Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Throne Usurped

This whole Lebron-free agency fiasco is really coming to a head, as The King might be playing his last game in a Cavaliers jersey tonight. Where will he go? Can the Cavs bounce back? We'll get to some thoughts on that in just a moment.

As far as a recap goes, we finally got things back on track just a bit yesterday, picking up a pair of MLB winners in the afternoon, with the Jays and Twins each winning 3-2. Close wins, but they looked a heck of a lot better than some of the excruciating losses we had dealt with previously. Let the comeback begin? I hope so!

Sports Wagering: NBA

Cavaliers @ Celtics - Either Boston by 1 (or Pick) with a total of 196. As noted above, does it end here? I have to say, I thought the Celtics would compete a little bit in this series, but leading 3-2, winning two games in Cleveland, and now sitting in the driver's seat, well, I'm a bit taken aback. But the whole situation is just screwy as heck. Lebron just completely disappearing for the entirety of game 5? Was he "pulling a Kobe" and showing the city of Cleveland how pathetic the Cavaliers are without him? Is he really just hurt and not talking about it? Is Lebron truly as apathetic as he looked? Was Lebron trying to show up his coach, who called out his superstar after the dismal showing in game 2? There are about 15 more questions bubbling up to the surface, most of them about Lebron, that will only be answered after game 6 is concluded and either the Celtics have a date with the Magic, or a date with the Cleveland skyline for game 7. We know the Cavs aren't as bad as we saw, and we know Lebron isn't as bad as he played, but it seems like the Celtics are just gaining confidence every night, and Kevin Garnett already deemed this one "their game 7." I hate to say it, because you guys know how much I love having a take on every NBA game imaginable, but I really don't like this side. Both teams are going to play their butts off, and for whatever reason, I have this odd feeling that the Cavs still win this series, but the Celtics could just as easily clamp down on defense again and make the Cavs look foolish. Yep, you heard right - no leans on the side. The monster 4th quarter in the last game makes me think there may be some value on the Under, here, since I can't imagine another blowout, which should mean that the 4th will get played much more slowly. There may be some free throws at the end, but 65 points? Not likely. I lean Under.

Sports Wagering: MLB

National League

Astros @ Cardinals (-275) with a total of 7.5; B. Norris vs. C. Carpenter;
Kaz Matsui is 5-for-13 off Carpenter with 2 RBI;
Humberto Quintero is 3-for-3 off Carpenter;
Yadier Molina is 3-for-5 off Norris coming into this year.
Bud Norris, Cardinals killer. 3-0, 0.00 ERA against St Louis, and a listed underdog of almost 250? That's just insane. You almost have to play Norris for a quarter unit longshot on principle, though I guess the line could be ultra-high for a reason. Still, the Cards aren't hitting well, and we've seen how VERY cold and then pretty hot the Astros get. What am I not seeing? This line is off by about 75 cents, it seems.

Padres @ Giants (-144) with a total of 7.5; M. Latos vs. J. Sanchez;
Yorvit Torrealba was 2-for-4 off Sanchez before 2010.
Sanchez has really pitched well against the Padres, but another Giant with a lifetime supply of poor run support, his 2-3 record belies his 2.56 ERA against the Pads. I'm still not a full-on believer in Latos...yet. He'll be excellent. He has all the pitches and tools, but that pitch count gets up awfully quick. This price on Sanchez is a little steep considering this is a battle for first place (sorta), and I can't believe I'm saying this, but I actually do lean to the Giants. Only a little, since it's not much of a deal, but I think they'll come out strong in this finale.

Mets @ Marlins (-135) with a total of 7.5; J. Santana vs. J. Johnson;
Fernando Tatis is 8-for-12 with a HR and 3 RBI off Johnson;
Jeff Francoeur is 7-for-22 with 2 RBI OFF Johnson;
Luis Castillo is 3-for-9 and Jason Bay is 1-for-3 with a HR off Johnson.
Johan Santana has absolutely, positively OWNED the Marlins. He's 6-1, 1.66 ERA against them, and looking up and down the lineup, Jorge Cantu is the only regular batting over .200 against Santana in more than 10 AB. I mean, we're talking about total domination. Of course, on the other hill, Johnson is 7-1 in his career against New York. This one has all the makings of a K-fest, though Johan seems to have lost a tiny bit of velocity, and Johnson throws too many pitches early in the game. There's value here, but it's not jumping off the page at first glance.

Nationals @ Rockies (-215) with a total of 9; J. Lannan vs. J. Chacin;
Brad Hawpe is 2-for-6 with 2 RBI off Lannan;
Ian Stewart has homered off Lannan in 3 AB.
This is a damn high price to stick on a rookie making his, what, 3rd start? I know Chacin's got good stuff, and I know he has yet to give up a run, but -215 against a winning team? We see plenty of games like this, where if we played the dog in ALL of them, we'd probably turn a couple units of profit over the course of a few months

American League

Mariners (-140) @ Orioles with a total of 7.5; F. Hernandez vs. K. Millwood;
Franklin Gutierrez was 4-for-11 off Millwood before 2010 with a HR and 5 RBI;
Casey Kotchman was 5-for-15 with 3 HR and 7 RBI off Millwood since '05;
Jose Lopez is batting .326 off Millwood since '05;
Ichiro is batting .424 off Millwood in 66 AB with a HR and 9 RBI since '05;
Mike Sweeney is 5-for-14 off Millwood since '05;
Adam Jones is 3-for-9 off Hernandez before 2010;
Nick Markakis was 10-for-22 with 5 RBI off Hernandez before 2010;
Corey Patterson was 5-for-14 with a HR and 3 RBI off Hernandez;
Miguel Tejada was 5-for-14 off Hernandez since '05;
Ty Wigginton was 3-for-5 with a HR off Hernandez before 2010.
This line strikes me as odd for a couple reasons. First, Felix Hernandez went off as a -200 favorite at home against Millwood, and allowed just a single unearned run to the Orioles in a 4-1 Mariners easy win. Millwood allowed all 4 runs in 8 innings of work, and his career 8-12 record against Seattle (and 5.05 ERA), and the bevy of players that have hit Millwood hard makes this look like a stunning deal on Hernandez. But something feels off. Hernandez has been walking for more batters than usual this year, and while he completely shut down Baltimore earlier, the fact that he's a cheaper starter than Cliff Lee in this series against a team he completely crushed is just screwy to me. I always love taking the opposite pitcher in a true rematch, and I lean Baltimore.

Yankees (-120) @ Tigers with a total of 8; C. Sabathia vs. J. Verlander;
Derek Jeter is 6-for-15 off Verlander since '05;
Alex Rodriguez is 3-for-10 off Verlander with a HR and 4 RBI;
Miguel Cabrera is 5-for-8 with a HR and 6 RBI off Sabathia since '05;
Gerald Laird is 5-for-12 with a HR and 2 RBI off Sabathia since '05;
Ramon Santiago is 3-for-6 off Sabathia.
This game outshines that Mets/Marlins game for most interesting pitching duel of the day. Sabathia is 14-10 against the Tigers lifetime, Verlander just 3-2 lifetime against the Yanks, as remember, C.C. spent a ton of time in the AL Central with Cleveland. There are a few Tigers that have hit him hard, but Sabathia is really off and rolling this year, only having his last start cut short by rain. Verlander seems to be turning a corner, as well, but with these two high-powered offenses, this game could be a 2-1 duel, or if either guy flubs it, we might see an 8-1 win for one of the teams. This price seems pretty cheap on the Yankees, and we should continue digging to find out if this is a deal on NY, or a "hint"...

Athletics @ Rangers (-175) with a total of 9; B. Sheets vs. C. Wilson;
Eric Chavez is 3-for-7 with a HR off Wilson;
Rajai Davis is 2-for-4 with 2 RBI off Wilson.
Wilson will try to continue his amazing start to 2010, though it's tough to see how he can really keep that ERA at 1.51 that much longer. You'd think bad luck would take its toll eventually. I don't know if today is the day, though. We faded Wilson once before and he burned us, and Ben Sheets, who is indeed coming off a nice start against the slumping Rays, isn't exactly a model of consistency. This line is fair, and I want no part of it.

Indians @ Royals (-205) with a total of 7.5; D. Huff vs. Z. Greinke;
Asdrubal Cabrera is 9-for-20 off Greinke with 2 RBI;
Shin-Soo Choo is batting 7-for-22 with a HR and 4 RBI off Greinke;
Travis Hafner is 9-for-27 with a HR and 3 RBI;
Luis Valbuena is 5-for-14 off Greinke;
Yuny Betancourt is 3-for-4 off David Huff;
Billy Butler is 3-for-6 off Huff;
David DeJesus is 3-for-6 off Huff;
Chris Getz is 3-for-7 with 3 RBI off Huff;
Scott Podsednik is 3-for-8 off Huff.
This is a ridiculous price to pay for anything on the Royals. You could spot KC 2 runs, and only play the final 3 innings, and I still wouldn't lay -200. Greinke is still winless in 2010 despite a 2.51 ERA, and he's 6-8 lifetime against Cleveland with a rather "normal" ERA of 3.47 against them. Huff is actually 2-0 against the Royals, and he's pitched alright in 2010, though, like Greinke, his win total is fairly low. This is a value play on Cleveland or nothing at all. I lean towards nada.

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