Saturday, May 22, 2010

Interleague Madness, Day 3

That sound you heard right around 11pm EST was the sound of your buddy Dan Bebe letting out a massive sigh of relief. Why? Well, after what's been a rough month of May, things are finally turning!

Quick recap:

In our afternoon Free 1* play, we got a win with the Twins. After suffering through one of the most painful top halves of the 9th inning that I can remember, the Twins giving up 5 runs to turn a 6-2 lead into a 7-6 deficit, Minnesota somehow managed to tie it in the 9th, and win it in the 12th.

In our evening MLB Top Play on the Diamondbacks, Arizona jumped out to an early 8-1 lead and managed to let that lead hold up, taking care of business, and winning another one from the Jays by the final score of 8-5.

And finally, in a rare move, we tossed line value to the wind and made a Top NBA Play on the Boston Celtics. The line had been adjusted in Orlando's favor, but watching the first two games, the one thing I noticed was that Orlando never figured out how to deal with Boston. It wasn't like the Magic were really close; it was that Boston took its foot off the gas pedal too soon in both games and let the Magic have some life. Such was not the case at home, as the Celtics went for the jugular and let by over 30 points in a decisive game three win.

The big news today is that the daily podcast "Today in Sports Betting" is going to a slightly new format, with ONE weekend show that focuses on a broader picture. This weekend's episode, with Mike Hook and Sac Lawson, takes an in-depth look at how to handicap Interleague baseball, as well as the current battle taking place between NBA bettors that like to bet the better team and those that like to bet with the built-in line value. It's a great show, and this entire paragraph is one huge link to the podcast player, so enjoy!

And remember, keep posting links!

Sports Wagering: NBA

Lakers @ Suns - Phoenix by 2.5 with a total of 219. I think one of the most interesting notes on this game is the fact that this line came out at 2.5, and 2.5 is precisely where it sits. This tells us that books are getting fairly balanced action despite having this line up for almost half a week, and despite the Lakers, who blew out Phoenix in each of the first two games, catching points on the road, things aren't changing. That is a strong line indicator in favor of the Suns. On top of that, this is the first time the Suns have been the favorite in a LA/Phoenix game this season, despite having played 6 times already. We can even dial things back a tad farther, and say that the Lakers have been the favorite in at least the last 8 meetings, and I'm sure if I visited another stats page, I'd learn that number is even higher (anyone that wants to save me 10 minutes, feel free to post how long it's been since Phoenix was the favorite). That is another very strong number for Phoenix. Digging deep, there are very few things pointing to LA in this game besides the fact that the Suns haven't played any defense so far. It is indeed disconcerting that the Suns have been giving up 120+ points to the Lakers in each game in LA, though I have to believe that number comes down just because of the change in venue. The Lakers are 17-for-33 from long range in the series so far, and that number is insane for any team, let alone a Lakers club that shot around 36% from distance for the season. They won't make 55% from distance in game three, and while the Lakers will continue to have a heck of an advantage on the interior, I think the Suns crowd pushes them to greater heights. Lean to Phoenix. On the total, the rapidly increasing number is starting to make that Under look pretty delectable. Is it time to unload yet? Maybe, maybe not, but I definitely lean Under.

Sports Wagering: MLB

National League

Braves (-155) @ Pirates with a total of 8.5; K. Medlen vs. Z. Duke;
Chipper Jones is 11-for-21 with a HR and 2 RBI off Duke;
Brian McCann is 3-for-8 with a HR and 2 RBI off Duke;
Nate McLouth is 3-for-4 with a HR off Duke;
Martin Prado is 6-for-12 with a HR and 5 RBI off Duke.
Ah, sweet National League tilt, why couldn't you have some shorter lines? This is a very, very high price tag on a converted reliever (Medlen), going against a guy that just pitched his team past Roy Halladay. The current Braves have definitely hit Duke hard, and Atlanta is playing better baseball over the last couple weeks, but can we really lay -155 when Duke just led the Pirates to a win as a +340 underdog? I think this line is pretty fair, and I'd probably leave this one alone.

Interleague Play

Reds (-140) @ Indians with a total of 9.5; H. Bailey vs. D. Huff;
Orlando Cabrera is 4-for-12 off Huff;
Ramon Hernandez is 4-for-5 with a HR and 4 RBI off Huff;
Brandon Phillips is 3-for-5 with 3 RBI off Huff;
Joey Votto is 3-for-4 with 2 HR and 4 RBI off Huff.
Homer Bailey is, somehow, 2-0 against the Indians with a 6.91 ERA, even though the current Indians haven't done much of anything against him. As you can see from the player numbers, there are a few Reds that have hit Huff hard. Really, who hasn't? Huff is 1-6 with a 5.36 ERA this year and 0-1, 13.50 ERA overall against the Reds. This means, what? That's right - there's very little value fading a guy that the oddsmakers presume isn't going to draw any money. The Reds will probably win the game, but laying -140 on the road is a little risky. Bailey has made 2 solid starts in a row, though, and when he gets hot, he was one of the best in the Bigs near the end of 2009. Microscopic lean to Cincy, but the price just isn't quite right.

Orioles @ Nationals (-110) with a total of 8.5; K. Millwood vs. J. Lannan;
Garrett Atkins is 3-for-4 off Lannan;
Adam Jones is 4-for-8 off Lannan;
Luke Scott is 3-for-7 with a HR off Lannan;
Adam Dunn is 4-for-6 with 3 HR and 4 RBI off Millwood since '05;
Willie Harris is 3-for-8 off Millwood.
Beware Adam Dunn in this one. Considering Millwood's big problem has been the home run, and considering Dunn has hit 3 homers in just 6 AB against Millwood, yeah, bleacher seats might be fun in this one. Of course, the rest of the guys in this one haven't done a great deal against the opposing starter. I will note, though, that this line is giving John Lannan a lot of credit. He's 1-2 this year with a 6.02 ERA (2-1, 3.66 ERA against Baltimore), but laying home chalk against the ever-consistent Millwood is something to note. Lannan is coming off a decent start against the Cardinals, too, so he's trending in the right direction. Slight lean to the Nats.

Red Sox @ Phillies (-230) with a total of 8.5; T. Wakefield vs. R. Halladay;
J.D. Drew is 9-for-30 with a HR and 1 RBI off Halladay since '05;
Victor Martinez is 5-for-15 off Halladay;
Marco Scutaro is 3-for-7 off Halladay;
Kevin Youkilis is batting .367 in 49 AB off Halladay since '05, with a HR and 7 RBI.
These giant spreads probably aren't going to make our final cut but for maybe once every few weeks, and I'm not in the business of fading Roy Halladay. Wakefield's knuckler hasn't really been fully functional this season, and while the current Phils haven't done much against him, it's tough to know who might have success against a knuckleball long term. Halladay is an even 14-14 lifetime against the BoSox, so I'd play Boston or nothing here, but unless you're going wildly high volume, pass.

Cubs @ Rangers (-175) with a total of 9; C. Silva vs. C. Wilson;
Michael Young is 11-for-32 with a HR and 6 RBI off Silva.
It's sort of a curious stat that Carlos Silva is a career 4-4, 5.20 against the Rangers, as the current Texas lineup, aside from Young, has done absolutely nothing against him. Vlad Guerrero is hitting .160, Ian Kinsler .100, and so on. So, how on Earth is that ERA 5.20? Well, the simple answer is that those were the "old" Rangers, but really, who did the damage? Doesn't matter to us, now. I happen to think this is another game that could go Under the total. Wilson is coming off far and away his worst start of the year, and that is the one thing making the Under too dicey for me. It does make Silva and the Cubs look like a tempting large underdog, and I'll go ahead and add them to my watch list.

Marlins (-140) @ White Sox with a total of 8; J. Johnson vs. F. Garcia;
Ronny Paulino is 2-for-2 off Garcia;
Dan Uggla and Hanley Ramirez are each 2-for-6 with a HR off Garcia;
A.J. Pierzynski is 3-for-3 with 2 RBI off Johnson.
Josh Johnson is rolling of late, and that's why I fear this line. At 4-1 with a 2.68 ERA, you'd figure Johnson would be laying more than 140 against a low/mid-level team like the White Sox. Freddy Garcia has been fairly reliable so far this year, never amazing, never horrible. The current Marlins haven't seen a ton of Garcia, though he did pitch briefly for Philly, so they got a few AB against him then. Johnson, amazingly is 0-1 with a 9.82 ERA against the White Sox, but the current Chicago lineup hasn't seen much of him, at all. Weak lean to Florida, though they seem a tad shell-shocked in Chicago so far.

Rays (-200) @ Astros with a total of 7.5; D. Price vs. B. Norris;
No one has seen anyone else, here, so we're going to just pass. Like I've said, if you're a volume guy, maybe you break this one down, but as it is, Price is pitching like the #1 guy he is, Norris stinks against everyone other than the Cardinals, and there's just no value here.

Rockies @ Royals (-145) with a total of 8.5; A. Cook vs. Z. Greinke;
Ryan Spilborghs, Carlos Gonzalez and Brad Hawpe are each 2-for-3 off Greinke;
David DeJesus is 2-for-2 off Cook.
Cook and the Rockies had a rich history of losing in Kansas City before finally grabbing a win last night behind a strong pitching performance, again, from Jeff Francis. I happen to like the way the Royals are playing lately, as they held the Rockies to only a few runs even in a losing effort. They're pitching way, way better under Ned Yost, but the lack of offense yesterday was disconcerting. This is a pretty nice price to get Greinke at home against a team the Royals have played well against, but not sure that Greinke is worth this price unless he's for sure going 8 innings. Slight, slight lean to Royals, though Cook's been pitching well, so this one isn't likely to make the final cut.

Brewers @ Twins with a total of N/A; M. Estrada vs. C. Pavano;
Ryan Braun is 2-for-3 with a HR and 4 RBI off Pavano;
Casey McGehee is 3-for-3 off Pavano;
Michael Cuddyer is 2-for-2 with a HR and 3 RBI off Parra;
Brendan Harris is 3-for-5 off Parra.
Pavano is coming off a very ugly outing, and Estrada, well, he got slotted in late because Manny Parra was used in yesterday's extra-inning loss, which makes handicapping his work a little tougher. I would say that, given the rather hefty chalk it would take to back the Twins, and given how the Brewers are just playing terrible baseball, we should look at the total, if anything. I think it could sneak up and Over, if the bullpens give up a few. Probably a pass, when push comes to shove, though.

Angels @ Cardinals (-170) with a total of 7; J. Weaver vs. C. Carpenter;
Bobby Abreu is 6-for-8 with a HR and 7 RBI off Carpenter;
Matt Holliday and Albert Pujols are combined 3-for-3 with a HR and 4 RBI off Weaver.
Jered Weaver has an ERA of 9.00 against the Cardinals, and though the historical numbers are weak, it seems like Saint Louis has opted to wake up a little in this series, so I'm afraid of the big dog. Carpenter has a career 1-2 record against the Angels, but again, Bobby Abreu is the only current Halo that has even seen Carpenter. He's hit him hard, but one guy isn't going to beat Carp. Pass.

Giants (-120) @ Athletics with a total of 7.5; J. Sanchez vs. B. Sheets;
Considering that Sanchez has faced the A's a few times, and Sheets has seen plenty of San Francisco from his time in the NL, there aren't too many impressive numbers to cite, offensively. So, it should come as no surprise that Sheets is 4-2, 2.36 ERA lifetime against the Giants, and Sanchez has a 3.38 ERA against Oakland. This total is low for a reason, and in this extremely spacious ballpark, behind the up-and-down Ben Sheets (whose last 3 starts have been "okay"), I think the Giants struggle to score again. As far as Oakland is concerned, Sanchez has been pretty reliable all season -- his walks are still a tad too high, but they're better than usual, and the A's are mostly without sock in that lineup. Slight lean to the Under.

Tigers @ Dodgers (-160) with a total of 8; R. Porcello vs. H. Kuroda;
Jamey Carroll is really the only player on either team that has legitimately seen the other team's starting pitcher, and going just on this season's results, you have to like the Dodgers, here. Kuroda has so much movement on his pitches, and throws so many variations on the slider, curve, change, sinker, that the Tigers are going to have their hands full trying to get a feel for his stuff. On the other bump, Porcello is a one-trick pony, but the pony forgot how to do his trick, if that makes sense. That was my "House, M.D." way of saying that Porcello's sinker isn't sinking. The Dodgers are too tough to bet against in a spot where the opposing starter could blow up, but probably too expensive to back when Manny's hurting, Ethier's on the DL, and we'll likely get the Sunday afternoon 2nd unit out there.

Padres @ Mariners (-140) with a total of 7; M. Latos vs. F. Hernandez;
Considering the current Padres don't have any particular success against Hernandez (though I guess Adrian Gonzalez hitting .286 isn't too bad), this line is downright EERILY low. Considering Cliff Lee opened as a -180 favorite against Wade LeBlanc, who was having a better season than Latos is, and Hernandez is still one of the scariest pitchers in the League, I honestly just don't understand the 40 cent difference in the Padres direction. Even if you argued that Cliff Lee was 25-30 cents better than Hernandez, can you really argue that Latos is 15 cents better than LeBlanc? Nope, this line is all kinds of goofy, and I think it's telling us Latos is ready to rock. Lean to the Padres.

Blue Jays (-145) @ D'backs with a total of 9.5; S. Marcum vs. B. Buckner;
No historical data, here, so we'll go on recent starts. Or, wait, Buckner's only got one of those. This is a near-impossible game to handicap from a pure numbers standpoint, so we'll have to dig deeper. I'd like to first point out that Marcum is laying bigger opening chalk on the road than Felix Hernandez is at home in the game above. More proof that that line is all kinds of insane. This one, on the other hand, seems to be asking for D'back money. Marcum has been one of the most reliable pitchers in the AL, just going out there and giving his team 7 innings just about every time out. However, I'm not in the business of laying -145 on the road, especially against such an unknown like Buckner. Pass.

Yankees (-145) @ Mets with a total of 7.5; C. Sabathia vs. J. Santana;
Robinson Cano is 7-for-17 off Santana since '05;
Derek Jeter is 10-for-18 with a HR and 5 RBI off Santana since '05;
Rod Barajas is 4-for-9 with 2 HR and 4 RBI off Sabathia.
Both of these starters have a couple guys on the other team that give them fits, but both starters have basically shut down completely everyone else on those teams. Sabathia is 2-0 against the Mets in his career with a 1.20 ERA. Santana has an ERA of 4.40 against the Yanks, but he's 4-2, so he's been strong enough to win. This should be a very good game to watch, and not a very good one to bet on, unfortunately. I think both starters throw the ball well, and that total of 7.5 for a Yankees game is certainly indicative of just that, but it's also too low to have value on the Under. Most likely a pass, though maybe we'll put an action play on it (1/4-unit, max) just to get something going on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball.

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