The Minnesota Twins are set to tangle with the Cincinnati Reds at home Monday night in a matchup between two teams without a winning record.
The Reds are sitting right at the .500 mark with a 35-35 record while the Twins have fallen to 30-41, good for fourth place in the American League Central Division and a far margin away from where they were at this time a year ago.
Tyler Mahle will take the mound for Cincinnati as one of the bright spots on the team— Mahle is 7-2 with a 3.39 ERA this year and has won five straight as a starter.
J.A. Happ will match Mahle for the Twins, posting a 3-3 record with a 6.12 ERA this season. He recently gave up five earned runs in four innings against the Seattle Mariners, a matchup in which the Twins lost 10-0.
The Reds are listed as -1.5 (+134) favorites and are -120 on the moneyline; the Twins enter as +1.5 (-162) underdogs and are +102 on the moneyline.
This will be the first time that the teams have collided this season, though the Reds took two of three matchups in the 2020 season. Minnesota was also a much better team last season and Cincinnati should have all of the confidence heading into the first pitch.
Four Straight for Twins
A positive sign for fans of the Twins is that they have won four straight, three against the Texas Rangers and once against the Mariners; this is tied for their longest win streak of the season.
The Reds have managed to do the exact opposite by losing their last four, all to the San Diego Padres. Prior to that, they had won six consecutive contests against the Milwaukee Brewers and Colorado Rockies.
Cincinnati has the league’s most consistent batting duo— Nick Castellanos and Jesse Winker— and ranks in the top-10 in team scoring, home runs, batting average and on-base percentage. Their mediocre record does not accurately reflect the offensive talent that they have on their team, they just cannot consistently pitch well.
The Twins are also one of the better offensive squads in the league and are third in total home runs, led by Nelson Cruz’s 15, but have a deplorable rotation of pitchers at their disposal.
Minnesota has the fourth-worst team ERA at 4.90 and does not have one starting pitcher throwing under 3.50 this season.
The over/under for this game has been set at 9.5 and is +100 on the over and -122 on the under.
This season, the teams have combined to score an average of 9.49 runs per game; this number has reached 9.7 over the teams’ past 10 games, though the Reds have been fluctuating between enormous scoring nights and inefficient days at the plate.
Twins vs Reds Betting Picks
I am leaning towards the Reds in the “under” in this contest; I think that the Twins will struggle to get many runs past Mahle and the Cincinnati defense, while the Reds’ recent inconsistency hitting the ball will limit the top end of their scoring potential.
This game is crucial for the Reds, who need every win they can get to close the four-game gap between them and the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers atop the division.
The first pitch is scheduled to be thrown at 8:10 p.m. ET on Monday night at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
*All betting odds were taken from FanDuel*
Grant Mitchell is a sportswriter and multimedia contributor for the Sports 2.0 Network dealing with basketball, football, soccer, and other major sports: you can connect with him on Twitter @milemitchell to stay up to date with the latest sports news and to engage personally with him.