Home run (Safe bet)
Go with the Cincinnati Reds, on at 1.75, to prevail in San Diego against the Padres.
There aren’t a lot of obvious choices in the Monday fixtures, but this game has good separation between the two clubs. While the Reds are the visitors here, which is usually a disadvantage, they actually have been really good when forced to travel. Coming into this week, they had a solid 23-20 record anywhere other than Cincinnati. The Padres have been pretty bad everywhere (they’re currently at the bottom of the National League West) so home field advantage has been limited (19-23 at Petco Park).
The Reds will get a boost from the pitcher’s mound as Mat Latos is starting. The right-hander has frontline pitching ability, but spent much of the start of the season injured. There has been some adjustment getting back to his old self, but overall he has a 1-0 record and a 2.89 ERA. Most important for this game, he’s thrown well in his two away games, having allowed just one run in 13 innings on the road.
Padres’ starter Jess Hahn has been quite good in his four Major League starts this year (3-1 with a 2.38 ERA). But the bet here is that the Reds offence (which is just a tick below league average in run production) will outclass the Padres’ hitters who are dead last in the National League in runs per game.
Squeeze play (Gutsiest call)
Pick the Chicago Cubs (2.35) to win on the road versus the Boston Red Sox.
Cubs’ starter Jake Arrieta’s overwhelming success in June is just too hard to overlook in this game. The right-hander has won three straight starts and, overall this month has yielded just five runs in 31 2/3 innings. What’s most notable is he’s dominated his opponents. He has 38 strikeouts in that span. He’ll face a Boston club that is just a shell of its World Series-winning team last year. Offensively, they rank thirteenth out of fifteen American League teams in run production.
Chicago’s offence isn’t much better than Boston (twelfth out of fifteen National League clubs), but the difference here is the Cubs’ hitters get to face a pitcher completely not on form. Red Sox starter Jake Peavy is 1-6 with a 4.93 ERA. He’s growing more ineffective as the season has progressed. In his past five games, he’s 0-4 with a 5.87 ERA.