Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:58 AM

Monday's Best Bet

Monday MLB Betting Preview
Milwaukee Brewers vs Cincinnati Reds

It's a very light Monday board in MLB today, as teams get ready for the All-Star break. There is just six games on tap in total, with one going on in the afternoon north of the border – Happy Canada Day to all the Canadian readers out there – a five-games to go through when most days have 15 games is tough to be enthusiastic about. However there are some good divisional rivalries going on today, as all five games this evening pit division foes against each other, and we all know what kind of extra excitement those games are capable of bringing.

Two of the five games have the rivalries in the NL Central taking center stage with the Cubs in Pittsburgh to take on the Pirates, while Milwaukee is on the road as well to play Cincinnati. Given how tight that whole division is, these games take on that extra bit of importance for all sides, especially today for the Cubs and Brewers who sit tied atop the division. It's the Brewers trip to Cincinnati that I'm focused on today though, as it's already the 10th meeting of the year between the two teams.

Odds: Milwaukee (-106) vs Cincinnati (-104); Total set at 10

Through the nine games already played between these two teams this year, it's the Milwaukee Brewers who hold the edge at 6-3 SU. They've played three different series against the Reds so far, and while they split a four-game set in Milwaukee a little over a week ago, the only time they've met in Cincinnati this year saw the Brewers bring out the brooms. That alone has to give Brewers fans belief that they'll be just fine in this four-game set this week, even though things haven't been going all that well for their team of late.

Yet, at the same time, that series in Cincinnati was also played during the first three days of April and the Reds are a better, more comfortable in their own skin team now. Back then, there were so many new faces in that dugout that the results weren't coming early for this team, and the Reds are still trying to climb their way back to the .500 mark because of it. Cincinnati did manage to take two of three from teh Cubs over the weekend to push their home record to 21-18 SU on the year, and winning at home is where it's got to start for the Reds if they are going to get back above that break even point.

Tonight the Reds send Tyler Mahle to the hill and he's really had a rough go of it all year. His overall numbers aren't horrible – 81 hits allowed in 82.2 IP, 4.35 ERA – but the Reds are just 4-11 SU in his 15 starts this year and not one of those 11 losses have come in the six defeats they've suffered to Milwaukee this season. Mahle has yet to face the Brewers in 2019 – which may be a good or bad thing depending on how you look at it from each side's perspective – but in two starts against them a year ago, Mahle did pitch well. He struck out 12 in a 12-3 home win for the Reds, while also pitching well in being on the wrong end of a 2-0 game earlier in the year in Milwaukee. That's got to be enough to boost the confidence of Reds backers tonight, as after an initial market move Milwaukee's way, the Reds have been getting some support since and are climbing back towards their original opening number.

However, it's that opening move on Milwaukee that I believe will be the correct one this evening, as this Brewers team regained some of their mojo over the weekend in winning three of their last four games. Results like that are always a positive, even though the Brewers offense is still in a major funk. Their two wins over Pittsburgh this weekend were by 3-1 and 2-1 scores, and Milwaukee would definitely prefer to get back to the team that was averaging over 5 runs a game at one point earlier in the year. It's been great for their pitching staff to pull a bit more weight of late, but the bats really need to get going again and facing this Reds team should help that cause.

Milwaukee has scored at least four runs in six of the nine meetings with the Reds this year, and while none of those came against Mahle specifically, it's not like there wasn't plenty of damage done to the Reds bullpen. Mahle is a guy that tends to only get about 5 IP as it is – six of his last 10 starts have been five innings or less – and from there, a battle of bullpens gives a huge edge to Milwaukee no matter where these two teams are playing. The Reds are 2-8 SU in Mahle's last 10 starts against a winning team as it is, and 0-4 SU in his last four starts against a division rival, so by the time this game does become a bullpen battle, chances are it's the Brewers who are already playing from ahead.

Best Bet: Milwaukee ML

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