Thursday, June 17, 2010

Interleague Madness Returns, Day 8

That sound you hear is the collective "Bebe University" letting out a sigh, because just as excitingly as it began, the NBA season has come to an end.

And it ended with confetti and cash! We rolled through the NBA Finals, picking up ONE FINAL winner with the Celtics +7 last night to seal a 5-1 NBA Finals record and a 9-2 NBA Playoff Run to end the season. That also made up for the ugly 2nd Round and gave us a firm 56% NBA Playoff overall mark, so thank you to ALL that got on board and won units as a team!

The next NBA season is right around the corner, the way I see it.

But, all is certainly not lost! Baseball is absolutely my second favorite sport to handicap, and if that hasn't been evident by the success of the last month, well, let's just have more success this coming month! We had just one MLB play yesterday, a Free Premium selection on the Cincinnati Reds in the afternoon, and the Big Red Machine avoided the sweep and put another unit in our pockets. Interestingly, we've made a wager on each of the Dodgers' last 4 games (either on or against), and those plays are 4-0 since Sunday.

We are also 17-12 in all MLB plays, with hits on the Game of the Month and Game of the Week, 32-21 in all sports, and a blistering 20-8 (71.4%) on Paid Plays. The good feelings are so thick right now, you can taste 'em. Let's eat.

Sports Wagering: MLB

National League

Brewers @ Rockies (-158) with a total of 9; M. Parra vs. J. Hammel;
Joe Inglett is 4-for-6 with 3 RBI off Hammel;
Troy Tulowitzki is 2-for-2 off Parra.
This price is a bit high, though I'm not sure how folks can make a legitimate case that the Brewers are the right side. The Rockies are very tough at home, and Hammel has been one of the hottest pitchers in baseball over the last 2-3 weeks. He hasn't allowed a run in either of his last 2 starts (over 15.1 innings), and allowed just a single tally in the start prior. Hammel is 2-0 with a 4.91 ERA against Milwaukee, so not great, not terrible, but Parra is 0-1 with a 9.53 ERA against the Rox, and pitching in Coors is usually more intimidating for the visitors.
Leans: Rockies-1

Interleague Play

Angels @ Cubs (-155) with a total of N/A; S. Kazmir vs. C. Silva;
Bobby Abreu is 9-for-17 with a HR and 7 RBI off Silva since '05;
Howie Kendrick is 5-for-10 off Silva;
Hideki Matsui is 4-for-11 off Silva since '05.
I know Carlos Silva has been a shining beacon of consistency for the Cubbies, but should anyone on the Cubs be a -155 favorite anywhere in the US right now? I'm inclined to think not, especially against an Angels team that can really put the wood to it. Kazmir's issue is always going to be that he can't go deep in games even when he's on, but that being said, he's been better in his last 3 starts. This game is going to be closer than people think, and I wouldn't touch the Cubs.
Leans: Angels-1

Diamondbacks @ Tigers (-200) with a total of 9.5; D. Willis vs. A. Galarraga;
Adam LaRoche is 2-for-2 with a HR off Galarraga.
The sheer price on this one makes it, basically, a no-play. Galarraga, to his outstanding credit (and I really mean this) has pitched pretty well since one of the most emotional "non"-moments in MLB history, and Detroit continues to be a total Jekyll and Hyde team home and road. They're at home now, they're hitting the ball well, and they're facing one of the worst pitching staffs in the League. Detroit could very well win this one by a large margin, but I probably wouldn't get involved.
Leans: None

White Sox @ Nationals (-185) with a total of 7.5; G. Floyd vs. S. Strasburg;
Adam Kennedy is 4-for-7 off Floyd.
Gavin Floyd looks like he's starting to remember it's June. He's given up just 2 earned in his last 2 starts, combined, over 14 innings of work. Of course, his team couldn't get him wins in those games, but you can see he's turning the corner. That being said, the hype is going to end up on the other side of this one, with Strasburg. He'll likely give up one long fly, since that 100 mph fastball supplies a lot of power to a team that already swings for the fences, and while I think there's already some value fading Strasburg, he's doing more for a "home field" advantage, that I think we can account for. Let's wait until his value is at an ultimate low, and fade him. For now, I'm not touching it.
Leans: None

Indians @ Pirates (-110) with a total of 8; F. Carmona vs. P. Maholm;
The Pirates are just a mess, right now. They'd lost 10 in a row going into last night's action (and by the time this is posted, we'll probably know how that game turned out). Do they even remember what it was like to win a game? Cleveland got spanked by the red-hot Mets, but prior to that series, the Indians had actually been playing a bit better. They've been getting let down by their pitching. The offense has been fully alive even during the losing streak, so you have to believe that the Indians remain on the verge of breaking through for another few wins. This is an interesting game in that if the Pirates are going to win one, it's probably going to be behind Maholm. If the Indians can win one on the road, Carmona isn't a bad guy to put out there.
Leans: Indians-3

Twins @ Phillies (-130) with a total of 10.5; N. Blackburn vs. J. Blanton;
Delmon Young is 4-for-11 off Blanton.
You know, if Joe Blanton wasn't pitching like a total turd, I'd like the Under, here. Blanton has a career 4.44 ERA against the Twinkies, but he's been able to pitch pretty well against their biggest bats. Unfortunately for that potential lean, Blanton has been one of the worst pitchers in baseball over the last couple weeks. Blanton's given up 23 runs in his last 4 starts, all Phillies losses, and his season ERA has climbed into the 7's. On the other side, Nick Blackburn is just the normal Twins starter. ERA in the 4's, keeps his team in the game in, usually, 5 of every 6 starts, and the team wins quite a few of those because they're good.
Leans: Twins-3

Mets @ Yankees (-180) with a total 9.5; H. Takahashi vs. J. Vazquez;
Alex Cora is 4-for-8 off Vazquez, interestingly.
The Mets are rolling, lately, though we know how tough the Yankees can be at home. Yes, they get shut down by Jamie Moyer and Kyle Kendrick (currently), but the Yanks can wake up at any moment. This should be a pretty good game, and there's zero doubt that the Mets are the value side, and if you've got the bankroll to play every game with any value, you should probably consider hopping on the Mets to keep their win streak going. Heck, I might end up putting a quarter or half-unit on it, myself, in that special kind of non-premium sort of way.
Leans: Mets-2

Giants @ Blue Jays (-125) with a total of 8.5; B. Zito vs. B. Morrow;
Jose Molina is 2-for-6 with a HR and 3 RBI off Zito;
Edwin Encarnacion is 2-for-5 with a HR and 5 RBI off Zito.
This is something of a scary line, if you're a fan of the Giants and Zito. I know Morrow has been coming on very, very strong, but to see Zito, who was a pretty big favorite early on this season, now a slight dog to a guy with an ERA almost 2 runs higher, the oddsmakers are expecting some Jays money. At the same time, Zito is coming off a nice start against one of his nemeses, the Oakland A's, so it's not like he's trending down. I will admit, though, pitching in the cozy confines of AT&T Park definitely treats Zito better than those nasty road mounds.
Leans: Blue Jays-3

Dodgers @ Red Sox (-148) with a total of 10; C. Monasterios vs. F. Doubront;
I think it's safe to say we have no data to work with, here. You have to think that the Dodgers are going to have a tiny bit of value in this series, but this opener, with two pitchers that might give 5 innings, well, this isn't the type of game I like to put money on. Why? Well, I feel like this game is a true "risk", since there are a number of variables that can't be perfectly handicapped. Both teams have decent pens, the Dodgers perhaps a tad better, but we might see 15 runs. Who knows? Manny might get pummeled with strange objects, but at least he knows how to play left in Fenway.
Leans: Over-1

Rays (-160) @ Marlins with a total of 9; M. Garza vs. N. Robertson;
Kelly Shoppach is 6-for-10 off Robertson since '05;
Jason Bartlett is 0-for-24 off Robertson, and I almost can't believe my eyes;
This game has a ton of question marks, too. Garza has pitched rather poorly in each of his last 4 starts, including his last effort against these very same Marlins, but in Tampa. Garza allowed 4 runs in 5.2 innings, though Tampa did go on to win that one 6-5 over Ricky Nolasco. Here, he faces Nate Robertson making his first start in about 2 weeks, yet another question mark. No reason to take a chance.
Leans: None

Royals @ Braves (-185) with a total of 9; B. Bannister vs. D. Lowe;
This game is only interesting because Bannister is looking to bounce back off an awful start in Cincinnati, and Derek Lowe is coming off a bounceback game of his own. Lowe pitched brilliantly against the Twins, a very strong, and lefty-heavy club, and now faces one of the best-hitting teams in baseball in Kansas City. The Royals are going to continue to be a nice value almost no matter where they play, but I think there's a good reason this line is high. Lowe's been solid after a bad start, and the Braves are just beating everyone. They completed a series win over the Rays with yesterday's win, and they just keep steamrolling right along. Yes, the dog has value, but no, it's not a good enough shot.
Leans: None

Rangers (-135) @ Astros with a total of 9; S. Feldman vs. W. Rodriguez;
Ian Kinsler is 9-for-12 off Wandy Rodriguez.
I feel like people are going to jump on the Over in this game, but I'm not sure there's much left in the value department. Feldman and Wandy are both having brutal seasons, and in terms of small rays of hope, you have to give the slight nod to Feldman. He's coming off 6 innings of Houdini-like escape acts against the Brewers, but he got through them and he gave his team a solid opportunity to win. Does it mean he's figured things out? I doubt it. The Brewers are just that bad at home, so I wouldn't overreact. If we could truly count on Wandy to do some damage against the Rangers, I'd back the home team, but as it stands, and with his awful numbers this year not seemingly getting any better, I pass.
Leans: None

Athetics @ Cardinals (-255) with a total of 8; V. Mazzaro vs. C. Carpenter;
Hah, if you guys think I'm even considering a play on this side, you haven't been reading this blog every day, or at least not too closely. So, do I care to venture an opinion on the total? Well, Mazzaro has decent enough stuff, but Big Leaguers that see his good breaking ball once can usually adjust to it, and he's just not refined enough to use a 3rd pitch reliably. Carpenter is dominant, we know that, though the Cards have actually lost his last 2 starts, and he's never been all that great against the A's. No thanks!
Leans: None

Orioles @ Padres (-165) with a total of 7; B. Matusz vs. W. LeBlanc;
Brian Matusz has pitched very well his last 3 starts, though he's on the Orioles, so you know that means the results have been less than charming. I still think this team is completely radioactive, though this line is awfully low for a Baltimore game. I mean, this is only 10 cents higher than the game against the Giants rookie, Joe Martinez. They did, of course, win that one. Still, I can't do it. I can't. We've been having great success backing teams that have a reasonable chance to win on any given night rather than firing a shotgun in the dark. LeBlanc, by the way, has rebounded with 2 solid starts off a few rough ones, so fading him is not necessarily recommended, either.
Leans: None

Reds @ Mariners (-150) with a total of 6.5; J. Cueto vs. C. Lee;
Miguel Cairo is 5-for-7 off Cliff Lee;
Brandon Phillips is 4-for-11 with a HR and 4 RBI off Lee;
Scott Rolen is 7-for-13 with a HR and 2 RBI off Lee since '05.
I really, really want to back Cincinnati in this one, as Cliff Lee has a lifetime 5.77 ERA against the Reds, but man has Cueto been bad, lately. Cueto has given up 17 runs in his last 3 starts, and while I think he has the arsenal to get out there and shut down a weaker-than-average offensive team like the Mariners, I'm not sure taking him against Lee is the right time. Lee has poor lifetime numbers against the Rangers, too, and he's crushed them this season, so who knows what those lifetime numbers mean.
Leans: Reds-1

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