NLDS Gm.1 betting preview: Reds at Giants

Cincinnati Reds at San Francisco Giants (-119, 6.5)

Runs figure to be at a premium when the San Francisco Giants and Cincinnati Reds meet in Game 1 of the best-of-five National League Division Series at AT&T Park. Both teams relied heavily on their pitching to win their divisions by a wide margin, and the opener features a matchup of Cy Young award candidates Matt Cain and Johnny Cueto. Cincinnati went 4-3 against San Francisco this season, with three of the seven games decided by one run. While the Reds have Bronson Arroyo and Mat Latos lined up to start the next two games, the Giants haven’t announced who will follow Madison Bumgarner in Game 2. Manager Bruce Bochy said it’s possible that regular starters Tim Lincecum, Barry Zito or Ryan Vogelsong could be used in relief in the first two games.

The series marks a postseason return to San Francisco for Reds manager Dusty Baker, who managed the Giants from 1993-2002. Baker, who led the Giants to the 2002 World Series, is back in the dugout after being treated for an irregular heartbeat and a mini-stroke in September. The Giants’ offense revolves around MVP candidate Buster Posey, who hit .336 to win the first batting title by an NL catcher since 1942. Bochy did a masterful job handling his relief corps this season, but the Reds had the best bullpen ERA in the majors this season at 2.65. Jonathan Broxton and Sean Marshall provide a solid bridge to closer Aroldis Chapman, who converted 38 of his 43 save opportunities with a 1.51 ERA.

TV: 9:30 p.m. ET, TBS

WEATHER: Forecasts are calling for temperatures in the mid-50s under clear skies. Winds will blow out to right field at 10 mph.

PITCHING MATCHUP:
Reds RH Johnny Cueto (19-9, 2.78 ERA) vs. Giants RH Matt Cain (16-5, 2.79)

Cain took two of his five losses this season against the Reds, allowing eight earned runs in 13 innings - including four home runs. Cain, who threw the first perfect game in franchise history on June 13, set career bests in ERA, wins and strikeouts (193). He’s hoping to continue his success from the 2010 postseason, when he pitched 21 1/3 innings without allowing an earned run.

Cueto lost his only start against the Giants this season on June 28, when he gave up three runs and six hits over six innings. Hunter Pence is 8-for-29 (.276) with 11 strikeouts against Cueto, who is the first pitcher since Luis Tiant in 1968 with 200 innings pitched not to allow a runner to steal second or third base. He allowed three runs (one earned) over seven innings last Sunday against Pittsburgh.

TRENDS:
* Under is 4-0-1 in the last five meetings in San Francisco.
* Under is 4-1 in Cain’s last five home starts vs. Reds.
* Giants are 2-6 in Cain’s last eight starts vs. Reds.
* Reds are 4-1 in Cueto’s last five Saturday starts.

WALK-OFFS:

1. Reds 1B Joey Votto batted .227 (5-for-22) against the Giants this season, while OF Jay Bruce was 11-for-26 (.423) with a homer and seven RBIs.

2. Giants 2B Marco Scutaro finished the regular season with a 20-game hitting streak, batting .436 with five doubles and 17 RBIs during that stretch.

3. Scott Rolen will likely start Game 1 at third base for the Reds over Todd Frazier, who was 13-for-72 (.181) with three RBIs in September.

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