Chicago Cubs vs Cincinnati Reds: Preview, Prediction & Odds - Aug. 16, 2021

by Chuck Sommers

Game time: 7:10 p.m. ET
Venue: Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati, OH
Where to watch: Marquee Sports Network, Bally Sports Ohio

Cubs: 52-68 (4th place, NL Central)
Reds: 64-55 (2nd place, NL Central)

Recent form
Cubs: Lost 11 straight
Reds: Lost four of seven

Projected lineup

Rafael Ortega (L) CF
Frank Schwindel (R) 1B
Ian Happ (S) LF
Matt Duffy (R) 3B
David Bote (R) 2B
Jason Heyward (L) RF
Robinson Chirinos (R) C
Andrew Romine (S) SS
Justin Steele (L) P

Jonathan India (R) 2B
Jesse Winker (L) LF
Nick Castellanos (R) RF
Joey Votto (L) 1B
Mike Moustakas (L) 3B
Tyler Naquin (L) CF
Kyle Farmer (R) SS
Tucker Barnhart (L) C
Wade Miley (L) P

Odds at USA Sportsbooks

DraftKings: Reds -200, Cubs +170; Over 9 +100, Under 9 -120
BetMGM: Reds -225, Cubs +180
PointsBet: Reds -245, Cubs +195

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Cubs - Reds preview

The Chicago Cubs will look to win a game when they face the Cincinnati Reds in the first game of a three-game road trip that begins at Great American Ball Park on Monday.

Yes, that’s the task of the Cubs. Just win, baby. RIP to Al Davis, who would be screaming from the rooftops if he cared so much about the Cubs.

For the second time this season, the Cubs stared deep into the abyss of a double-digit losing streak. From June 25 - July 6, the North Side group lost 11 in a row, which began this lengthy conversation of a rebuild. They reached that mark for the second time this season with a 4-1 loss to the Miami Marlins on Sunday.

Turns out moving on from Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez did not help matters. Not only have the Cubs been losing; they’ve been getting blasted. Teams have outscored the Cubs 82-37. That’s 82 with an eight and a two, and we promise that’s not a typo. 

The Milwaukee Brewers, who hold the top spot in the National League Central, feasted on the Cubs pitchers by outscoring them 27-4 in two games at Wrigley Field. If you close your eyes, you’ll see the Brewers just hit more home runs.

“When you get to this level, you’ve played baseball long enough, you understand that you’re going to have some days that just aren’t fun or pleasant,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “You’ve got to understand that those days are going to come. I think my main concern is just move on to the next pitch, don’t show frustration.”

The Cubs will look to 26-year-old Justin Steele to provide some sort of hope. The left-hander is 2-1 with a 2.95 ERA; he’s a reliever-turned-starter who made his first start Aug. 10 against Milwaukee, giving up three runs in 5 innings of work.

The Reds have cooled off as of late since that three-game set against the Atlanta Braves, but this is a good opportunity to right those wrongs. Cincinnati is 2.5 games back out of the wild card spot occupied by the San Diego Padres. They just got no-hit by a guy making his first career start, if you haven’t heard.

Cincinnati enters Sunday with a rubber match against the Philadelphia Phillies; the teams exchanged 6-1 results in the first two games. Whether they win or lose that game, the Reds find themselves in a good spot to really make a charge for that playoff spot. The Reds came off losing two of three to the Atlanta Braves, but won 12-3 on Thursday.

But the Reds did win the series against Philadelphia, winning 7-4 on Sunday.

“When you’re facing a competitive team like the Phillies are, who are still in the hunt as we are, you have all this emotion going on in your brain and the adrenaline is pumping,” starting pitcher Luis Castillo said, who went 6.2 IP with eight strikeouts in the loss on Saturday. “You know you have to work even harder so you can put out the best of your abilities. Right there was just pure adrenaline to get up that high.”

The Reds are 15-13 since the All-Star break, but they’ve been a streaky team. Four wins here, three losses here. This is a good chance for the Reds to build some consistency. 

Betting trends

When you’re unable to do anything in your own division, it may be beyond repair. The Cubs are 4-17 in their last 21 games against NL Central teams. It’s already bad if batters can’t produce at the plate when RBIs and homers are down. Add in abysmal division play, and the Cubs wish this was over.

The over has cashed in six of the last seven Reds home games. The over is also 4-0-1 in the last five Cubs games.


Pick the Cubs at your own risk. There’s really no incentive to do that unless you have money to burn. Reds win, over cashes.

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Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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