Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Interleague Madness Returns, Day 7

I've been wanting to use this expression for about 2 months, so I'm going to enjoy it.

BACK TO THE WELL!

For the first time maybe all year (I'll check on this), we backed the same club on back-to-back nights, and that club came through.

We had the Dodgers as our Free Play Winner on Tuesday, a 12-0 blowout, and we went right back to the Dodgers for our Game of the Week Winner on Wednesday, a slightly tighter 6-1 victory. The Reds had chances, that's for darn sure, but the Dodgers got a few lucky breaks, Clayton Kershaw was on his game, and Andre Ethier clubbed a 3-run shot to put LA ahead by a small handful. It's nice to be able to find good times to back my hometown club, and these 2 games have been nice values on a team that just creams the Cincinnati Reds.

That winner, unfortunately dragged back slightly by a Free loser on the Cleveland Indians, gives us our 5th straight winning day, and despite the winning day, that freebie makes us 6-1 on the week. I was enjoying the goose-egg in the loss column, too! The Paid run is one I like to put out there, now 19-8 over the last 27. All other streaks (also not bad) can be found at my Pro Page, which you can get to by clicking anywhere in this paragraph.

Alright, NBA game 7 tonight, that's what's truly on tap - let's go!

Sports Wagering: NBA

Celtics @ Lakers - Los Angeles by 7 with a total of 187. I have two takes on this game, so bear with me. Of course, they're something of opposing sides, so let's just attack them one at a time, and see where we all sit. First, the line. This one opening a half point higher than the last game is a pretty strong statement that the Lakers are going to get some cash, and more than game 6. Going into game 6, everyone had seen Boston rattle off 2 wins in a row at their place, and oddsmakers actually had to put some value on LA, but now, off the blowout win, this line is going to be much closer to where it should be for a pivotal game 7, adjusted slightly, of course, for the injury to Kendrick Perkins. His loss won't move the line much, but we might have seen Lakers by 6.5 again if he was healthy. The total of 187, lower than game 6, supports another physical game, and the only reason I wouldn't put my house on the Under is because this one, in my opinion, has a better-than-average shot to go to overtime, and on top of that, no one is going to let the Championship slip away without some furious fouling down the stretch. We might see a hack-a-Rondo with 2 minutes to go if the Lakers are down, and I actually think LA could gain ground trading 2-for-1 on every possession. On the other end, the Celtics would be hoisting threes, and trying to foul Odom or Artest, and we could legitimately see 25 points scored in the final 2-3 minutes, and another 15 if the game goes to OT. I would be very careful with the total in this one, and might recommend playing a 1H total if you like the Under, and maybe keep an eye on that 2H line after the 1H gets played. As far as the side goes, I would have expected the line to actually dip or stay the same given the magnitude of this one, but the Lakers laying more is a strong LA number. The other angle at play is the motivational one. We saw the Celtics with very little fire in game 6, and the Lakers had all the energy in the world. The loss of Kendrick Perkins allowed Pau Gasol to work above the rim basically by himself, and even Ron Artest got into the act of hitting a few outside shots, created when the Celtics sagged off of him. There's almost no way that the Celtics play that poorly, again, though. They must have missed 5 or 6 point blank, mostly uncontested layups, and if they make those, they're right in the game and don't have to force bad shots to try to make up ground. This may be, as noted on Wednesday's podcast, the first time we truly see both teams play hard for all 48 minutes, or maybe 53 minutes. Motivationally, I can't help but think Boston keeps this one relatively close. So, the two angles suggest each side, and each suggest a low-scoring game with the potential for some points scored down the stretch. Again, my one piece of advice - don't put too much stock in any one game or one piece of evidence. Look at the whole picture, and make a play.

Sports Wagering: MLB

National League

Dodgers (-115) @ Reds with a total of 9; J. Ely vs. B. Arroyo;
Andre Ethier is 7-for-19 off Arroyo since '05;
Matt Kemp is 5-for-11 off Arroyo;
James Loney is 8-for-17 off Arroyo.
I think the real key in this game is that John Ely is in the midst of a regression to the mean. He's not a top of the rotation kind of arm, and while he pitched that way for a month, his last 2 starts have been decidedly marginal, and fading a guy who is just starting to come back to Earth is a great technique for baseball wagering. On the other side, Arroyo continues to be a workhorse, that, for lack of a better team, is a tad streaky, and given that his current streak involves the "anti-streak" of one-on, one-off starts, he's due for a good one. In addition, the top of the Dodgers order (Furcal and Martin) are a combined 4-for-37 off Arroyo.
Leans: Reds-3

Interleague Play

Nationals @ Tigers (-181) with a total of 9; L. Atilano vs. J. Bonderman;
Not a ton of data to work with here, though it appears Bonderman allowed 3 runs in 5 innings to the Nats way back when. The Tigers are a ruthless bunch at home during Interleague play, so rather than advocate backing the underdog here, behind Luis Atilano (who really isn't too impressive, and the scouting report is being made written him as we speak), I'd probably say that the Tigers are the smarter side. I know, it pains me to admit that as much as the next guy, but Bonderman has been extremely consistent this year, aside from a couple hiccups. I'm not getting down on this one, but this is what the "level-1" leans are for.
Leans: Tigers-1

Rockies (-122) @ Twins with a total 7; U. Jimenez vs. F. Liriano;
Miguel Olivo is 4-for-13 off Liriano;
Delmon Young is a perfect 3-for-3 off Jimenez.
This is about the cheapest price we'll see on Ubaldo for the foreseeable future, I would imagine. So, it's out job to figure out if that's because the Twins are just that good, or if it's because Jimenez is expected to continue to regress towards, ya know, merely one of the best seasons in the last 25 years instead of, say, the last 100. I happen to believe this line is low for a reason. Francisco Liriano has actually pitched better than Jimenez over each of their last 2 starts, and maybe the most impressive part is the "K". Liriano has fanned 21 in his last 2 outings, walking just 2 and allowing only 2 runs over 15 innings. Jimenez had to deal with rain his last start, but picked up the win, going 6 innings and giving up 3 runs to the power-happy Blue Jays. I realize the Rockies have won 12 of Jimenez's 13 starts, but this one might fall into the bad column, and it might only take 1 run to do it.
Leans: Twins-3

Athletics @ Cubs (-115) with a total of N/A; D. Braden vs. R. Wells;
Marlon Byrd is 6-for-16 off Braden.
This is a battle of 2 starters that have been slipping. Braden has, arguably, been subpar in 5 of 6 starts since the perfect game, and he's coming off 2 starts where he allowed 4 runs in each. Of course, the Cubbies aren't terribly intimidating offensively, so he might get it turned around, but I'm not in the market to back a guy that's been in steady decline. Randy Wells is in virtually the same spot. Wells got off to a nice start, but has allowed 5 runs in 3 of his last 4 starts, and he hasn't cleared 5.1 innings in any of those outings, either. If the wind's blowing out, beware.
Leans: Over-2

White Sox @ Pirates with a total of ; M. Buerhle vs. R. Ohlendorf;
Ohlendorf hasn't seen much of the White Sox, but he's coming off a poor effort in Detroit, and it's always just a matter of time with a guy that has poor stuff like Ross. He can meander his way through some the weaker lineups, and get lucky from time to time against better teams, but in the end, he's a better guy to fade than back, and I lean to the squarer side in this one, if but barely, and only because Buerhle finally had himself a decent start, and we know he can be quite streaky..
Leans: White Sox-1

Mets @ Indians (-113) with a total of 9; R. Dickey vs. J. Westbrook;
No real data, here, so just looking at some recent starts, we'll try to formulate some thoughts. R.A. Dickey has made 6 starts for the Mets, and New York has won 5 of them. Some of that is good luck, and some is good pitching, so that knuckler's been working just fine. Jake Westbrook has been a solid veteran arm for the Indians, but does generally put some runners on base, and if the Mets stay aggressive, they could potentially nab this one. This game profiles as more of a coin-flip to me, though it's tough to argue with the success of Dickey. The weather has been extremely humid and unpleasant in the Midwest, and I have to believe that favors Dickey, but man if those Indians aren't hitting the heck out of the ball these days.
Leans: None

Phillies @ Yankees (-210) with a total of 10; K. Kendrick vs. A. Pettitte;
Shane Victorino is 3-for-6 off Pettite;
Placido Polanco is 3-for-7 off Pettitte since '05.
This is a bit of a mismatch, with Pettitte having one of his best seasons in, well, decades, and Kendrick coming off a rough outing against the Marlins. To Kendrick's credit, he pitched relatively well in the few starts before that one, but the bottom line is that he's just not that good, and a team as strong as the Phils wouldn't be using this guy every 5 days if they had their health. The Yankees are absolute monsters at home, too, but the price here is just out of my range.
Leans: None

Rangers @ Marlins with a total of N/A; D. Nippert vs. R. Nolasco;
We don't have a line on this one, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Nolasco is going to be a relatively large favorite, which means this one is probably coming off the board right quick. Nolasco is not pitching well, but Nippert has been a clunker when he's been forced into action as a starter, as well. I'd maybe give a look at the Over when this line comes out, but when we're given less time to really dig into a line, we want to be extra cautious. No real leans on the sides, but we can explore this one further in the morning.
Leans: Over-1

Rays @ Braves (-128) with a total of 8.5; J. Shields vs. T. Hudson;
It's funny: we keep expecting Hudson to let up, and he just keeps dominating. I would go so far as to say that Tim Hudson has been the most consistent pitcher in baseball this year. He has not allowed more than 3 earned runs in any start this year, and he only hit that mark twice. He's gone without giving up a run just once, as well, so he's rarely perfect, but he's just as rarely not "very good." So, when will Hudson slip up? I think it's too dicey to try to pick the one start where Hudson isn't outstanding, so I certainly wouldn't play the Rays. On the other side, I worry we're not getting a very good price on Hudson, since Shields has been struggling, and you'd think with the Rays in town, you wouldn't have to pay this price to back Atlanta. Does Shields break out of his funk, or do the Braves keep racking up the hits like his other recent opponents?
Leans: Braves-2

Diamondbacks @ Red Sox (-150) with a total of 9.5; D. Haren vs. J. Lackey;
Adrian Beltre is 15-for-35 off Haren since '05;
Victor Martinez is 7-for-13 off Haren since '05.
This game is an intriguing one, if mostly because Haren seems to be starting to find his groove. 2 of his last 3 starts have been very good, and he's certainly accustomed to pitching in the AL. Obviously, Fenway is a scary place to throw for anyone, but Haren doesn't seem like the type of be intimidated. He's 2-3 with a 2.65 ERA lifetime against the BoSox, but again, much of that occurred a few years back. Lackey is another guy that's trending in the right direction, which means laying the chalk look a little less insane, but not nearly sane enough to warrant action. I'd think the better look would be the total - two pitchers trending up, we're getting a pretty chunky number because of poor starts to the year for both guys, but this one shouldn't clear 9 runs.
Leans: Under-3

Astros @ Royals with a total of ; B. Myers vs. A. Lerew;
I'm not sure most of the online sites have updated the Royals starter, so we're sort of short data, here. Fact of the matter is that KC can hit, but Oswalt shut them down last night, and I wonder if Myers can't do the same. This one is going to require more digging in the morning.
Leans: None

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