Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Baseball Only? WTF!

No plays yesterday, as your pal Dan paid a visit to the doctor, and got confirmation that his ruthless cold/flu has inspired an opportunistic secondary bacterial infection to take hold in his ears and chest.

Current drug count: 7 (Advil, Tylenol, Zyrtec-D, Afrin, Nasonex, Non Penicillin Antibiotic, and Robitussin).

We're all set for the NBA Playoffs, and while I don't expect comprehensive blog entries on every game, I DO want to make sure we discuss each and every match-up, and really hammer out some value. Also, my CURRENT plan (subject to change) is to begin selling MLB plays as the Daily Package, and making the NBA Playoff selections as the Free Plays. Thus, all you folks that purchased the MLB Half-Season Package and those that had the NBA Regular Season Package can get MAX value with the NBA plays now becoming Free!

Sports Wagering: MLB

National League

Astros @ Cardinals (-230) with a total of 9; B. Norris vs. K. Lohse;
Hunter Pence is 9-for-25 off Lohse, but has just 2 RBI;
Pedro Feliz is 4-for-12 with 4 RBI;
Yadier Molina is 3-for-5 off Bud Norris.
The Astros are horrible, and every game seems to be a situation where they might break through. Bud Norris was a perfect 2-0, 0.00 ERA against St. Louis last year, and Lohse is 6-5 in his career against Houston. Could this one be the game where the 'Stros get a key fielding error from the Cards' David Freese and break through? Maybe. Certainly can't back the Cards at this price, but the underdog RL, still at plus odds, might actually be worth exploring, or potentially the Under, since no one expects Norris to succeed.

Brewers @ Cubs (-165) with a total of N/A; J. Suppan vs. C. Zambrano;
Prince Fielder is batting .364 off Zambrano with 2 homers and 5 RBI since 2005;
Derrek Lee has eaten Suppan alive, batting .405 over the last 5 years with 4 homers;
Ryan Theriot is 8-for-24 off Suppan, and Mike Fontenot is 4-for-11.
Big Z is still rocking an ERA near 12, but Suppan is making his first start of the season, and as you can see, a few Cubs have mild success against him. That being said, there's a reason the Cubbies are an expensive favorite, and I'd pass here.

Nationals @ Phillies (-260) with a total of 9.5; S. Olsen vs. J. Happ;
J.A. Happ is 3-0, 2.19 ERA against the Nats;
Jayson Werth is 10-for-19 with 3 HR and 7 RBI off Scott Olsen - yikes;
Raul Ibanez is 5-for-8 with 2 HR and 5 RBI;
Ryan Howard is 14-for-29 with 2 HR and 9 RBI off Olsen.
There are about 6 times per season that I might consider playing a home team on the run line, but this is one of 'em. Scott Olsen isn't an awful pitcher, but the Phillies are killing the baseball, and Olsen making his season debut is not a promising time. He has held Utley in check, but that's about it. Beware both sides, here, I'd say, and I'd offer a look at the Over, but Happ could potentially shut the Nats out.

Mets @ Rockies (-200) with a total of 9; M. Pelfrey vs. J. De La Rosa;
Todd Helton is 6-for-7 with 1 HR and 5 RBI off Pelfrey;
In limited action, Carlos Gonzalez is 1-for-2 with a HR, Chris Iannetta is 2-for-3, Seth Smith is 3-for-6, and Troy Tulowitzki is 3-for-9 off Pelfrey;
Fernando Tatis is 2-for-6 with a HR and 2 RBI off De La Rosa.
De La Rosa is a perfect 3-0 against the Mets, and while Pelfrey is actually a decent 3-2 against Colorado, this just doesn't feel like the right time to jump aboard an offensively anemic Mets club, even in the thin air. I don't like this line, and while De La Rosa had issues at home last year, the kid has talent, and the Mets haven't done anything against him. Pass.

Braves (-136) @ Padres with a total of 7.5; T. Hudson vs. M. Latos;
Tim Hudson has never lost to the Padres, at 3-0;
Adrian Gonzalez is 6-for-12 with 2 HR and 4 RBI off Hudson.
The young stud, Mat Latos, picked up a win against the Braves in his only start, allowing just a run over 7 innings. This one will require a little more digging, but it seems like the Padres and Braves are pretty well-matched in this one, and we know San Diego has a solid pen. If this game is going to be decided in the 8th or 9th inning, you definitely have to peek at the underdog.

Reds @ Marlins (-150) with a total of 8; A. Harang vs. J. Johnson;
Scott Rolen is 3-for-4 off Josh Johnson;
Miguel Cairo, surprisingly, is 2-for-5 with a dinger off Johnson;
Jorge Cantu (the new record-holder for consecutive games with a hit and RBI to start a season) is 4-for-10 off Harang;
Wes Helms is 4-for-11 with an RBI off Harang;
Dan Uggla is 6-for-16 with 2 HR and 6 RBI;
Hanley Ramirez is batting .381 off Harang with 4 HR and 6 RBI.
The Marlins have done some damage off Harang, and Johnson's slow start to 2010 might be creating a little value on the Marlins. Their bullpen is subpar, and Johnson has been using far too many pitches early in games, but at -150, I happen to think this might still be a value on the home club, which could very well be a -165 favorite by the afternoon before the game.

Diamondbacks @ Dodgers (-115) with a total of 7.5; D. Haren vs. H. Kuroda;
Conor Jackson is 3-for-9 off Kuroda;
Garret Anderson has hit .364 off Haren since 2005 with 2 HR and 5 RBI;
Casey Blake has hit .344 since 2005;
Andre Ethier bats .370 off Haren with 2 HR and 5 RBI;
Manny Ramirez owns Haren, batting .577 with 3 HR and 6 RBI;
Matt Kemp is 6-for-19 with 2 HR off Haren.
I think a lot of folks are going to see Haren as a road "underdog" and think it's too good to be true - well, it might be. For all of Haren's accolades, he has had some issues with the Dodgers, going just 4-4 against LA in his career. Kuroda is, somehow, 1-3 against Arizona despite pitching pretty well against them, and I happen to think LA really comes to play against one of the League's best. No feelings on the total.

American League

Rangers @ Indians (N/A) with a total of N/A; M. Harrison vs. D. Huff;
We've got almost no real background info on this game, and though Harrison does have an ERA over 11 against the Indians, that doesn't really mean anything. Both of these guys had a nice first start, both gave up a run in 6 innings of work, and neither got a win. Just kind of tells you the struggles teams have had in late innings so far.

Red Sox @ Twins (-130) with a total of 9; T. Wakefield vs. F. Lirano;
Victor Martinez is 5-for-12 off Liriano;
Dustin Pedroia is 4-for-5 off the big lefty;
Joe Mauer is 5-for-12 off Wakefield with a HR and 3 RBI;
Justin Morneau is 6-for-16 with an RBI.
Yes, it's true. The Sox are a dog to a team other than the Yanks, and it's Francisco Liriano of all people. This would team to be a public fade spot, but can we really trust either of these hurlers enough to warrant a bet on them? The intense odd-ness of the line has to at least make one take pause and reassess, especially since Liriano is a career 0-2, 13.50 ERA against Boston. Fishy? I'd say so.

White Sox @ Blue Jays (-135) with a total of 8.5; F. Garcia vs. D. Eveland;
Carlos Quentin hit a 3-run jack in his only AB against Dana Eveland;
Jose Molina is 3-for-8 lifetime off Garcia;
Jeremy Reed is 4-for-9 off Garcia;
Vernon Wells is 2-for-4 with a HR and 3 RBI.
In his career, Garcia has struggled with Toronto, posting a 5.50 ERA against them -- that, though, was largely against a Toronto lineup that's no longer in Toronto, if you catch my drift. Dana Eveland started the year with a bang, not allowing a run and picking up a win. Is he completely rejuvenated with his "anger-less" approach to baseball? Potentially, and given the way the two teams have played to this point, this line is probably pretty fair. Pass, unless this line makes a strong shift.

Angels @ Yankees (-185) with a total of 9.5; S. Kazmir vs. P. Hughes;
Scott Kazmir is 6-5, 2.67 ERA in his career against the Yanks;
Mark Teixeira is 7-for-11 with 3 RBI off Kazmir;
Jorge Posada has hit .435 off Kazmir since 2005 with a HR and 4 RBI.
Are the Yanks THAT good, that Phil Hughes, an unproven starter, deserves to be a near 2-to-1 favorite? I happen to think that no, they're not. Make no mistake, the Yanks are one of the 3 best teams in baseball, and the Angels aren't the same without Figgins and Vlad, but Kazmir has been one of the best pitchers in all of baseball against the Yankees, both short and long term. I would take a long, hard look at the underdog or the underdog RL here, just in case the Yanks power bats make a late comeback, but the Angels would seem to have a strong case in this one.

Orioles @ Athletics (-150) with a total of 8.5; D. Hernandez vs. B. Sheets;
Garrett Atkins is 6-for-14 with a HR and 3 RBI.
Will the O's ever get a key hit? I'm not sure Ben Sheets deserves to be a -150 favorite, but the Orioles are simply too bad to back, right now. They cannot get a hit with runners in scoring position, and even when the starters turn in decent performances, which has actually been more common than you might expect looking at their record, the bullpen has been outrageously shaky. So, do we lay a buck-fifty? Probably not, but with baseball being so streaky, we can't forget that sometimes fading a tumbling team is just as profitable as backing a hot one.

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