel.

(Betting record in 2020 through 7/28: 4-3)

How to Watch Cubs vs Reds

Cubs vs Reds Game Information
Where Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati, OH
When Wednesday, July 29, 2020, 6:40 PM EST
How to Watch Marquee Sports Network, FSOH, FS-O

Sonny Gray Looks to Keep Making History, Dominating Cubs

The Reds pitching staff was dominant in its opening series against the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers are one of the lowly teams in baseball, but still, throw out three straight 2019 All-Stars in Sonny Gray, Luis Castillo, and Trevor Bauer and you’ll beat up on most teams.

That’s what Cincinnati did with its starting pitching (and somehow still managed to lose two of three) and it was Gray who set the tone. Gray went six innings giving up just three hits and one earned run while striking out nine.

Gray, somewhat quietly, is having the best stretch of his career. He’s currently gone 34 consecutive starts without allowing more than six hits, a major league record. He’s also had sustained success against the Cubs throughout his career, going 3-1 with a 2.70 ERA in five starts.

However, he will have a tough task against a red-hot Chicago team. The Cubs have scored 25 total runs in their past three games, averaging more than 10 hits per game during that stretch.

Can Hendricks Repeat?

Kyle Hendricks is coming off the best performance of his career: a complete-game three-hitter while striking out nine batters. He’s not over-powering – his fastball tops out around 91 mph – but he’s crafty and efficient. He induces weak contact and doesn’t rely on strikeouts to get outs, but he can rack them up as we saw in his last start.

We’ve seen him have stretches of dominance – in his first three starts of May last year he went eight or more innings in each and gave up one total run – so it’s not out of the question that he could have a similar performance.

Cubs Hitting: More Timely Than Consistent

Averaging better than six runs per game almost a week into the season, one might believe the Cubs have been doing nothing but hitting. Look a little deeper at the numbers, and it’s mostly been timely and extra-base hits.

The Cubs are in the top four in the majors with 10 home runs (1st), a .845 OPS (2nd) and runs per game (6.2) but despite ranking eighth in overall average (.250).

Reds Short-Handed Lineup

Cincinnati is already down two of its starters as of Tuesday, with both Mike Moustakas and Nick Senzel missing yesterday’s contest due to illness.

According to teammate Nick Castellanos, both have tested negative for Covid-19, but their absence from the lineup makes what is an extremely dangerous lineup a bit more manageable.

Add to it that Eugenio Suarez – who hit 49 home runs last year – has started the season an ice-cold 1-of-17 and this lineup is really relying on Joey Votto and Nick Castellanos to do all the heavy lifting right now.

They have almost identical slash lines. Votto: .333/.417/.619 and Castellanos: .333/.429/.611 but Votto has one strikeout in 21 AB while Castellanos has seven punchouts in 18 AB.

Bullpen Battle

Hard to tell which bullpen is worse right now between these two sides. The Reds had led through six innings in each game against the Tigers last week only to surrender two runs in the ninth in each of the final two games of the series to drop two of three.

The Cubs meanwhile had to hold on for dear life in an 8-7 win on Sunday after watching an 8-1 lead in the seventh inning evaporate. Each team has live arms in the pen, but consistency hasn’t been there at all to start the season. The main reason we think the under is the bet here is because the starters are each capable of going seven innings.

If the bullpens come in early, we’re in trouble.

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Tony Garcia

Expert on Baseball

Tony writes about baseball for WSN.com after recently graduating with his Masters from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Prior to that, Tony was a local sports reporter for MLive Media Group, based out of Jackson, Michigan where he covered everything from high school to professional sports. He graduated from Michigan State in 2015 with a degree in journalism. During his time there he covered the Michigan State football and men’s basketball teams from 2013-15 and hosted a sports radio show on WDBM 89FM.