Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Glen "Big Woozy" Davis

A funny thing happened on the way to the gym...

Okay, jokes aside, and weird references aside, as well, but a funny thing did happen yesterday -- this handicapper made the huge mistake of forgetting the start time of one of his picks. For me, that was the Royals-Rangers game. I placed the wager, put the Free Play out, and went about my business, assuming I'd tune in at 8pm and take in some quality Royals baseball. Instead, I got back from a gym trip to an email from "guevones" congratulating the both of us on that winner. I suppose if I'm going to mess up a start time, that's about as well as it could have gone, but I still felt foolish. I hope you guys at least got a laugh out of me being a dummy!

We dropped our MLB Paid Play on the Rays, as we banked on Tampa avoiding getting swept at home, but the Red Sox, well, mostly Adrian Beltre, decided it was time to demolish Matt Garza. Kudos to the Red Sox, who are just rolling right now, and picked up an insanely difficult road sweep in St. Petersburg.

That loss on the Rays was actually our first PAID loser since late last week, so we have really been on a nice run, and with a strong Thursday, we can pick up where we left off just about 36 hours ago!

Sports Wagering: NBA

Suns @ Lakers - Los Angeles by 7.5 with a total of 218.5. I thought maybe we were past this Lakers garbage. It sure seemed like it when they steamrolled through the 2nd round of the Playoffs, jamming on the hapless Jazz in the process. I'll say, Phoenix has some serious heart, but I also think the Lakers just haven't been completely committed to winning on the road in this series. I thought the Lakers would win game 4, definitely not a strong enough lean to make it a play, but I was surprised to see such a weak effort from some of those key guys, especially since they'd had a couple days to prepare for the Phoenix zone. Of course, we saw something similar in, well, almost every Lakers Playoff series against a slightly weaker opponent ever, and if history has taught us anything, it's that the Lakers have a knack for cranking up the intensity in game 5 at home, and that Phil Jackson doesn't lose a playoff series when he wins game 1. This is a pretty hefty line to cover, though, and I have to think this line is high enough that it should split the money relatively well. Some are going to look at the last 2 games and say that the Suns have woken up. Some are going to look at the first 2 games of the series and remark that the Lakers seem to be able to lay a certain smack on the Suns at home, and it's our job to figure out which is true. Based on what we've seen on a nightly basis, I have to think the Lakers get the job done, but this line is going to be pretty accurate. The Lakers are going to make more of those outside shots that weren't falling against the Phoenix zone on the road, and the Suns reserves, who had themselves a case of the epic-fails in LA the first two games, are probably going to go back to struggling, or at least won't perform as well as they did in game 4, where the bench was the difference in the game. And, as we've seen, when a team wins a game in this series, they open up a reasonable lead. It's a tough, one, though, since we can look at game 2, and note that the Suns were right there until a quick burst midway through the 4th quarter put the Lakers up by a sizable number. If not for a very poor 4 minute stretch in that final quarter, that game might have been close, and I suppose there is a certain worry that game 5 could go the same way for the first 40 minutes, and the Suns might make a push at the tail end. Tiny, tiny lean to Lakers, but it isn't going to be easy. And the total came down just a tad, but if we've learned anything, it's that these players will truly go above and beyond to make sure the total goes over every darn time, or at least sets up a middle. But it's just at that moment when no one thinks the game can go Under that a game finally goes Under, and we've seen 2 very fluky games in Phoenix, with, what, 40 combined points in the last 2 minutes of each game? This one ends at 211. Let's put 1/10 of a unit on that to win 7/10 of a unit. Or not. But I do lean Under.

Sports Wagering: MLB

National League

Astros @ Brewers (-135) with a total of 9; B. Myers vs. D. Bush;
Lance Berkman is 11-for-34 with 4 RBI off Bush since '05;
Michael Bourn is 4-for-8 off Bush;
Hunter Pence is 7-for-14 with a HR and 2 RBI off Bush.
This is about the last thing a capper should admit to, and I can't check it because my records don't go back far enough, but I would be willing to offer that there are maybe 2-3 pitchers in the game that I've done a worse job of handicapping than Dave Bush. He just has a knack for throwing a clunker when I think he's ready to crush, and go 8 shutout frames when I think he's about to tumble. Bush is 6-1 lifetime against the Astros, so this is a team he normally succeeds against, and despite his 1-5 record this year, and 5.59 ERA, those numbers against Houston might have something to do with this eerily high line. The Brewers are 1-8 in Bush's 9 starts this year, and he's coming off a start where he went just 0.1 innings, so he's not too attractive. Brett Myers has been pretty consistent, and his 4-1, 1.77 lifetime mark against Milwaukee makes Houston attractive. I don't know how anyone can back Bush, here, but his success against just this one team makes me think passing might be wise, or the Under.

Dodgers @ Cubs (-125) with a total of N/A; J. Ely vs. T. Lilly;
Jamey Carroll is 4-for-13 with a HR and 3 RBI off Lilly since '05;
Matt Kemp is 3-for-7 with 2 HR off Lilly.
Matt Kemp is clearly the dangerous righthanded bat in that Dodgers lineup against Lilly, as he's held Manny in check. The Cubs haven't seen John Ely, but he continues to do a nice job of holding teams to just a couple runs, and an even better job of throwing strikes. He makes teams earn it, and that means the Dodgers have a shot to win every time out. I think we're getting a nice price on LA, here, with the not-quite-full-strength Lilly on the opposite bump, and a relative unknown going for LA. Lilly is 3-1 in his career against the Dodgers, though, and he does seem to be improving in every start. Slight lean to LA, but this is another tread lightly game.

Diamondbacks (-120) @ Rockies with a total of 9.5; D. Haren vs. J. Hammel;
REMATCH ALERT! As you guys know, I generally forgo the player stats, since there's no point in retyping old notes when the real key to this game is deciding whether or not we have value in backing the loser of round 1. Interestingly, this game has just about the same line as the first meeting, which was also in Colorado, and was 100% dominated by Haren, who went 8 innings and allowed just 2 runs. Hammel went just 3 innings, gave up 5, and fell to 2-1 against the D'backs with a 4.87 ERA. Haren is 6-4 lifetime against the Rox with a 3.08 ERA, so he's been decent against Colorado most of the time. Still, not his best season, and the reason has been, quite obviously, the dinger. Haren is still fanning plenty, and he's not walking many, but he's given up 12 homers already, 1 to these Rockies. I don't think the rematch angle is "in play" on this one, since Hammel still stinks a month later, and Haren is still getting a little unlucky. I lean to a second beating at the hands of the Snakes.

Nationals @ Giants (-175) with a total of 8; C. Stammen vs. B. Zito;
Willie Harris is 3-for-5 with a HR off Zito.
Not a ton to work with on the Stammen side of things, as he is 0-0 against the Giants with a 6.00 ERA. Zito is 2-2 against Washington lifetime with a 4.33 ERA, but of course, he's been excellent this year. Sorry Craig Stammen, you're not very good, and I'm not sure you ever will be. No leans here, Giants too expensive thanks to offensive woes, and Washington putting a guy on the mound that could give up 4 runs before the seats are warm. Pass.

Cardinals @ Padres (-125) with a total of 7; P. Walters vs. W. LeBlanc;
Wow, this seems like an awfully cheap price for Wade LeBlanc against a guy that really hasn't done anything. I'll be honest - I don't know a ton about P.J. Walters, so no real leans as of yet, but based on the eerily low line, I'd have to say the Cardinals might sneak a win, here. Padres just look too easy, don't they? More info to come, more thoughts to come, no plays for now.

Braves @ Marlins (-110) with a total of 8; T. Hudson vs. R. Nolasco;
Yunel Escobar is 9-for-22 with a HR and 3 RBI off Nolasco;
Chipper Jones is 11-for-26 with 4 HR and 8 RBI off Nolasco;
Brian McCann is 10-for-31 with 4 HR and 11 RBI off Nolasco;
Jorge Cantu is 5-for-11 with 3 RBI off Hudson;
Dan Uggla is 11-for-33 with a HR and 4 RBI off Hudson.
Tim Hudson fears no fish. 8-2 lifetime against Florida with a 2.92 ERA, and he's been better than that this season against the League, at 5-1 with a 2.09 ERA. He's been outstanding in every start this year, so you certainly know what you're going to get. Nolasco, 3-4, with a 4.43 ERA against Atlanta, has been both very good and very bad this year, and against the Braves, in general. Ricky is coming off a start in Chicago where he allowed 8 runs to the weak-hitting White Sox, and I just wonder if this is a bounceback spot, or if Nolasco is in a tiny rut. I can't help but lean to the Braves, here, with Hudson's strong numbers.

Phillies (-130) @ Mets with a total of 8; C. Hamels vs. M. Pelfrey;
Greg Dobbs is 7-for-13 with a HR and 3 RBI off Pelfrey before 2010;
Ryan Howard is 10-for-23 with a HR and 3 RBI off Pelfrey before 2010;
Chase Utley was 7-for-23 with 4 HR and 8 RBI off Pelfrey before 2010;
Luis Castillo was 5-for-11 off Hamels with 2 RBI;
David Wright is 8-for-23 with a HR and 3 RBI off Hamels.
Hamels didn't face the Mets when these teams squared off in Philadelphia earlier this year, but Pelfrey wasn't so lucky. He got creamed by the Phils in a game that the Mets eventually lost 10-0. Pelfrey is now 4-3 against Philadelphia with a 5.43 ERA, and as you can see, there are a handful of Phils that do hit him hard. Hamels is just 2-4 with a 4.12 ERA against the Mets, but has pitched very well in May, and you have to wonder if he's turning the corner. Still, Pelfrey is good at home, and the Mets are good at home, and because we have decent situational angles for both sides, this puppy is a pass.

Pirates @ Reds (-200) with a total of 8.5; C. Morton vs. J. Cueto;
This is another spot where I'm not too overly concerned with the player numbers, since Cueto has faced the Pirates twice already this year, giving up 3 runs in 5 innings in April, then throwing a complete game shutout a month later. He's 7-2 with a 3.30 ERA against the Pirates, so this is a very difficult game to truly find value in. Bad grammar alert, there. In any case, Morton is 1-8 with an 8.71 ERA, so there isn't going to be any good value in fading him, not with those numbers, and Cueto, who is pitching well, is going to cause the line to stay relatively inflated, too. Pass.

American League

Athletics (-120) @ Orioles with a total of 9; G. Gonzalez vs. B. Bergesen;
Minimal data to work with in this one. Gio is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA against Baltimore, but how much does that tell us? Not much. Bergesen has been pretty bad in just about every start other than 2 good ones in early May. If you're going to play a game where we don't know a ton about the starters, you have to like the upward trend that Gonzalez is on, and you have to dislike the fact that Bergesen has allowed 10 runs (9 earned) in his last 2 starts, both Baltimore losses. Not sure there's a ton of value laying road chalk with Gonzalez, but Oakland should win this one. Slight lean to A's.

White Sox @ Rays (-175) with a total of 8.5; G. Floyd vs. J. Niemann;
Gordon Beckham is 3-for-3 off Niemann with an RBI;
A.J. Pierzynski is 5-for-8 off Niemann;
Ben Zobrist is 2-for-6 with 2 HR and 3 RBI off Floyd.
If I had any confidence in Gavin Floyd, this would be a nice value. He's 2-0 with a 3.21 ERA against the Rays lifetime, and Niemann, despite his 4-0, 2.54 ERA this season, is 1-2 with a 4.67 ERA against the White Sox. Floyd's numbers for 2010 make this line nice and hefty, and for a volume guy, I think you're looking at a Sox play, but for those of us trying to isolate value and winners on a daily basis, we can leave this one for those who play 9 games a night. If we backed Floyd, we'd be hoping for a lot of things to go right, and I'm just not that confident. Pass.

Royals @ Red Sox (-175) with a total of 10; B. Bannister vs. D. Matsuzaka;
David DeJesus is 3-for-7 with a HR off Matsuzaka;
Jose Guillen is 6-for-15 with 5 RBI off Daisuke;
Adrian Beltre is 5-for-11 with 2 RBI off Bannister;
J.D. Drew is 4-for-12 with a HR and 4 RBI off Bannister;
Jacoby Ellsbury is 3-for-6 off Bannister;
Bill Hall is 3-for-8 with a HR and 2 RBI off Bannister;
Jeremy Hermida is 3-for-7 with a HR and 2 RBI off Bannister.
I almost included Dustin Pedroia in there, too, as Bannister is a miserable 0-4 with a 5.87 ERA against the BoSox in his career, and despite pitching well against the League most days, just can't solve Boston. Daisuke looks like he's starting to find a form, and the Royals are a nice opponent for him, as he's 2-0 with a 2.84 ERA against Kansas City. Too expensive of a line to go with anything in particular.

Yankees (-120) @ Twins with a total of 10; J. Vazquez vs. N. Blackburn;
Derek Jeter was 3-for-7 off Blackburn with a HR and 3 RBI before 2010;
Mark Teixeira, prior to this year, was a perfect 6-for-6 off Blackburn with a HR and 5 RBI;
Michael Cuddyer is 11-for-32 with 2 HR and 6 RBI off Vazquez since '05;
Justin Morneau is 12-for-34 with 4 HR and 11 RBI off Vazquez since '05;
Delmon Young is 7-for-16 off Vazquez.
Blackburn's start was the one game the Twins finally took from the Yankees since, um, a long time ago. He's just 1-1 against NY lifetime with a 5.33 ERA, so he's not exactly a beacon of hope, but he has been the guy that, when he takes the hill, seems to mean a Twins win is en route. Vazquez has pitched much better in his last 2 starts, so all those inflated numbers aren't fully relevant. That being said, he's been downright mediocre against the Twinkies in his career, posting a 6-6 record and 5.11 ERA. If the Twins can get one more from New York, this low line would be the one. Lean to Twinkles.

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