The Cincinnati Reds were a popular team among the betting public heading into this abbreviated Major League Baseball season, but as of Monday the Reds were just 9-11 and not living up to some of the value that many people saw in them just weeks ago. A developing COVID-19 scare is also bad news.
The team is 4.5 games behind the first place Chicago Cubs, and while there’s still plenty of time left to go, gamblers who got the team at 25/1 to win the World Series before the season aren’t loving the current situation. At FanDuel and DraftKings, two of Indiana’s leading online/mobile sportsbooks, the team is currently +2700 and +3300 to win it all, respectively.
An expanded postseason format means the team still has a good shot at making the playoffs.
US Bets reported in late July that DraftKings had seen 58% of its futures handle to win the NL Central on the Reds. Safe to assume some bettors would want to take those bets back, but again, the season is only about a third of the way over (exactly a third for the Reds) and, for Indiana books, there are plenty of baseball fans in the tri-state area who have not lost faith in the Big Red Machine just yet.
FanDuel said on Aug. 7 that the Reds were its most popular team in terms of the bet count (not the handle) to win the National League (+1300). The Los Angeles Dodgers are +185 to do so at the sportsbook.
During the month of July, which featured only a partial month of MLB games, Indiana sportsbooks handled $14,520,960 in baseball bets, according to state figures.
Indiana sportsbooks would love a deep run by the Reds, even if that means a larger futures liability.
What’s the deal with the Reds?
The team’s offense hasn’t been great. The current league average is 96 runs scored, according to Baseball Reference, and the Reds have scored 91 so far. The team is batting .220, better than only three other teams. The team is also below average in fielding percentage so far in 2020.
Pitching was the team’s strength going into the season, and it has been that way through mid-August. The Reds pitching staff has a 4.27 ERA, better than the league average of 4.42. But the team had a 4.18 ERA in 2019, so Reds fans can’t be thrilled with the performance on the mound.
The bullpen is where the major hiccups have been.
The team has just two saves. Only the last place Pittsburgh Pirates have fewer. The Reds squad was near the top of MLB with 46 saves last season. Poking fun at the team’s relief pitching has been the theme of the season so far on social media.
— Joey Votto Still Bangs (@EvilJoeyVotto) August 10, 2020
— Cincinnati 💔 (@CincyProblems) August 12, 2020
The team did make a roster move recently to try to shore up the bullpen.
Another arm to try to help the bullpen is great. Thor burg has had success in the MLB before (with the same pitching coach, DJ) https://t.co/8Xvuk9xQWa
— Claiborne Snowden (@clay_reds) August 14, 2020
The Reds’ season could be in limbo after a player on the team tested positive for the coronavirus on Friday. Monday’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates has been postponed, following the postponements of Saturday and Sunday’s games, according to media reports.
Saturday’s game between the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates is likely to be postponed after a Reds player tested positive for COVID-19, sources tell ESPN.
The fallout is unclear — will be for days. But after the Marlins and Cardinals outbreaks, avoiding another is vital.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) August 15, 2020
The Cincinnati Inquirer reported that the entire team underwent increased testing Saturday and Sunday, and if the unidentified player is the team’s only positive test by Monday afternoon, the team is expected to play its two-game series in Kansas City starting on Tuesday.
It’s unclear when the postponed games will be made up. The imbalanced schedules across the league — some teams have played as many as 23 games through Monday morning, others as few as eight — creates even more betting uncertainty.
While over/under win total bets could get voided if the Reds don’t end up playing at least 59 games, don’t bank on any sportsbooks refunding those longshot Reds pennant bets.