Monday, May 17, 2010

Is Celtic Green Dwight Howard's Kryptonite

Yesterday was a tremendous day to be a fan of Los Angeles area sports. And no, I'm not including the Angels, because, as a native Los Angelino, I can say definitively that Anaheim is not Los Angeles. Sorry guys, that's the truth. In any case, the Lakers stomped the Suns, and the Dodgers won their 8th in a row over the Astros.

It's just too bad we didn't bet either of 'em.

Yesterday was a tremendously bad day to be a fan of the Bebe, as we got Swiffered right out of town. Lyle Overbay committed 2 errors in one play, misplayed 2 groundballs into base hits, and more or less blew any chance Toronto had of taking down the Twins, who were more than happy to accept the 3 gift runs in a pivotal 5th inning rally, the Mets and Braves practiced grounding into double plays to kill any chance we had of hitting our Over bet, and the Giants and Padres played yet another painful, offense-less game of "I can leave more runners on than you." The difference in the game? The Padres played smarter. The Giants didn't bunt, instead appearing to go for the multi-run inning despite still being unable to clear 2 runs against the Padres.

But the silver lining? It's over, and there are 17 more games (in both sports) for us to pick apart today to get our money back. No chasing, just capping, and one day isn't going to stop us!

Sports Wagering: NBA

Celtics @ Magic - Orlando by 7.5 with a total of 188.5. The total isn't that surprising, the side is a little bit. What we saw in the first game was one of the slowest, ugliest halves of basketball in the Playoffs, followed by a pretty normal half with some bonus scoring. 73 points in one half, 107 in the other. So, the total was adjusted down just a tiny bit, and in fact, there are some places where the total might have even been tested at a slightly lower number, and this one, 188.5, was the number where oddsmakers felt they'd get close to even money. I'm intrigued by this total, though, considering we had such a high scoring second half in game one. Does that sort of pace continue? I can't imagine the teams abandon defense, and I believe Orlando plays a slower tempo if they're winning or the game is close. Bottom line, there's a reason this number was left mostly intact, and it's because oddsmakers feel like they have this final score pretty well pegged. A decent shooting night would probably squeeze us up and over the total, though with the way these teams focus on the defensive end, I'm not sure we see a night of significantly better shooting. Tiny lean to the Over. On the side, I hate to say I'm leaning Orlando again, but this number being so strong outweighs a lot of the other notes. I have to say, from a pure match-up standpoint, the Celtics dominated. I think they made one huge mistake and that was giving Orlando some confidence down the stretch. The line tells me to take Orlando, but what I saw with my eyes tells me not to, as Boston was just everywhere they needed to be for the first 42 minutes of game one. I'm a little hesitant to take the Magic, since they really had to fight their butts off for every point. I'm still stroking my metaphorical beard on this one.

Sports Wagering: MLB

National League

Brewers @ Reds (-130) with a total of 9.5; M. Parra vs. H. Bailey;
I don't know precisely why my website of choice hasn't loaded up Manny Parra's stats yet, but Homer Bailey is 0-2, 8.27 against the Brewers in his career. I don't quite understand how, though. Ryan Braun is just 1-for-8, Craig Counsell is 0-for-6, Casey McGehee and Jody Gerut are both hitless. Rickie Weeks is 4-for-6, but that's about it. I can only shrug my shoulders, since the Reds just keep winning, and this might be a time to ride the hot hand.

D'backs @ Marlins (-205) with a total of 8.5; B. Buckner vs. J. Johnson;
Stephen Drew is 3-for-8 off Johnson;
Kelly Johnson is 4-for-10 off Johnson.
Yikes, bit of a lopsided match-up here. Buckner has never been all that impressive, and while the D'backs are playing very well on their current road trip, the Marlins aren't going to buckle easily, here. Johnson has a 2-1 lifetime record against Arizona and a 1.35 ERA. Not going to play the home RL, so...pass.

Pirates @ Phillies (-315) with a total of 8.5; Z. Duke vs. R. Halladay;
Bobby Crosby is 4-for-13 with a HR off Halladay since '05;
Shane Victorino is 3-for-4 off Duke;
Jayson Werth is 3-for-6 with a HR and 4 RBI off Duke.
Holy moly, this is quite a line. This game should potentially be a blowout, though I suppose Duke could very well keep it close. I want no part of it. Pass.

Mets (-120) @ Braves with a total of 8; J. Santana vs. K. Medlen;
Yunel Escobar is 6-for-18 with an RBI off Santana.
Johan has a lifetime 1-5 record against the Braves, amazingly, but an ERA of just 2.21! Talk about unlucky. Well, here he gets to face a converted relief pitcher, so he certainly has a shot. There's just something odd about this one. The Mets are bad on the road, the Braves find a way to lose just about everywhere, and it makes picking here awfully tough. Johan almost looks too easy.

Rockies @ Cubs (-115) with a total of N/A; J. Chacin vs. C. Silva;
Jason Giambi is 4-for-11 with a HR and 5 RBI off Silva since '05;
Melvin Mora is 9-for-27 with a HR and 5 RBI off Silva since '05.
Chacin had his first struggle the last time out, and as teams get the scouting report, he'll continue to run into some mild trouble. I wonder if we're getting some decent value on Silva in this match-up, though those Cubbies rarely do much to impress, and we all know the bullpen issues there. They did win in 11 innings last night, so maybe a small momentum booster, and I'd actually be more inclined to take the Cubs over the Rockies.

Nationals @ Cardinals (-265) with a total of 8; J. Lannan vs. C. Carpenter;
Felipe Lopez is 2-for-4 with an RBI off Lannan.
This is another outrageous line, and rather than waste time pouring over the numbers, it's either Washington or nothing, flat out. Lannan has a respectable 2.61 ERA against the Cards, but his 1-2 record and 6.51 ERA this season make him a scary proposition.

Giants @ Padres (-112) with a total of 6; J. Sanchez vs. M. Latos;
Without getting into the success, or failures of the batters in this matchup, we look right at another rematch, and that's the important point, here. Mat Latos 1-hit the Giants in the Bay Area, and has yet to allow a run against San Francisco in a couple of starts. Once again, I'm temped to take the Giants, but that total of 6 tells you all you need to know about this one. More to come.

Astros @ Dodgers (-215) with a total of 7.5; B. Norris vs. H. Kuroda;
The Dodgers have never seen Norris, and Kuroda shut the Astros down in his brief work against them. This is another monster line, but with our rules about home RL plays, this is another pass.

American League

Twins @ Blue Jays (-120) with a total of 8; C. Pavano vs. S. Marcum;
Justin Morneau is 3-for-5 with 2 HR and 4 RBI off Marcum;
Nick Punto is 4-for-8 off Marcum;
Vernon Wells is 6-for-16 with 2 HR and 5 RBI off Pavano since '05.
Toronto's defense soured me on them a tad last night, and I'm not sure there's a clear advantage in this one. Morneau appears to be heating up, and he's hit Marcum well in the past, and Pavano, who has struggled with Toronto, hasn't had much issue with the current lineup. I'd actually lean Twins, just a tiny bit.

Red Sox @ Yankees (-200) with a total of 9; J. Beckett vs. C. Sabathia;
You've already seen how the players perform against these pitchers in the past, and once again, we're able to save a moment by cutting to the chase. Beckett has struggled mightily this season, and Sabathia's been pretty darn solid, for the most part. The Yanks as a monster favorite make the Sox awfully tempting once again, but I think passing might be the way to go.

Royals @ Orioles (-110) with a total of 7.5; Z. Greinke vs. K. Millwood;
Billy Butler is 5-for-16 off Millwood;
Jose Guillen is 14-for-26 off Millwood with a HR and 8 RBI since '05;
Adam Jones is 2-for-5 with a HR off Greinke;
Julio Lugo is 5-for-10 off Greinke;
Nick Markakis is 3-for-10 with a HR off Greinke;
Miguel Tejada is 2-for-4 off Greinke.
Zack Greinke has struggled against the O's in his career, and while Millwood hasn't exactly been a beacon of hope against the Royals, this is a pretty cheap price to play the home team. I don't like that the Royals are starting to play a little better, but Millwood is long overdue to get a win, and today might very well be that day. Lean to the O's.

Angels @ Rangers (-130) with a total of 8; J. Weaver vs. C. Wilson;
Torii Hunter is 2-for-4 with a HR and 3 RBI off Wilson;
Howie Kendrick is 3-for-7 off Wilson;
Juan Rivera is 4-for-8 off Wilson;
Elvis Andrus is 3-for-9 off Weaver;
Josh Hamilton is 5-for-15 off Weaver.
This line looks somewhat expensive for C.J. Wilson, but I get the feeling oddsmakers aren't nuts. Neither pitcher has been tremendous against the other team, though you could argue that Weaver's been good enough to beat Texas most times out. Wilson's success this year sort of nullifies that. If there's value here, I haven't found it yet, but believe me, I'll look until first pitch!

Mariners (-140) @ Athletics with a total of 7; F. Hernandez vs. B. Sheets;
Daric Barton is 5-for-15 with 2 RBI off Hernandez;
Kevin Kouzmanoff is 3-for-10 off Hernandez;
Eric Patterson is 3-for-5 off Hernandez;
Kurt Suzuki is 3-for-9 off Hernandez.
Basically every hit the A's have collected off Hernandez has been of the 1 or 2-base variety, and so, not surprisingly, King Felix is 8-4 lifetime against Oakland with a 2.96 ERA. Ben Sheets, on the other side, has been very up and down so far this year as he continues to try to find a true rhythm. This line is fair.

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