The upstart Cincinnati Reds (58-49) will look to keep their hold on the National League Central crown when they take on the surging Chicago Cubs (53-52). The Reds will send rookie Andrew Abbott (6-2, 1.90 ERA) to the mound, while the Cubs will counter with Marcus Stroman (10-7, 3.51 ERA). First pitch is set for 8:05 p.m. ET.
The Cubs are -120 moneyline favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook, while the Reds are +100 underdogs. The total is set at 8.
Reds-Cubs picks: Monday, July 31
Out: 2B Jonathan India (left foot plantar fascitis), SP Hunter Greene (right hip pain), RP Casey Legumina (right shoulder pain), SP Nick Lodolo (left tibia stress reaction)
RP Brad Boxberger (right forearm strain)
Andrew Abbott vs. Marcus Stroman
Abbott has been a godsend for a Reds rotation that’s had to deal with the losses of Greene and Lodolo. The 24-year-old has thrown 17 straight shutout innings dating back to his start against the Brewers on July 15, and is coming off a start where he threw six shutout innings against the Brewers on a career-high 113 pitches. Abbott ranks in the 83rd percentile in expected batting average and the 77th percentile in strikeout rate, and has gone at least six innings in all but two of his starts this season.
Stroman opened the season as one a near-lock to be traded due to his expiring contract and the Cubs slow start, but will now likely stay on the North Side for the rest of the season thanks to the Cubs entering the Deadline the Cubs over .500 and within four games of a postseason berth. That said, Stroman’s struggled a bit as of late, as he’s posted a 7.99 ERA in July after having a 2.59 in April and May. He’s coming off his worst start of the season, as he allowed seven runs in 3 1⁄3 innings against the White Sox.
Even with Abbott’s stellar pitching streak, i’m still backing the over. This has hit in all five of the team’s games against each other this season, and, with Stroman knee deep in struggles, there’s no guarantee this is a low-scoring game.
Pick: Over 8
I like the Reds at plus money. Abbott’s been the better pitcher of late, and they’re first in the division for a reason. Even with the Cubs having won 10 of their last 12, I like the Reds to go into Wrigley and pick up a win.