Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Playoff Lines Falling

I think it's safe to say that Charlie Morton is not backable until he shows that he some kind of command, any at all. That was a very, very bad call. There's no hiding that.

As far as the Dodger game goes, well, we nailed half of the handicapping. We knew the Dodgers would hit the hell out of the ball. What we didn't know was that Chad Billingsley would only go 3 innings. He's been bad before, but he has always pitched well against the Reds. It wasn't a great handicap, so the result, while relevant to our bankrolls, is not really as important as the way the game played out. The result was they lost, so we didn't get saved.

The late game is pending, so we can get to talking about that in due time.

All in all, a weak baseball performance, as some teams stepped up big, and some pitchers laid eggs, but in the 162-game season, these things are going to happen. Back the grind!

Sports Wagering: NBA

Bobcats @ Magic - Orlando by 9 with a total of 186. This is another funny little line that has come down markedly from the game one number, though in this case, the underdog actually covered by a hair, so it's a little less surprising. So, really, this line is one of those "we don't really know, so we're just going with what happened last time" kind of lines, which one would think might be a bit exploitable, with the right information and the right situational analysis. So, what we have to think about before betting this game is what happened last night (since the results of those 4 games can impact how the public will bet this one), and which team is going to bring their better effort. The Bobcats went through the standard game one jitters, but did a fine job of bouncing back and making a game of it with the Magic, and what's really interesting is that the road team has covered all 5 meetings this year between these two clubs, including the Magic winning both games in Charlotte, and the Bobcats winning one outright in Orlando. So, who has the advantage? This line is basically spot on where the last game ended, and because the oddsmakers nailed the total, they didn't really have to move that, either. I fear that some of the underdog bounceback value has been slowly sucked over the last day or two, but let's let this line settle and make a call. I'd love to back the Bobcats in this game, but I'm not at all convinced. Still, tiny, tiny lean in their direction (Bobcats), and tiny, tiny lean to the Under, since I'm not sure the first quarter is quite as quick-paced as game one.

Spurs @ Mavericks - Dallas by 3.5 with a total of 194.5. Another line that came down despite the home favorite covering in the first game, and really, it wasn't as close as the final margin would indicate. The Spurs scored 4 straight to close the game, so Dallas really was up 10 when it mattered. So, now oddsmakers put out this very short number. Can the Spurs really play all that much better than they did in the opener? This Dallas team is extremely talented, and it seemed like the Spurs got decent contributions from the important parties. They did commit 17 turnovers and get outrebounded by 11, so maybe San Antonio will work on something to remedy that situation, but as far as Dallas is concerned, they played a pretty standard, good game, and they won handily. I know Dallas is absolutely the square side of this game, but it's going to take a man-size effort from San Antonio to steal a game, and they looked overmatched in game one. Dallas never really appeared to be pushed to any sort of limit, and it almost looked like the Mavs just sort of went about their business, and a win came to them. Does that mean they'll take game two too lightly? Maybe, but exercise caution here. No lean on the side as of yet, but you've seen how I feel about both teams, so something should emerge from all this digging. The total was, once again, right on the money in game one, and I'm hard-pressed to see this one going all that differently. Both teams actually shot the ball relatively well, so gun to my head, I'd look at a slightly uglier game going Under.

Sports Wagering: MLB

National League

Giants @ Padres (-125) with a total of 8; T. Wellemeyer vs. J. Garland;
Aubrey Huff is 5-for-15 with 1 HR and 4 RBI;
Pablo Sandoval is 6-for-7 with a HR and 3 RBI off Garland;
Bengie Molina is 3-for-9 off Garland.
I can't believe I'm considering backing Wellemeyer again after that tragic outing against the Dodgers, but here I stand, seriously thinking about it. Jon Garland is, as mentioned a few days back, a battler, but he's never going to dominate. He has posted a solid 2.42 ERA against the Giants in his career, so this is far from a sure thing, but the Kung Fu Panda could potentially win this game with his bat if Wellemeyer can keep it remotely close.

Colorado (-115) @ Nationals with a total of 9.5; J. Hammel vs. J. Lannan;
Brad Hawpe is 2-for-6 off Lannan with a pair of RBI;
Ian Stewart has a HR off Lannan, and Tulowitzki is 2-for-4;
Nyjer Morgan is 3-for-8 off Hammel;
Ivan Rodriguez is 3-for-10 off Hammel;
Josh Willingham is 3-for-7 with a HR and an RBI off Hammel.
Numbers would really support a play on either side, and that's likely why this line is so close to a pick. Hammel has gotten off to a rocky start this year (pun intended) with an ERA of 11.42 thus far. He pitched well against the Nats in the past, but is Hammel really there, mentally and physically? Pass.

Brewers (-135) @ Pirates with a total of 8; Y. Gallardo vs. Z. Duke;
Ryan Braun is 3-for-10 with a HR off Duke;
Prince Fielder is 9-for-27 with 2 HR and 6 RBI off Duke;
Delwyn Young is 3-for-6 off Gallardo;
Andy Laroche has 2 HR off Gallardo.
I don't think most people thought that 2 weeks into the season, Gallardo would be just a -135 favorite on the road against Pittsburgh, but his 0-2, 5.50 ERA start to the season, as well as the Pirates' hot start and Zach Duke's 2.37 ERA have given everyone a firm slap to the face. This might, however, be about as good a value as we'll get on Gallardo. I'm not sold on the play, though Duke has struggled with the Brewers, and I just wonder how long before he has a rough outing.

Cubs @ Mets (-110) with a total of 8.5; C. Silva vs. O. Perez;
Xavier Nady is 2-for-5 with 2 RBI off Perez;
Frank Catalanotto is 6-for-20 with a HR off Silva since '05;
Alex Cora is 6-for-18 off Silva since '05;
Gary Matthews is 6-for-20 off Silva since '05.
I'm not sure where THIS Carlos Silva came from, but he's turning the clock back to the tune of a 1-0, 0.69 ERA to start 2010. Oliver Perez looked decent in his last start, or I'd be all over the Cubbies in this one. Two pitchers, almost zero predictability from start-to-start for each. Pass.

Dodgers (-130) @ Reds with a total of 8.5; H. Kuroda vs. A. Harang;
Ronnie Belliard is 9-for-20 off Harang with a HR and 3 RBI;
Jamey Carroll is 4-for-12 off Harang;
Rafael Furcal is 5-for-10 with 2 RBI off Harang;
Matt Kemp is 2-for-6 with a HR and 3 RBI;
Russ Martin is 4-for-8 with 2 RBI;
Manny Ramirez and James Loney are each 2-for-5 off Harang.
Hiroki Kuroda, again, the battler. You just have to always like the effort you'll get from Kuroda, when he's healthy. He's 1-0 against Cincinnati, and the Dodgers, as we mentioned, hit pretty well in this park. I have to start with a look to the team from LA before going anywhere else.

Phillies (-145) @ Braves with a total of 7.5; R. Halladay vs. T. Hudson;
Ryan Howard is batting .353 with 5 HR and 10 RBI off Hudson since '05;
Shane Victorino is 8-for-25 with 2 HR and 6 RBI off Hudson since '05;
Jayson Werth is 4-for-12 off Hudson with 3 RBI.
Roy Halladay hasn't seen much of the Braves in his solid career, but he's 1-0, 0.84 ERA against them in that brief exposure. Something a little funny about this line, though, since we know huge money is going to come in on Halladay, so why open the line at a fairly affordable -145? Something tells me this game ends up low scoring on both sides. A screwball value game, and I need more time to pull this one apart.

Marlins (-155) @ Astros with a total of 8; J. Johnson vs. B. Norris;
John Baker is 3-for-5 with an RBI off Norris;
Hanley Ramirez is 4-for-6 with a HR off Norris;
Dan Uggla is 3-for-5 with a HR off Norris;
Cody Ross is 3-for-5 off Norris;
Lance Berkman is 3-for-5 with a HR and 2 RBI off Johnson;
Carlos Lee and Hunter Pence each have a HR in 2 AB off Johnson.
Neither pitcher has a good track record against this opponent, as you can see. Johnson and Norris both seemed to start to find grooves in their last starts, or I'd recommend a look at the over. As far as the side goes, this one could end up one of about a hundred ways, though again, something tells me to just stay away.

Cardinals (-155) @ D'backs with a total of 9; C. Carpenter vs. E. Jackson;
Matt Holliday is 3-for-6 with a HR off Jackson;
Yadier Molina is 3-for-3 with a HR off Jackson;
Albert Pujols is 3-for-4 and Colby Rasmus is 2-for-3;
Kelly Johnson is 4-for-7 off Carpenter;
Mark Reynolds is 2-for-3, and Chris Young is 3-for-4.
Carpenter is 4-0, 1.79 ERA against Arizona, and Edwin Jackson is 0-2, 3.38 ERA against the Cards. I'll tell you what's surprising is the high total of 9. That is either a gift, or the oddsmakers telling us more runs are coming in this one than we think. Another line worth chewing on just a bit longer.

American League

Royals @ Blue Jays (-115) with a total of 7.5; Z. Greinke vs. S. Marcum;
Jason Kendall is 3-for-5 off Marcum;
Lyle Overbay is 7-for-15 with 2 HR and 5 RBI;
Adam Lind is 2-for-5 with a HR.
The Royals bullpen continues to make backing this team about as fun as a trip to the dentist, and Shaun Marcum's 3-1, 1.09 ERA numbers against Kansas City lifetime certainly give us one more reason to think Toronto. Can Greinke get things straightened out? He has just a 3.57 ERA, but it doesn't feel the same, and that constant struggle to make sure he goes ultra deep in games has to take a mental toll. It's a heck of a deal on a great pitcher, but I prefer the Jays, here.

Rangers @ Red Sox (-185) with a total of 8.5; M. Harrison vs. J. Beckett;
Adrian Beltre is 4-for-10 with a HR and 3 RBI off Harrison;
Mike Lowell is 2-for-3 off Harrison;
Kevin Youkilis is 1-for-3 off Harrison with a HR.
Interestingly, all these young Rangers haven't seen a whole heck of a lot of Beckett, but not much here makes me think either side is a good value. Boston is way too expensive with how poorly they're playing, but Texas isn't playing much better. Pass.

Indians @ Twins (-175) with a total of 8.5; D. Huff vs. F. Liriano;
Asdrubal Cabrera is 3-for-4 with a HR and 2 RBI off Liriano;
Joe Mauer is 6-for-12 with a HR and 4 RBI off Huff;
Justin Morneau is 4-for-10 with 2 RBI off Huff;
Denard Span is 4-for-11 off Huff;
Delmon Young is 3-for-7, Alexi Casilla is 2-for-4, and J.J. Hardy is 1-for-2 with a HR off Huff.
Liriano and Huff have each started 2010 with a solid couple of appearances, and I know full well that this is a bad time to back Liriano just because of the value going kaput off his dominant showing against the Red Sox. Pass.

Rays @ White Sox (-115) with a total of 8.5; W. Davis vs. M. Buerhle;
Carlos Pena is 6-for-17 with 4 RBI off Buerhle since '05;
B.J. Upton is 6-for-20 off Buerhle.
The White Sox haven't seen Wade Davis, but they can be sure to get a pretty steady diet of heat, at least at first. Buerhle, as we all know, is a vastly superior pitcher at home, and he's 8-2 lifetime against the Rays, so this isn't a team that generally gives him fits. This is a pretty nice price on one of the best home pitchers in baseball, and one that can go deep in a game, which adds value because of the lack of bullpen in a great many of Buerhle's games. Lean to Sox.

Tigers @ Angels (-165) with a total of 9; J. Bonderman vs. J. Weaver;
Carlos Guillen is 8-for-14 off Weaver with 2 RBI;
Miguel Cabrera is 3-for-8 with a HR and 3 RBI;
Magglio Ordonez is 6-for-10 off Weaver since '05;
Bobby Abreu is 7-for-12 off Bonderman with 3 RBI;
Torii Hunter is 7-for-21 off Bonderman since '05;
Maicer Izturis is 3-for-7 off Bonderman;
Hideki Matsui is 8-for-16 with a HR and 6 RBI off Bonderman.
With almost anyone else on the mound, I'd say this is a game the Tigers could steal, given Weaver's 7.36 career ERA against the Tigers, but Bonderman could very well just get absolutely killed. I might take a peek at the over if Detroit could hit on the road. Certainly don't like Angels, have a slight feeling of warmth about Detroit, but probably not strong enough to take a flier.

Yankees (-145) @ Athletics with a total of 8.5; P. Hughes vs. B. Sheets;
There is almost no historical data on this game, so we're going off recent results. Phil Hughes gave up 2 runs in 5 innings against the Angels in a decent starting debut for 2010. Ben Sheets has rewarded the A's giving him a contract with a 2.65 ERA thus far in 2010, but the Yankees are always going to be just a little tougher. I do happen to think there's a little value in the home team, as New York rarely brings their top game in early-season long road trips West, though we all know what the Yanks have done to the A's this decade.

Orioles @ Mariners (-200) with a total of 7; K. Millwood vs. F. Hernandez;
Cesar Izturis is a perfect 3-for-3 off King Felix;
Nick Markakis is 10-for-22 off Hernandez with 5 RBI;
Miguel Tejada is 5-for-14 with 1 RBI off Hernandez;
Ty Wigginton is 3-for-5 with a HR and 2 RBI;
Franklin Gutierrez is 4-for-11 with a HR and 5 RBI off Millwood;
Casey Kotchman is 5-for-15 with 3 HR and 7 RBI off Millwood;
Ichiro is batting .424 in 66 AB against Millwood since '05.
Kevin Millwood has never liked facing Seattle, and Hernandez hasn't really enjoyed Baltimore. This total of 7 might be too low, if either of these guys isn't right on their game, though Baltimore's issues with batting with RISP is brutal. Still, 7 runs is such a low number, and both of these big name pitchers are keeping it very low. I might explore the over before either side.

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