MLB Baseball: Cincinnati Reds vs. Milwaukee Brewers Preview, Prediction & Odds -- 8/25/21

by Chuck Sommers

Game time: 8:10 p.m. ET
Venue: American Family Field, Milwaukee, WI
Where to watch: Bally Sports Ohio, Bally Sports Wisconsin

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks


DraftKings: Brewers -180, Reds +155
BetMGM: Brewers -175, Reds +145
FanDuel: Brewers -188, Reds +158

Season record (entering Tuesday)
Reds: 69-57 (2nd place, NL Central)
Brewers: 76-49 (1st place, NL Central)

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Reds - Brewers preview and analysis


Recent form (entering Tuesday)
Reds: 7-3 in last 10, won 4 straight
Brewers: 7-3 in last 10

It’s not going to drastically alter the standings order in the National League Central, but if the Cincinnati Reds have their way, the race to first could begin to heat up significantly.

The Reds and Milwaukee Brewers will play their second game of a crucial three-game series Wednesday in Milwaukee, where the winner of the series could move one step closer to the division title that seemed all to be Milwaukee’s a few weeks ago.

Cincinnati was 49-47 on July 21 but only 6.5 games back of first place. While the Brewers were going on their run, no other team in that division was posing a threat. But while Milwaukee had stretched its lead, the Reds began to go on a run. Entering Tuesday, the Reds are 20-10 and hold a one-game lead on the San Diego Padres for the second wild card in the NL.

But no one wants to play the Los Angeles Dodgers in a one-game playoff and essentially have their season come to an end sooner rather than later. The Reds are coming in smoking hot and trail the Brewers by 7.5 games in the Central.

At the time of publishing, Game 1 is still underway, and the Reds have the lead against Corbin Burnes and the Brew Crew. A sweep may not be in the cards, but a series win (followed with a three-game trip to Miami) could put the Reds in an enviable position.

The Reds put the trust in right-hander Tyler Mahle on the mound for Game 1. Luis Castillo will get the call in Game 2, facing starter Brandon Woodruff.

Milwaukee entered Tuesday with wins in six of its last eight games, including winning two of three over the weekend against the Washington Nationals. The Brewers were getting healthy at the right time with Christian Yelich getting back into the fold, but will now have to trudge through without Eduardo Escobar (hamstring) and pitcher Freddy Peralta (shoulder) for the foreseeable future.

Offensive analysis


Why this matchup is so fun to watch is because of the unexpected offense from both sides. Superstars are going to play; Joey Votto has been stellar this renaissance resurgence, and even Yelich, fresh off the COVID list and IL in general, has done it.

But if you look at the team batting averages, the Brewers are actually fifth worst in the league at a .234 clip, while the Reds are fifth best in the entire major league. The long ball is where Milwaukee makes up for it, tied for 12th with 156 total homers. The Reds, though, are fourth best. Talk about finding your groove at the right time.

Defensive analysis


The Brewers have talent at the plate, but the mound is where they thrived. Between Woodruff, Burnes and Peralta, the Brewers have three guys combine for 24 wins and each have an ERA under 2.50. Surprisingly, their winningest pitcher isn’t even on the rotation. Brent Suter, who has appeared in 49 games and made one start, has 12 (TWELVE) victories.

The Reds are a bottom-half pitching team, but they’ve got quality arms. Wade Miley is having a career year (10-4, 2.88 ERA), but there’s also Mahle having a strong season with 160 strikeouts in 135 IP. Sonny Gray and Vladimir Gutierrez have provided reliable, steady hands in the back end.

Prediction


I’ll probably regret this because the Brewers have become such a favorite this run. The Reds, though, are just on fire. And given the fact the Reds have been one of the few clubs that have given Milwaukee fits, Cincinnati just seems like the right choice in a close one. Reds win 5-4.

Betting trends


Castillo is 4-7 all-time against Milwaukee with an ERA of 3.25 and a WHIP of 1.23.

The Reds are 10-16 (-8.5) in games Castillo starts this season.

The under is 6-1 when Woodruff starts for the Brewers as a favorite of -125 to -175.

Key injuries
Reds: LF Jesse Winker (ribs, 10-day IL)
Brewers: SP Freddy Peralta (shoulder, 10-day), 3B Eduardo Escobar (hamstring)

Players to watch


Reds: You want to know why the Reds are in this race? Seven homers, 22 RBI, .648 slugging percentage and a .400 on-base percentage. That’s Joey Votto in the month of August. Not quite the 11-homer, .319 clip he had in July, but it’s been wild to see this development.

Brewers: Welcome back, Christian Yelich. Entering Tuesday, he’s had a hit in nine of his last 10 games, including a two-homer game Saturday against Washington that included a grand slam in the eighth inning.

Projected lineup


Reds:
Jonathan India (R) 2B
Tyler Naquin (L) LF
Nick Castellanos (R) RF
Joey Votto (L) 1B
Mike Moustakas (L) 3B
Kyle Farmer (R) SS
Tucker Barnhart (L) C
Shogo Akiyama (L) CF
Luis Castillo (R) P

Brewers:
Kolten Wong (L) 2B
Willy Adames (R) SS
Christian Yelich (L) LF
Avisail Garcia (R) RF
Omar Narvaez (L) C
Luis Urias (R) 3B
Rowdy Tellez (L) 1B
Lorenzo Cain (R) CF
Brandon Woodruff (R) P

Statistical leaders


Reds:
Batting average: Nick Castellanos (.319)
Hits: Jesse Winker (129)
Home runs: Joey Votto (28)
RBI: Joey Votton (81)
Stolen bases: Jonathan India (8)
Wins: Wade Miley (10)
Saves: Heath Hembree (8)
ERA: Wade Miley (2.88)

Brewers:
Batting average: Avisail Garcia (.275)
Hits: Avisail Garcia (105)
Home runs: Avisail Garcia (24)
RBI: Avisail Garcia (73)
Stolen bases: Two tied (9)
Wins: Brent Suter (12)
Saves: Josh Hader (26)
ERA: Corbin Burnes (2.13)

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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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