It’s a matchup between two National League rivals as the Cincinnati Reds (2-4) begin a four-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers (3-2) on Thursday night at Dodger Stadium. Cincinnati was swept in a two-game interleague series at home by the Cleveland Guardians, while Los Angeles defeated the Twins 7-2 and 7-0 in a two-game interleague series on the road.

The Reds come into the 2022 season under the impression that they will not be as competitive this season after selling off stars like Jesse Winker, Eugenio Suarez and Sonny Gray. The Dodgers, on the other hand, added another star in Freddie Freeman to their already star-studded roster and are expected to not only compete for a division title but a World Series as well.

The teams split six meetings last season, with the away team winning four of them. The Dodgers won two of three games in the most recent series between the teams, which took place at Great American Ball Park on September 17-19, 2021.

Cincinnati Reds Look to Rebound After Being Swept at Home

After splitting a four-game road series with the Braves to start the season, Cincinnati was swept in their first two games at home this season. Tyler Naquin and Tyler Stephenson each had two hits in their latest loss to Cleveland, while top prospect Nick Lodolo took the loss in a losing effort, pitching four innings and allowing five runs on seven hits, three walks, and four strikeouts.

The Reds have been struggling on the mound recently, allowing 29 runs in their last five games, and now they must face a feared Los Angeles offense. Cincinnati is depending on patchwork to hold down the fort in the interim due to injuries to key rotation players such as Luis Castillo and Mike Minor. So far, the outcomes have been disappointing and the Reds will continue to rely on younger talent as they have Luis Cessa slated to make his third appearance and first start of the season in this game.

After Slow Start to the Season, Dodgers Look to win Third Straight Game

Los Angeles entered the season as a strong World Series favorite, but fell to the Colorado Rockies losing two of three games. Los Angeles turned things around on the road in Minnesota however as they blasted past the Twins in interleague play Wednesday night.The Dodgers got out to a fast start against Minnesota and rode pitching the rest of the way. In the game, Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, and Cody Bellinger each had two hits. Clayton Kershaw was also dominant, pitching seven flawless innings with no runs allowed on no hits and no walks.

Los Angeles hasn’t had a problem with starting pitchers, but the Dodgers’ offense failed in their first series against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field, averaging less than four runs per game. With the exception of Gavin Lux, who has been outstanding from the start, the rest of the offense has struggled to get going. Mookie Betts, Max Muncy, Freddie Freeman, and others are among the players on the roster and It’ll only be a matter of time before the Dodgers wake up and unleash a fury on an unfortunate starting pitcher.

Dodgers Will Bring the Fireworks in Home Opener

Oddsmakers have the Dodgers as the -1.5 run (-120) favorites, with the total set at 11 runs. The Dodgers will head back to Chavez Ravine for the first time in the 2022 season and I expect them to bring the thunder in their home opener. The Reds looked good on the road against the Braves, but were completely outmatched by the Cleveland Guardians as they were outscored 15-8 in two games. In addition, the Reds will have a bullpen game and will likely use several arms in this contest.

Cincinnati will have a difficult task in not only facing Dodger’s ace Walker Buehler, but they’ll also have to deal with arguably the best lineup in baseball. Los Angeles posted back to back seven run contests that saw them crush four homers and 19 hits. The Dodgers should have the upper hand in this one and I think they welcome back Dodger faithful with a blowout win over the Reds.

Betting Pick: Los Angeles Dodgers -1.5