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Reds 2020 Betting Preview: Oddsmakers juicing up Cincinnati under 32.5 wins

July 20, 2020 01:10 AM

The 21st century hasn't been kind to the Cincinnati Reds. Aside from a brief stretch of success from 2010 to 2013 in which Cincinnati made the playoffs three out of four years, the past two decades have been a total nightmare. Since 2000, the Red Legs have only had four winning seasons in 20 years. It's a far cry from the glory days of The Big Red Machine, who made four World Series in the 1970s and won two of them. Cincinnati went 75-87 (.463) last season, their 6th straight losing season. The Reds finished in 4th place in the NL Central, 16 games behind the first place Cardinals and 14 games back in the Wild Card. 

In an attempt to reverse their fortunes and finally put a winning product on the field, the Reds were one of the most active teams this offseason. Cincinnati shelled out big money in free agency, signing outfielder Nick Castellanos and infielder Mike Moustakas to 4-year, $64 million deals. The Reds also signed Japanese outfielder Shogo Akiyama to a 3-year, $21 million deal and lefty starter Wade Miley to a 2-year, $15 million deal. The Reds suffered few defections, most notably infielders Jose Peraza and Jose Iglesias and southpaw Alex Wood.

With the additions of Castellanos (.289, 27 homers, 73 RBIs in 2019) and Moustakas (.254, 35 homers, 87 RBIs), Cincinnati now boasts one of the most powerful lineups in all of baseball. The straw that stirs the offensive drink is third baseman Eugenio Suarez (.271, 49 homers, 103 RBIs). Cincy is also banking on a bounce back season from veteran first baseman Joey Votto (.261, 15 homers, 47 RBIs).

Here is the Reds projected starting lineup:

1. Shogo Akiyama OF

2. Joey Votto 1B

3. Eugenio Suarez 3B

4. Mike Moustakas 2B

5. Nick Castellanos OF

6. Jesse Winker OF

7. Feddy Galvis SS

8. Nick Senzel DH

9. Tucker Barnhart C

Cincinnati enjoys one of the best 1-2-3 punches of any starting rotation in baseball. The ace is Sonny Gray (11-8, 2.87 ERA), followed by Luis Castillo (15-8, 3.40 ERA) and Trevor Bauer (11-13, 4.48 ERA). 

Here is the projected starting five:

1. Sonny Gray

2. Luis Castillo

3. Trevor Bauer

4. Wade Miley

5. Anthony DeSclafani

In the bullpen, Cincinnati will lean on closer Raisel Iglesias (4.16 ERA, 34 saves) and setup men Michael Lorenzen, Amir Garrett and Pedro Strop. 

So what do the oddsmakers think about the Reds in 2020?

At BetMGM, Cincinnati's win total is 32.5. This translates to 86.7 wins based on a regular 162-game season. Right off the bat, jumping from 75 wins to 87 wins (a 12-game virtual increase) seems like a massive leap, even with all the offseason additions. 

The juice tells a similar story. The over 32.5 is + 100 and the under is -120. Why are oddsmakers forcing bettors to pay such an expensive price to bet the under? Because sharp money has come in on the under and the house has liability on Cincy winning 32 or fewer games in 2020. 

Fangraphs, one of the most trusted sites for advanced baseball analytics, projects the Reds to go 31-29. This equates to a 1.5-game edge to the under 32.5 win total. 

The Reds also offer unique "sell high" contrarian value. Cincinnati is widely regarded as an "offseason winner" among talking heads, pundits and fans alike. As a result, the Reds have likely been overvalued, leading to a "fade the trendy dog" opportunity for brave wiseguys willing to go against the prevailing narrative. 

The Reds aren't expected to snap their playoff drought. Cincinnati is -213 to miss the postseason and + 175 to make the postseason. This translates to a 68.1% implied probability that the Reds miss the playoffs. 

Cincinnati has the 3rd-best odds to win the NL Central at + 275. The Cubs and Cardinals are the co-favorites at + 240. The Brewers are + 300 and the Pirates are a distant + 5000 longshot. 

The Reds are + 1200 to win the National League, tied with the Cubs, Mets, Phillies and Cardinals for the 3rd-best odds overall. Only the Dodgers (+ 160), Braves (+ 550) and Nats (+ 1000) are higher. Cincinnati is + 2500 to win the World Series. 

In terms of player props and futures, Suarez is + 5000 to win NL MVP. Moustakas is + 12500 and Votto is + 15000. 

Suarez is + 2500 to lead MLB in homers. Suarez was 2nd in MLB with 49 homers last year. Only Pete Alonso (53) had more. 

Luis Castillo is + 2000 to win the NL Cy Young, 7th best odds overall. Bauer is + 2500. Gray is + 4000. 

Bauer is + 700 to lead the NL in strikeouts, 3rd best odds overall behind Max Scherzer (+ 280) and Jacob deGrom (+ 500). Castillo is + 1600 and Gray is + 3500. 

Castillo, Gray and Bauer are all + 2500 to lead the NL in wins. 

Bauer's over/under wins is 4.5 (over -120, under -110) and strikeouts 83.5 (over -125, under -105). Castillo's over/under wins is 5.5 (over -105, under -125) and strikeouts 75.5 (-115 both sides). 

Castellanos is + 1600 to lead the NL in batting average. 

Iglesias is + 1100 to lead the NL in saves. 

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