Thursday, May 13, 2010

Lebron's Fishing Sceptre

A lot of questions were answered last night in Boston.

Was Lebron hurt? Didn't look like it.

Had Lebron quit? Didn't appear so.

Did Lebron throw game five figuring he could win game 6? No.

Had Boston figured out a way to defend the Cavaliers? It appears they did.

Will Lebron stay in Cleveland? This one still needs more time.

As far as the Playoffs are concerned, the sharp bettors finally got one this round on the total with both teams slowing to a crawl in the second half. We were able to cash a 2* play on that Under, a win we desperately needed heading into the Conference Finals, and a nice positive momentum-booster. Now, we have a couple days to shoot the breeze on the next round before hunkering down.

In the meantime, baseball. We got ourselves a wildly lucky winner yesterday with Baltimore as a +123 underdog, and quietly we've hit 3 straight on the bases. There are still plenty of both losers and winners on the way, but hopefully the elimination of second-guessing in MLB will really help keep the mojo on our side.

Sports Wagering: MLB

National League

Pirates @ Cubs (-200) with a total of N/A; B. Burres vs. T. Gorzelanny;
Steve Pearce is 2-for-2 off Gorzelanny.
I don't care at all for the side in this one. Very expensive price to pay for Gorzelanny, but his strong numbers against Pittsburgh don't exactly make the Pirates a "live" dog. The total is interesting, if only because both pitchers have seen the other team only briefly, and both pitched well. If the wind's blowing in, the Under could potentially get some short, stubby legs.

Mets @ Marlins (-135) with a total of 9; O. Perez vs. A. Sanchez;
Fernando Tatis is 2-for-4 off Sanchez;
Cody Ross is batting .346 in 26 AB off Perez, with 3 HR and 10 RBI.
Despite Oliver's control issues (and they're quite hefty), he has somehow been able to string together successful starts against the Marlins in his career. Florida is a very aggressive team, and that might play a role in his ability to wiggle through the lineup. I don't think there's enough info here to fade Ollie, and there's never enough info to warrant backing him. Pass.

Cardinals (-150) @ Reds with a total of 8.5; J. Garcia vs. A. Harang;
Skip Schumaker is 8-for-24 off Harang with a HR and 3 RBI;
Brandon Phillips is 1-for-2 with a HR and 3 RBI off Garcia.
Man, I really wish someone besides Aaron Harang was going for the Reds. Garcia's 1.18 ERA is creating a ton of value on the Cincinnati side in this one. The Reds are playing very strong baseball, the Cards are slumping badly, and if Harang can give Cincy 6 innings of decent hurling, they've got a nice shot to cash the underdog price. But Harang's 7-12 against the Cards in his career, and has a 4.57 lifetime ERA against them. It's a risky play, but it's the piping hot Reds or nothing, here.

D'backs @ Braves (-115) with a total of 9; I. Kennedy vs. K. Kawakami;
Eric Hinske is the only player on either team with more than 2 AB against the opposing starter, and he's 3-for-6 off Kennedy.
Very little information to work with, here. What we do have, though, is Ian Kennedy on a bit of a pitching hot streak, Kawakami still struggling to find his first win of the season, the D'backs bullpen putting up some of the worst numbers in the League, especially recently, and the Braves trying their best to string together more than 4-5 good innings of baseball. This game has ugly written all over it, though the very short price to play a home team is somewhat tempting.

Phillies @ Brewers (-120) with a total of 9; J. Moyer vs. R. Wolf;
Carlos Ruiz is 4-for-6 off Wolf with a HR and 3 RBI;
Shane Victorino is 3-for-9 with a HR and 2 RBI off Wolf;
Ryan Braun is 6-for-10 off Moyer with 2 HR and 4 RBI;
Craig Counsell is 2-for-2 off Moyer since '05;
Corey Hart is 4-for-11 off Moyer;
Rickie Weeks is 3-for-8 off Moyer.
That damn Brewers offense is so spotty, this game becomes unbearably difficult to handicap. Moyer is having a very nice season, already becoming the oldest pitcher in ML history to throw a complete game shutout, but if anyone is on base when Ryan Braun bats, the Brewers have a nice chance to score. Randy Wolf is right where he always is, consistently in the high 3's in ERA, and finds a way to usually go about 5-6 innings and keep his team in the game. This line is probably fair.

Nationals @ Rockies (-215) with a total of 8; L. Hernandez vs. U. Jimenez;
Willie Harris was 4-for-6 off Jimenez before 2010, with 3 RBI;
Todd Helton is batting .444 off Hernandez with 4 RBI since '05;
Ryan Spilborghs ws 3-for-5 off Hernandez before 2010.
These two guys faced off in Washington in a game the Rockies won by a very narrow margin. Both pitchers threw the ball well, but Livan gave up one too many solo shots, and Jimenez was dominant, again. Ubaldo's ERA is still below 1 run, which at this point of May is incredible. He did suffer his first loss of the year to the Dodgers, but Washington has been much less of an issue than LA, for Ubaldo. This price is too high to back the home team, and you guys know how I feel about rematches, in general, but Jimenez might be so good that he becomes the exception to the rematch rule.

Dodgers @ Padres (-145) with a total of 7.5; R. Ortiz vs. J. Garland;
Reed Johnson is 7-for-10 off Garland with 2 RBI;
Manny Ramirez is 7-for-16 off Garland with a HR and 5 RBI since '05;
Casey Blake is 8-for-27 off Garland with 2 HR and 6 RBI since '05;
Adrian Gonzalez is 4-for-7 with a HR off Ortiz.
This is likely to be the highest price you'd have to pay to back the Padres in this series, and that would be a direct result of Garland's 1.71 ERA. He's 1-1 against the Dodgers with a 2.77 ERA, but I just wonder if pitching for LAD last year hasn't given the Dodgers a slightly updated scouting report. Also, Garland has held Ethier in check in the past, but no one is holding Ethier in check this year no matter how tough. On the other side, Ramon Ortiz is a joke at this point in his career, but the Padres aren't exactly an offensive juggernaut. If this game stays close, I actually think that's a best case scenario for the Dodgers here in the opener. No real leans, though I want to lean Dodgers just because of the price.

Astros @ Giants (-140) with a total of 8.5; F. Paulino vs. T. Wellemeyer;
Lance Berkman is 3-for-9 with a HR off Wellemeyer;
Michael Bourn is 3-for-6 off Wellemeyer;
Pedro Feliz is 3-for-7 off Wellemeyer;
Hunter Pence is 4-for-10 off Wellemeyer with a HR and 3 RBI;
The current Giants are 9-for-17 off Paulino, with 2 HR and 9 RBI.
It was tough to break down individual performances for SF, since none have seen Paulino more than 4 times, but as a group, they've slapped him around. Amazingly, though, Wellemeyer actually has a higher ERA than Paulino. Felipe is 0-5 on the year, though, so he has a knack for losing. This price is about right, and with the Astros coming off a sweep in St. Louis, and the Giants coming off getting swept by the Padres, this isn't a spot I want to get involved with two bad pitchers.

American League

Red Sox (-140) @ Tigers with a total of 9.5; C. Buccholz vs. M. Scherzer;
Bill Hall is 2-for-3 off Scherzer;
Magglio Ordonez is 3-for-5 off Buccholz.
Not a ton of data, here, though Buccholz did lose once to the Tigers. Scherzer's terrible start to 2010 (marked by two exceptionally bad outings against the Twins) is getting us a pretty hefty dog price against one of Boston's weaker starters. Unfortunately, I just don't trust Scherzer. He's all over the place, and Boston has shown they can beat up on lesser starters. The value here is with the Tigers, but I doubt there's enough there to warrant a play. If Scherzer starts to get things turned around, there will still be time to ride him later.

Indians @ Orioles (-142) with a total of 9; J. Masterson vs. J. Guthrie;
Grady Sizemore is 2-for-4 with a HR and 4 RBI off Guthrie;
Luke Scott is 3-for-7 with 2 RBI off Masterson;
Matt Wieters and Ty Wigginton are each 2-for-5 off Masterson.
Another game where we're not working with a ton of historical data, though it seems like Guthrie has handled the current Indians better than his 7.56 ERA against them would indicate. Masterson is 0-3 this year, and while he's pretty tough on righthanders, he hasn't really been able to put the pieces together yet this year. The price is too high on Guthrie, and not high enough to get me on Masterson. Pass.

Twins @ Yankees (-175) with a total of 9.5; S. Baker vs. A. Burnett;
Joe Mauer is 5-for-13 with 1 RBI off Burnett;
Delmon Young is 3-for-10 off Burnett;
This game appeared to be Liriano, but a late move has left me without my numbers. More to come on this one, though everyone knows the trouble the Twinkies have with NY...

Rangers @ Blue Jays (-135) with a total of 8.5; R. Harden vs. B. Cecil;
Vernon Wells is 1-for-2 with a HR off Harden;
The current Rangers are 5-for-13 off Cecil.
More games with very little historical data. Harden faced Toronto once this year already, and was hugely inefficient, throwing 90 pitches in only 3.2 innings, and despite striking out the world, he was yanked. That being said, he's been heating up, posting an ERA in the 2's over his last few starts, and will have a chance to try to throw more strikes and be more economical against the Jays here in Canada. Cecil is throwing well, but -135 almost feels too expensive for a mostly unproven commodity. I could make arguments either way, so I'm leaning towards a pass, but I'll keep digging.

Mariners @ Rays (-165) with a total of 8; D. Fister vs. W. Davis;
Michael Saunders is 2-for-2 off Davis;
Ichiro is 2-for-3 off Davis.
And yet another game with minimal data to work with. Fister's ridiculous start to 2010 has him at 2-1, 1.71. Davis is emerging as a reliable starter for Tampa, going 3-2 with a 3.18 ERA so far this year. This price is too high for Davis, though Tampa seemed to start to get things rolling near the end of their recently-concluded road trip. That first game home is never easy, though, and with a dynamite (and red hot) starter like Fister on the other side, we have some value with the Mariners, here. They do need to hit, though, and that's always a scary proposition.

White Sox (-140) @ Royals with a total of 9; M. Buerhle vs. G. Meche;
Paul Konerko is 9-for-27 with 2 HR and 4 RBI off Meche since '05;
Alex Rios is 9-for-17 off Meche;
Mike Aviles is 5-for-16 off Buerhle;
Willie Bloomquist is 8-for-22 off Buerhle;
Billy Butler is 11-for-33 with 2 HR and 7 RBI off Buerhle;
Jason Kendall is 7-for-18 off Buerhle since '05;
Mitch Maier is 7-for-16 off Buerhle with 4 RBI.
Buerhle is coming off a decent start his last time out, but the ever-streaky left-hander just hasn't really done anything impressive since his first couple starts of the year. Plus, there's truly minimal value on the White Sox side going against Meche, a starter with an 8.24 ERA on the year and a sad 0-4 record. Fading terrible pitchers is great if your team wins, but generally a bad idea since the price is going to reflect that bad starter.

Athletics @ Angels (-110) with a total of 8.5; D. Braden vs. J. Saunders;
Rajai Davis is 8-for-26 off Saunders;
Eric Patterson is 4-for-5 off Saunders with 2 RBI;
Erick Aybar is 6-for-14 off Braden before 2010;
Mike Napoli is 4-for-9 off Braden with a HR before 2010.
This is a rematch game, the second of the night, to a game Braden and the A's won 9-4 back on April 11th. In that game, the pitchers fared pretty similarly, with Saunders giving up 4 runs in 6, and Braden allowing 3 in 6 innings. The Angels pen broke down, and the A's ran away with it. Now, this time around, in the same venue, Saunders is no longer a -150 favorite, and you have to think the 40 cent line move despite the game occurring in the same stadium gives some value to the Angels. Saunders only allowed 1 earned run in his last start, though the walks remain a problem. Still, the A's are a team without a ton of sock, so Saunders has a shot to wiggle out of trouble. Slight lean to Angels, with Braden off the perfect game, getting all the fanfare, and Saunders probably motivated to show up the young stud.

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