Sunday, May 23, 2010

I Miss the Weekend

I can only say that I wish Interleague baseball would never end!

We got our asses kicked hard for the first 3 weeks of May, but when the NL decided to play the AL, that really helped turn things around. And that confidence carried over into NBA selections, as well.

In all sports, we swept 2 more plays yesterday, went 5-0 on Saturday and Sunday, combined, and 7-1 over the weekend. It's really amazing what a couple wins can do to put some pep back in a man's step.

A recap of yesterday saw us suffer through another improbable comeback by our opponent, but snatch victory back in extra innings. On Saturday, the Twins blew a 4-run, 9th inning lead, but won in extras, and yesterday, the Nationals blew a 2-run, 9th inning advantage, but won the game on a Josh Willingham walk-off shot in the 10th. It's amazing that we got outscored 7-1 in the 9th inning the last 2 days, but still managed to win those games. That tells you something about how spot on the first 8 innings must have gone. In any case, a win's a win, and while our sphincters may be tired from clenching, the Nats pulled it out.

The Phoenix Suns completed yesterday's mini-sweep with a gutsy effort against the visiting Lakers. The Suns were the aggressors on the offensive end, and when a zone defense helped force the non-Kobes into some missed outside shots, the Suns were able to take a lead, and, for the most part, hang on.

Very short Monday card, so we're only going to be making a SMALL play. I'm not about to give back what we got going over the weekend. That being said, I do think it's a winner, so feel free to cruise on over to the Pro Page, and check out the haps.

Sports Wagering: NBA

Magic @ Celtics - Boston by 6 with a total of 186.5. Adjust, adjust, and adjust some more, has really not only been the motto of this series for oddsmakers, but of the 2nd and 3rd rounds of the Playoffs, in total. One team just keeps dominating, just about everywhere you look, but absolutely, positively, the Celtics have owned the Magic in every aspect of the game. There is literally nothing that the Magic are doing better than Boston, and so, when Boston was a +7 dog on the road, we were mildly surprised when they were laying 3 or 4 at home, and now that number has jumped another 2 points with the Magic on the brink of elimination. And in most circumstances, you'd start with the underdog and work your way towards the favorite, but I'm just not sure we can do that with this series. The Magic are clearly not involved in this series, the pride is just not there, and I'll point to one moment in game three when we knew (a) that our Boston wager was in great shape, and (b) that Orlando wasn't going to play the rest of the series - the end of the first quarter, when the Magic should have played for the last shot, they paid no attention to the game, Dwight Howard got fouled with 9 seconds left, and made 1 of 2. Yeah, the Magic got a point, and obviously, scoring helps a team win, but the fact that they were so disengaged with the game that they'd commit a sin that a High School Varsity team shouldn't commit in, arguably, the biggest game of their season just illustrates the extreme mental edge the Celtics have in this series, on top of their physical advantages. This series is over. Yes, based on power numbers, Orlando is getting about 3 points of value against the line, but at the same time, how many points is pride worth? 3? More? I wouldn't touch Orlando, here. If you're going to play Boston, though, definitely consider playing it small. This is a lot to lay for any team, especially one that was a 7-point dog a week ago, but for me, it's Boston or nothing. On the total, we had game two come close to going over, and the others have stayed well under the mark - honestly, while the line appears to be moving up from the opening number, I'm not sure we get to this number, either. If Orlando gets behind, though, my concern is that they stop taking things seriously, and the game turns into a bit of a scoring fest. I don't believe there's a strong edge built into this total, and oddsmakers know they can split money if they just keep it where it sits. With the Magic likely getting eliminated, there should be ample fouling, so I lean just a tad to the Over, but we'd need a quick start to get there.

Sports Wagering: MLB

National League

Pirates @ Reds (-185) with a total of 9.5; A. Harang vs. B. Burres;
Orlando Cabrera is 5-for-11 off Burres.
This price is a tad exorbitant for the Reds, even though Cincinnati is the clear better team in this battle. But Harang, for all his improvements since an awful start, still seems to be the guy that either gets a bad break, gives up a key homer, or doesn't get run support, and the Reds find a way to lose in his starts. Burres isn't good, there's no mistaking that, but the Pirates have cashed a few tickets as a big dog already this season, and considering Burres is 2-1 this year, he's gotten a little lucky, and that doesn't usually regress to the mean every 3 weeks. He could get lucky again, so this one is a big fat pass!

American League

White Sox (-168) @ Indians with a total of 8; J. Danks vs. J. Masterson;
Alex Rios is 3-for-9 with a HR off Masterson;
Russell Branyan is 4-for-5 off Danks;
Shin-Soo Choo is 6-for-13 with a HR and 3 RBI off Danks.
Justin Masterson is 0-1 against the Sox, but his ERA is just 1.59, so he's been decent enough against the weak-hitting team from the South Side. John Danks is 3-3 with a 2.26 ERA this season, but just 2-5 in his career against the Indians with an ERA of almost 5. Pretty odd discrepancy, and as you can see, Shin-Soo Choo hits him well. The White Sox have a lot of their power from the right side of the plate (Konerko, Quentin, Rios), so Masterson's hard sinker could be an interesting weapon, and even though it's a bit of a longshot, I would offer a lean to the Indians.

Red Sox @ Rays (-130) with a total of 9; C. Buchholz vs. W. Davis;
Not a great deal of historical data on the Boston side, here, as Wade Davis did struggle in his brief look at the Red Sox last year, but bounced back with 5 innings of 1-run ball this season, and the sample size is so small I don't know if we can draw many conclusions from it. Maybe more important is that Davis is coming off a series of "decent" outings, giving up 2 runs to the Yanks in 6 innings his last time out, after surrendering 3 runs in each of 2 starts prior to that one. So Davis can get hit - he's got great stuff, which means it's going to be tough to light him up, but he's rarely perfect. Buchholz is just 2-2 against Tampa Bay, but his 2.01 ERA against them definitely reflects the lack of success most of the Rays bats have had against Clay. I might actually take a peek at the Under, despite the two offenses being fairly prolific, and with Buchholz pitching well his last 2 starts, the Under and the Sox are both on the table.

Blue Jays @ Angels (-130) with a total of 9; B. Cecil vs. J. Saunders;
Lyle Overbay is 3-for-10 off Saunders.
Brett Cecil is coming off a nice start, and Saunders is coming off a crazy-impressive resurgence that has seen him allow just 2 earned runs over his last 3 starts. And that, after getting off to an awful start, so the Angels have to be happy as clams to see Saunders rolling like this. The Angels haven't seen Cecil, so that makes handicapping his likely performance tough, though I'd say it's fair to say that Saunders having another good start isn't that much of a stretch. And both teams come into this series having scored a ton of runs in their weekend Interleague matchup. For that reason, I wonder if the Under isn't the way to look. With both pitchers potentially dealing, this one could sneak under the total, but we're taking a huge risk betting against the big bats. Tough game, tough card.

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