Thursday, August 05, 2010

2-4-1

Recap: Well, we dropped the Small Afternoon Free Play, and just being a realist here, we're probably going to drop the late game (with the Dodgers currently trailing the Padres by a couple, late). Took that one on the chin, but still very much a good week since taking a day off!

Today: Four units in play! No, it's not some sort of silly-ass monster single game, it's the Friday Two-for-One Special! Both plays are of the Two-Star variety, so two Best Bets for just 18 bucks. 9 dollars per play is pretty darn cheap. In any event, I've got two games I've already settled on, so I can't wait to get as many of you as possible on board to collect these 4 units (and change, as one is a dog!). Click anywhere in this paragraph, as usual, to head to my Pro Page.

Sports Wagering: MLB

National League

Reds (-115) @ Cubs with a total of N/A; B. Arroyo vs. T. Gorzelanny;
It's almost mind-boggling, to me, that Gorzelanny has actually been pretty decent this year. I keep looking at his numbers, expecting to see something grotesque, and every time it says "winning record, sub-4 ERA." In any case, this is actually a match-up of two guys with solid career numbers against the other team, or at least recently. Gorzelanny has pitched well twice against the Reds already this year, so why not a third time, and Arroyo is 8-6 with a 2.91 ERA lifetime against the Cubs, including 6 strong innings in one start this year. I think too many people are going to jump on Cincinnati because it looks easy, but I'd be careful. this one could be a closer game than people think.

Rockies (-150) @ Pirates with a total of 8.5; J. Hammel vs. Z. Duke;
This line is probably about where I'd expect. Hammel is struggling a tad over his last few starts, and actually is a little more comfortable at Coors, though so is the rest of his team. Duke has a very poor lifetime mark against the Rockies, but pitched well against them in Colorado last week. The Rockies have indeed had a little bit of a harder time against lefties (at least intermittently), and we know how this team can fall apart on the road. The Pirates, if they were any good, would be a decent dog. But, they're not, so...pass.

Cardinals (-150) @ Marlins with a total of 6.5; A. Wainwright vs. R. Nolasco;
Well, if you're going on historical numbers alone, this one is a no-brainer. Wainwright is 3-1 with a 2.61 ERA against the Marlins over his career, and Nolasco is an ugly 0-2, 5.92 against the Cards. The player data supports those pitching marks, too, as Matt Holliday and Albert Pujols have both teed off on Nolasco. Wainwright had that bad start in New York, but bounced back with a solid one against the lowly Pirates. Nolasco, interestingly, has been a bit of a lucky charm for Florida - he's pitched pretty well, and the Marlins have won 7 of his last 8 starts. I wouldn't fade the man getting run support even with those nasty numbers against St Louis.

Mets @ Phillies (-125) with a total of 9; J. Niese vs. J. Blanton;
This is a tough one, because right off the bat I'm looking for a way to back Niese and the Mets, but there are also so many reasons not to. The Mets played awful defense in their finale in Atlanta, they so rarely win on the road, and Niese is coming off a terrible start against the D'backs. Blanton continues to give up plenty of hits, and didn't pitch well against these very Mets this season, already, but at the same time, that iteration of the Mets was actually hitting. This one isn't, so much. New York looks lost at the plate, and it seems like the pitching staff is starting to let that need for perfection wear on them just a tad. Can Blanton keep the ball in the yard?

Giants @ Braves (-150) with a total of 7.5; B. Zito vs. T. Hanson;
I suppose the initial thought is that the Giants are red hot, and have been for about a month. At the same time, the Braves are awfully tough to beat at home, and the weather here is going to be a bit of a shell-shock for San Francisco. The low total makes the pricey side seem a little out of range, especially since Zito is 3-1 with a 2.42 lifetime mark against the Braves, and the best Atlanta bat against Zito (Troy Glaus) is in a 2-month hitting slump. I'll be honest - I'm not too interested in the side, here. The total is low for a reason, and I think oddsmakers are going to feel fine with this one no matter how the game plays out.

Astros @ Brewers (-125) with a total of 8.5; W. Rodriguez vs. D. Bush;
Rematch game! Bush got shellacked by the suddenly-mashing Astros when these teams met last, and Wandy Rodriguez continued his second-half resurgence with another scoreless start. He's done that in 2 straight starts, spanning 15 innings, and while I'd love to back the team that lost the previous game, with the way that Wandy is throwing, I'm not sure you can go against him. That doesn't mean bet on Wandy, since it's tough to completely dominate a team two starts in a row, but the Over is potentially in play, and the Astros are certainly a live dog, if nothing else.

Padres (-125) @ D'backs with a total of 9.5; J. Garland vs. D. Hudson;
Daniel Hudson absolutely pitched his butt off in his D'backs debut, winning a cupcake 12-1 in New York. Now, we'll see how he performs in his follow-up. So many times we've seen a kid make the jump from the AL to the NL and pitch well, but now he's going to be making his home debut in a hitter-friendly park against a team that hasn't had any problems with the D'backs this year. Why? Probably the bullpen disparity, which is just disturbing, but at the same time, Garland is facing one of his old teams, and not one he generally enjoys. He has been, to his credit, much tougher against Arizona in San Diego than here in the Valley of the Sun (no surprise there), and the rather low line makes me think that oddsmakers (and early money) are giving some credit to Arizona. Perhaps there's the expectation that Hudson has another nice start against another fairly weak offensive team.

Nationals @ Dodgers (-250) with a total of 7; J. Lannan vs. C. Kershaw;
This one is way out of our price range, especially since the Dodgers have actually had some mild struggles with the Nats over the last 2 years -- those have mostly been on the road, but still...

American League

Angels @ Tigers (-120) with a total of 7.5; J. Weaver vs. J. Verlander;
This has the makings of a good one, if Verlander can keep it together against a team that has actually given him a little trouble. This is also a strikingly cheap price on Verlander, especially considering the Angels were the same size dog a few days back to Jeremy Guthrie. I'm intimidated by this number, to be honest, and it makes me think that Weaver does a number on the soft-hitting Tigers. I know the Angels aren't exactly world-beaters with the way they've been playing, but the Tigers have been equally disappointing.

Red Sox @ Yankees (-150) with a total of 9; C. Buchholz vs. J. Vazquez;
I'd be leaping at the chance to back Buchholz here, if he could ever get through a start against the hated Yankees without completely pissing himself. He's 0-2 with a 6.53 ERA against the Yankees, including getting roughed up earlier this year by the Bombers. Vazquez is an interesting story, since he had his turn in the rotation skipped a few times earlier this year when he would have normally faced th Sox. Too bad for Boston, they missed him when he was getting lit up, and now have to face him when he's a bit more consistent and when they are coming to New York off a miserable showing against the suddenly-hot Indians. I love betting on Boston-New York series, but not when one of the two teams is sinking like a stone.

White Sox (-175) @ Orioles with a total of 9; J. Danks vs. B. Bergesen;
I cannot believe Bergesen is going to be a starter for this team for the entire season. That being said, he's somehow 1-1 with a 2.31 ERA against the White Sox, and that means I need to do some digging. But, that being said, all that means is that you should think twice before betting on the White Sox - it most certainly doesn't mean you should back the Orioles. I sure as heck don't have the gall to put my money behind Bergesen, and I wouldn't tell someone else to, either.

Twins (-170) @ Indians with a total of 8; F. Liriano vs. J. Gomez;
The Twins are coming off a very tough series with the Rays, and without getting into the details much, this one is Indians or nothing. Gomez has been solid in his few starts in the Bigs, and he was highly touted, so perhaps we shouldn't be surprised. That being said, if there's one pitcher that has been delivering a spanking to the Indians this year, it's Liriano. He's pitched in three Minnesota wins over the Indians already this year. Now, I know, a handful of those of you that actually read these entire paragraphs are thinking, "He can't do it 4 times," but really, it's not that simple. Liriano has some of the beefiest numbers of any pitcher in baseball, in terms of Sabermetrics, and really, just sheer nastiness of his stuff. It's not at all a fluke when he crushes his opponent. There will be a time to back the Indians in this series, I'm confident, but I'm not sure this is the right one.

Rays (-120) @ Blue Jays with a total of 8; M. Garza vs. B. Cecil;
This one has a nice low line to work with, but I believe the competing factors might cancel each other out and leave us with no solid play. Garza has strong career numbers against the Jays, at 6-5 with a 2.35 ERA, but his two starts against Toronto this year have resulted in 8 runs in just a shade over 11 innings, not too good. Cecil is 3-1 with a 4.07 ERA against the Rays, and he, too, has a bit of a mixed bag, dominating Tampa on the road 2 months back, and getting hit pretty hard in Tampa a couple months before that. The Jays are hitting better than Tampa right now, or at least I would argue that, based on this last series. The Rays are hugely reliant on the longball, maybe even more than the Jays lately, and if Cecil can keep the ball down and away, Tampa might be in for a longer night than folks anticipate.

Rangers (-172) @ Athletics with a total of 6.5; C. Lee vs. D. Braden;
This one is not going to happen. Lee is simply too good in a pitchers' park, and Braden, despite a decent career ERA against the Rangers, is not a strong enough proposition to take the dog price.

Royals (-170) @ Mariners with a total of 7.5; Z. Greinke vs. L. French;
This might be the most inflated line I've seen all year for any team not named the Yankees. I mean, good lord! No one on the Royals should be this size favorite at home, let alone on the road. I know Greinke is 4-0 with a 1.64 ERA lifetime against the Mariners, but a -170 road favorite? Let's see. Lucas French is like a poor man's Jamie Moyer, and 20 years younger, and not any good, so there's certainly the possibility that the Royals hammer out 6-8 hits in 4 innings of French and just pound the Mariners, but I'm not sure you can play the Royals at this price. The run line is on the table, if only because it cheapens things, but good grief.

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