12:35 p.m. ET: Los Angeles Dodgers at Cincinnati Reds: OVER 10 (-110) at BetMGM, Reds Moneyline (+190) at WynnBet
This week's series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Cincinnati Reds has been chaotic through two games, with the host Reds taking both in walk-off fashion. Tuesday's and Wednesday's games combined for 31 runs, and I'm expecting another explosive day of offense in Thursday's matinee.
Let's start with the obvious. The Dodgers offense should have a field day with Reds starter Graham Ashcraft (3-4, 6.64). Ashcraft posted a 9.21 ERA in May and promptly allowed 10 earned runs in his first June start. He's a mess, and likely won't be in the game for long against MLB's fourth-best offense against righties this season by wRC+.
That doesn't mean the Dodgers will win, though. Each of the last two nights, Los Angeles scored plenty but fell short (9-8, 8-6). Like each of the last two games, I'm expecting a high-scoring battle of the bullpens to emerge, and Cincinnati's relief corps are in better form at the moment. The Reds' bullpen has put up slightly better numbers than that of Los Angeles since May 1, and I cannot imagine the Dodgers turning to Evan Phillips or Brusdar Graterol, each of whom pitched each of the last two nights.
The less obvious factor that works in our favor here involves the surging Reds' offense, a unit playing inspired baseball and feeling the jolt of MLB's best prospect joining their ranks and looking like an All-Star. Cincinnati is brutalizing left-handed pitching (126 wRC+ since May 1, sixth-best in baseball), and Clayton Kershaw hasn't looked like himself away from Dodger Stadium in 2023. Kershaw has posted an ERA of just 4.50 in road games and has allowed four or more earned runs in three of his last four starts away from Chavez Ravine.
I think both offenses will stay hot in platoon splits that make them very comfortable, and Great American Ball Park should provide beautiful hitting conditions Thursday afternoon. In a game that will be tightly contested late, take the more rested and more effective bullpen at almost 2-to-1 odds.
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Dalton Brown writes MLB sports betting content for Betting Predators. Follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonOnSports.
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