Monday, April 12, 2010

TNT Tuesday, Combo Blog #6

Important Note: I am traveling this evening, but will be around until about 3-3:30pm EST.

As far as yesterday is concerned, we picked up an afternoon winner on the Texas Rangers, and to a certain degree, we got a little lucky. We knew that the Texas bullpen was more rested, and it did indeed come down to that, but Fausto Carmona pitched much better than we expected, and it made a game that we expected to be a pretty easy win, an extra-inning squeaker. But, hey, a win's a win, I don't think we were in the wrong taking the Rangers, and it just took a little more effort than we hoped.

In the NBA, the play on the Kings was a mis-read, flat out. I thought the Kings would play good team basketball as a tip of the cap to the crowd, but they just tried to feeding Tyreke Evans on every play so he could get the points he needed to become a 20-5-5 player. I thought the Kings would play a solid game; they did not.

Still, a 1-1 day, overall, lost a little juice, no reason to worry. We finished the NBA season with a flurry of wins, and I think we may have one left in the tank!

Sports Wagering: NBA

Celtics @ Bulls - This line is OFF. Big game, here. Huge game for Chicago, not that important for Boston, really. There's almost no chance the Celtics play their normal rotation of guys, though this game could have some significant impact on how the bottom of the East playoffs shakes out. The Bulls are coming off a huge win in Toronto, so their confidence is high. I suppose the concern is that to back the Bulls (once the line comes out), we're definitely going to have to pay a premium because they're in the "must-win" situation. Obviously, I'm going to be looking for reasons to get on Chicago, but it's not a shoe-in, not by any stretch. Lean to the surging Derrick Roses...I mean...the Bulls. Also, lean to the Over, as Boston's defense has been lacking down the stretch due to waning focus.

Jazz @ Warriors - Utah by 7.5 with a total of 232.5. These teams played fairly recently in Utah, and the Jazz tore the Warriors apart, scoring on just about every possession. I think folks will be lulled into a false sense of security with Utah, here, when they look back at that previous meeting. Still, the Jazz are an extremely physical team, which is the one thing the the Warriors can't handle. Golden State is coming off an impressive come-from-behind victory over the Thunder at home, so we know they're still playing hard, but I just get the feeling this line is fairly accurate. Maybe a tiny bit of line value on the Warriors' side, but with every game so meaningful at the top of the West's playoff race, it's tough to see the Jazz letting this one slip through their fingers. No real lean on the side, since both sides have merit, and no real lean on the total. This number looks very high, but if the Jazz just decide to outscore the Warriors, we could get there.

Nuggets @ Suns - Phoenix by 6 with a total of 217. This will be Phoenix's game to win or lose. The Suns are playing good ball down the stretch, while the Nuggets continue to be a little hit-or-miss with their level of intensity. The return of Kenyon Martin should certainly help, but there's no way he's at full strength. Denver is also coming off a home game with Memphis last night, and we've seen how they tend to slack off in back-to-backs, especially on the defensive end. That's just not going to get it done in a tough game with Phoenix. These two teams are hugely public clubs, and betting "overs" is not a long term winning proposition. We need to pick our spots on the "unders", but I have a feeling this game ends up being played with significant implications. I lean to Phoenix, and I lean to the Under.

Kings @ Lakers - Los Angeles by 9.5 with a total of 199.5. I honestly don't know who's going to play in this one, and that's a great reason to knock this game off your card. I would guess that someone like Gasol could use a day off, and perhaps Kobe decides to play the first half. Too many question marks, in my opinion. I think you have to look at the Kings, since this season-ender has all the makings of a rag-tag style game with young guys getting a ton of run (especially in the second half). The Kings played their home finale last night against the Rockets, so they're basically done for the year, and the Lakers have their eye on the playoffs. Complete and utter PASS on the side, and I'd look at the Under, since I'm guessing the guys we see in this one won't be very strong outside shooters.

Sports Wagering: MLB

National League

Diamondbacks @ Dodgers (-175) with a total of 8; I. Kennedy vs. C. Kershaw;
Chris Snyder is 2-for-3 with a HR and 3 RBI off Kershaw;
Mark Reynolds is 3-for-7 off Kershaw.
The Dodgers haven't really seen Ian Kennedy, and we know he hasn't really "panned out"...yet. Is this a potential breakout year? Maybe. The Dodgers have a huge starting pitching advantage in this one, but the bullpen has been extremely shaky so far. Too expensive to get on Dodgers, and not enough evidence to support the D'backs. No leans, here.

Reds @ Marlins (-110) with a total of 8.5; B. Arroyo vs. N. Robertson;
Orlando Cabrera is 7-for-21 off Robertson since 2005;
Jonny Gomes is 3-for-5 off the Marlins lefty;
Ronny Paulino is 6-for-12 off Arroyo with 3 RBI;
Dan Uggla is 5-for-11 with a HR and 2 RBI;
Jorge Cantu is 6-for-19 with 2 HR and 3 RBI;
Chris Coghlan is 2-for-4, Wes Helms is 2-for-5, and Mike Lamb is 4-for-11 off Arroyo.
Bronson Arroyo is about as streaky as they come, and he dominated in his opener, but this is just not the team I want him facing, even when hot. Robertson pitched well in his first game with Florida, and the Reds haven't seen much of him. At this price, neither side is all that compelling. I might look at the Under, believe it or not.

Mets @ Rockies (-160) with a total of 9.5; J. Maine vs. G. Smith;
Gary Matthews Jr is 5-for-15 with 2 RBI off Greg Smith;
John Maine is 2-1, 2.66 ERA against Colorado in his career;
Todd Helton is 3-for-8 off John Maine;
Seth Smith is 1-for-2, but that was a HR.
John Maine has pitched well against the Rockies best hitters, which makes him something of a live dog. The Mets have been downright bad offensively this year, which makes them a tough team to back, but in terms of situations to get +150 odds, fading Greg Smith, an unproven bottom-of-the-rotation hurler, is certainly a potential opportunity. Lean to Mets. No lean on the total.

Pirates @ Giants (-210) with a total of 7.5; P. Maholm vs. M. Cain;
Paul Maholm is 1-1, 2.85 ERA against the Giants;
Ronny Cedeno is 2-for-11, Ryan Church is 1-for-8, Bobby Crosby is 1-for-15, Ryan Doumit is 2-for-11, Garrett Jones is 1-for-6, Andrew McCutchen is 0-for-5, and Delwyn Young is 0-for-6 off Cain;
Pablo Sandoval is 3-for-6 off Maholm;
Mark DeRosa is 5-for-16 with a HR off Maholm;
Edgar Renteria is 4-for-12 off Paul;
This is a ton of value to get with a strong, young pitcher like Maholm, but unlike yesterday where we felt that Barry Zito doesn't warrant -200 odds, Matt Cain does. This line is fairly accurate, as Cain has positively dominated just about every regular in the Pirates lineup, and while Maholm hasn't been bad against the Giants, the Pirates won't win a close game. I'd look at the Under before either side.

American League

Royals @ Tigers (-155) with a total of 9.5; B. Bannister vs. D. Willis;
Johnny Damon was 6-for-8 lifetime off Bannister with a HR and 4 RBI before last week;
Miguel Cabrera has homered twice, and Carlos Guillen was 5-for-12;
Bannister is 4-2 against the Tigers, 2.09 ERA.
This is another rematch, and so far, rematches have been fairly predictable. Last week, the world backed Bannister at home, and he and Dontrelle pitched to a 2-1 Royals lead, at which point the Tigers pen gave up 1 run, and the Royals pen gave up 6. That can change things quickly. I'm curious to see if Dontrelle can throw the ball well in front of the home crowd, but I don't know how you can avoid Bannister this time. His pen let him down a week ago, but with 10-15 more pitches in his tank, Bannister should be able to make a push for 7 innings. Lean to KC. Lean to the Under in spacious Comerica.

Angels @ Yankees (-180) with a total of 10; E. Santana vs. A. Pettitte;
Erick Aybar is 7-for-16 with 2 RBI off Pettitte;
Mike Napoli is 5-for-9 off the veteran southpaw;
Brandon Wood is 2-for-3 with a HR, Jeff Mathis is 3-for-9, and Maicer Izturis is 2-for-4;
Ervin Santana has a career 5.21 ERA against New York;
Andy Pettitte has a career 5.68 ERA against LAA;
Derek Jeter is batting .435 off Santana over the last 5 years with 2 HR and 2 RBI.
Santana's ERA against New York isn't very good, but he's 5-2 in his career, and a lot of that has to do with limiting damage. He gives up the home run ball, but the Yankees don't put as many guys on base against Santana as the numbers might indicate. The Angels are slumping, but I think the Yankees are over-pumped for this one, and there might be some value in the scrappy Halos.

Rays (-125) @ Orioles with a total of 9; J. Niemann vs. B. Matusz;
Brian Roberts was 8-for-18 with 2 HR and 4 RBI off Jeff Niemann (but on the DL now);
Nick Markakis was 6-for-16 with a HR and 3 RBI;
Matt Wieters was 5-for-7 with 3 RBI, and Ty Wigginton was 3-for-6 with a HR;
Ben Zobrist was 2-for-3 off Brian Matusz with a HR and 4 RBI.
All of those numbers are not counting the meeting a week ago.
We backed the Orioles at a big dog price last week, and picked up a win, though Jeff Niemann was knocked out of the game by a line drive very early on. Believe it or not, I'm tempted to back the O's again. Matusz isn't going to be getting this kind of value all season, and without the 5 walks he issued in a jittery start in Tampa, this kid could potentially dominate the game for 7 innings. Niemann struggles with the O's, but Baltimore struggles to hit with RISP. Slight lean to Baltimore to support their young stud, and slight lean to the Under until we see the O's score in bunches.

White Sox @ Blue Jays (-130) with a total of 8; G. Floyd vs. TBA;
Adam Lind is 3-for-8 with 1 HR and 4 RBI off Gavin Floyd.
Toronto is apparently being cryptic with their starters, though Ricky Romero followed Brian Tallet last week, and I would assume he'll get the nod. In any case, Gavin Floyd has been awful against Toronto in his career, but looking at the individual player numbers, it seems like his struggles weren't with the guys currently on the Jays' roster. This one is all kinds of crazy, and we may have to make some decisions when we know more. No leans yet.

Athletics (-135) @ Mariners with a total of 7.5; B. Anderson vs. D. Fister;
Ichiro was 6-for-9 off Anderson, and Mike Sweeney was 7-for-15 with a HR;
Chone Figgins was 3-for-8 off Anderson.
Brett Anderson absolutely cruised through 6 shutout innings a week ago when these two went head-to-head in a game the A's won 6-2. Something tells me this one gets played closer. I might look at the Under with neither team really all that offensively beefy, but I'm not sure I'd back Brett Anderson to throw another 6-7 shutout innings. He very well might, and maybe I'm overlooking the obvious, so I won't write it off, but I feel the line is pretty accurate.

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