Baseball backers across Ohio sports betting for the first time will be able to put action on Opening Day later this week, as both the Cleveland Guardians and Cincinnati Reds begin their 2023 MLB campaigns.
Expectations are quite different for the two Ohio clubs, and for good reason.
BetOhio.com — your best source for Ohio sports betting apps information — has a full breakdown on both teams below.
Guardians Favorites to Repeat in AL Central
The Guardians, under veteran skipper Terry Francona, captured another AL Central title with a 92-70 record last season, upsetting the Chicago White Sox, who only managed to go 81-81 with superior talent, at least on paper. Led by four-time All-Star José Ramírez, the Guardians won with old school baseball in 2022. Rather than relying on power throughout their lineup, the club consistently put the ball in play and played elite defense behind a solid pitching staff.
Guardians hitters had the fewest strikeouts in MLB (1,122) and posted the fourth highest batting average (.254). They may have hit the second fewest home runs in the league (127, ahead of only the Detroit Tigers), but that didn’t stop them from winning the division by a stout 11 games.
The Guardians then swept the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL Wild-Card round before ultimately falling to the New York Yankees in the Divisional Round.
In a sign of how the team overachieved relative to expectations, Francona collected his third AL Manager of the Year award, and the club is poised for more success in 2023. BetMGM Ohio Sportsbook has the Guardians as slight favorites to win the AL Central again at +125, ahead of the Carlos Correa-led Twins (+200) and White Sox (+250). BetMGM also has the club at +1200 to advance to the Fall Classic, and +2500 to win the whole enchilada. Their current O/U win total is set at 86.5.
Over at Caesars Sportsbook Ohio, Ramirez is +1600 to win AL MVP behind Shohei Ohtani (+200), Aaron Judge (+400), Mike Trout (+600), Julio Rodriguez (+800), Yordan Alvarez (+1200) and Vlad Guerrero Jr. (+1400).
The Guardians open the season Thursday night in Seattle against the Mariners in front of a sold-out crowd at T-Mobile Park.
Can the Reds Show Improvement from 2022?
There’s significantly less optimism in Cincinnati, where the Reds didn’t give fans much to cheer about in 2022. Long gone are the days of The Big Red Machine, as the club won only 62 games last season.
Reds batters posted the sixth most strikeouts across MLB, the fifth lowest team batting average and the third lowest OPS. That’s a tired trio, but things weren’t much better from the pitching staff.
The Reds posted the third highest ERA in 2022, the second fewest saves, and gave up the fifth most hits.
All in all, it was a true rebuilding year for skipper David Bell and his team. Judging by sportsbooks expectations, the club is still a year away from being a year away.
Tipico Ohio Sportsbook has the Reds at +6000 to win the NL Central, ahead of only the Pittsburgh Pirates (+7000). Their current O/U win total is set at 64.5, which would technically be an improvement from last season, but likely not enough to save Bell’s job for 2024.
Is there money to be made on the Reds this season? Time will tell, but the focus in Cincinnati is to simply get off to a much better start than last season. The Reds posted a 3-18 record in April last year, the worst mark across MLB and essentially ending their playoff chances before May.
There’s reason to believe April 2023 will be kinder to the Reds, as they will open the season as a rare favorite (-1.5 at Tipico) against the Pirates on March 30 at Great American Ballpark.
The Reds also will play three-game series against the Cubs (+670 to win the NL Central) and Athletics (+20000 to win the AL West) in April, as well as another four-game series against the Pirates in the middle of the month.
BetOhio.com has been all over the sports betting scene since the state launched on Jan. 1. The site also is a great source for Ohio sportsbook promos.