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May 19, 2015 (Posted at 5:00 PM ET)

Sports Profit System has won 3 consecutive picks but short-term streaks are ultimately meaningless. It is excellent long-term results and credibility that set SPS apart from the rest.

Take Kansas City Royals (-124) on the Money Line against Cincinnati Reds risking 3%.
(Ventura and Cueto must start for wager to have action)

The Reds and Royals open up a brief 2 games series tonight at Kauffman Stadium. There is no question that the starting pitcher is arguably the most important player on any given night as he is the person who ultimately sets the tone for the game. Looking at the side by side comparisons of these two pitchers tonight, it appears (at least on the surface) that the Reds will likely have the advantage with Johnny Cueto taking the mound. Cueto is the unquestionable "Ace" of the team and is a threat to win each and every time he steps on the mound; however he is a pitcher who rarely seems to get the run support needed to convert his quality outings into wins. Despite having a respectable 2.93 ERA through 9 starts, he is just 3-3 on the season, and while he is certainly a tough opponent on the mound, he is by no means invincible. If there is one place that he has struggled recently, it has been on the road. Cueto's given up a total of 15 hits and 9 earned runs, including 4 homeruns in his last 2 contests on the highway. We don't expect the Royals bats to give him any margin for error tonight given the way that their offense has been clicking recently. The Royals have scored 19 runs in their last three games and four or more runs in six of their last 10 games. This team has also won five straight games when scoring more than three runs. If their offense continues to produce as it has been, the Royals will have a good chance of getting to Cueto tonight. 

Kansas City will send Yordano Ventura to the mound who has been a little bit shaky as of late. Ventura is 2-3 with a 5.36 ERA and compared with Johnny Cueto it's only natural to assume that the Reds will have the edge on the mound. While on the surface that may indeed be the case, we do feel that Ventura is much better than his current season numbers dictate. He has struggled as of late, but we will "buy low" in this situation as we believe his production will likely only get better from here on out. This will also be his first start against the Reds which he could likely turn into his advantage. Cincinnati has a number of powerful hitters in their lineup with the likes of Joey Votto and Todd Frazier. However, with neither batter having seen Ventura before, it will likely take them a few at bats in order to get a sense of his timing and delivery. If this happens it will likely give Ventura confidence on the mound in the later innings, allowing him to produce a quality outing. We don't necessarily need him to out-duel Johnny Cueto, we just need him to not allow his team to get too far behind on the scoreboard and allow his bullpen to take over. 

The bullpen is where we feel KC has the biggest advantage as they have arguably the best one in the league. The KC pen has a combined ERA of 1.60 thanks to the likes of Kelvin Herrera and Greg Holland, and it has been widely known that once the Royals go to their pens, it often results in lights out for their opponents. The Reds' bullpen meanwhile has struggled this season. They have a combined ERA of 5.16 and have given up a total of 61 runs which is more than double the amount of runs that the Royals pen has surrendered! Needless to say, the Royals will have the advantage once the starting pitchers come out and in a close game, this could be the deciding factor. Even if the Royals are down on the scoreboard early, given the way the Reds' pen has given up runs, they should have a chance to win this game up until the final out. 

Kansas City will also have the edge playing at home tonight. While home teams in baseball don't share as strong of an advantage as sports like football and basketball, Kansas City has always been a team that prides themselves on defending their home stadium and this season is no different. The Royals are 13-6 at Kauffman this season, which is an impressive record and 6-2 at home when listed as a -100 to -125 favorite. Meanwhile the Reds have been mediocre on the road this season, going just 9-11, but have gone just 1-4 when listed as a road underdog in the +100 to +125 range.

Last but not least, Kansas City is one of the best teams at stealing bases which allows them to score runs even when they are not getting consistent production out of their lineup. This is a big reason why they have been able to score a lot of runs already this season. The fact that the Royals' bats will likely not have to consistently hit Johnny Cueto in order to score runs will be an advantage for them tonight. We believe there is a reason why there has been some movement in the line in favor of the Royals despite the fact that Cincinnati has statistically the "better" pitcher on the mound tonight. The Royals have numerous other areas where they hold an advantage over the Reds, especially when it comes to the relief pitcher, and we feel that these factors will be enough for them to get the win tonight. 

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Kansas City is 4-1 in their last 5 interleague home games vs. right-handed starters. 
  • Head to head Cincinnati is 1-5 in the last 6 meetings with Royals.
  • Cincinnati is just 1-8 when playing against a team with a winning record this season!
  • Kansas City is 6-1 in their last 7 interleague games vs. a team with a losing record. 

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