Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Calm Before the Storm

Recap: Another winning day! I think it's safe to say that this has gotten fun, again! We did drop the Freebie on the Dodgers, but more than made up for that with a nice 2* winner on the San Francisco Giants, who put men on base seemingly every inning late in the game, and did finally bash through with 3 runs in the 8th to break the game open. Let's just keep putting together winning days, and thence, winning weeks, and we're slowly creeping back into this thing!

Sports Wagering: MLB

National League

Cardinals @ Astros (-110) with a total of 8.5; J. Suppan vs. N. Figueroa;
I would say that this line is a strong indicator that the Astros are going to play tough, but I don't think we need the line to tell us that. This afternoon game features the 1-6 Jeff Suppan, who probably shouldn't be in a Playoff contender's starting rotation, and brings to the table his 3-8, 5.12 ERA against the Astros, and Nelson Figueroa, who has posted a solid 3-2, 2.77 ERA this year in a handful of starts. He's 2-1 with a 4.14 ERA against the Cardinals, and the wheels will fall off his cart, eventually, as they always do with career journeymen, but I'm not sure you can really fade Figueroa, or back Suppan, until one or the other (or both) starts to swing back the other direction.

Pirates @ Cubs (-199) with a total of N/A; J. McDonald vs. T. Gorzelanny;
This line is wildly inflated, considering how bad the Cubbies are, and how well the Pirates have played against Chicago, this year. Pirates, or nothing, and it's almost worth just putting a quarter unit down because of Chicago's complete lack of interest in playing.

Phillies @ Dodgers (-114) with a total of 6.5; R. Oswalt vs. C. Kershaw;
As a Dodger fan, I hate to say it, but...this is not a good spot, and a very weak line for a very public starter on LA's side. Kershaw is generally a hefty home favorite, even against the better teams in the League, and Oswalt is, I would say, slightly less public, but only by a hair. Fact is, Kershaw was a -125 road favorite in Philadelphia in the game the Dodgers lost in regurgitating fashion against Joe Blanton. So, how can he be a smaller favorite at home (where you can assume about a 50-cent line move, or thereabouts). Is Oswalt that much more expensive than Blanton, or is this a game the Dodgers aren't expected to win?

Padres (-139) @ D'backs with a total of 8; M. Latos vs. B. Enright;
Both of these cats are dealing, so what catches my eye is the relatively high total. Yes, I realize that playing in a pitching friendly park can add a few ticks to the total, but Latos has actually had only had 3 games over the last 3 months with a total of 8 or above, and not surprisingly, all 3 have been on the road. In fact, one was here in Arizona, against Joe Saunders, and despite going 6 shutout innings, the game hit 11 total runs. Here, he faces Barry Enright, though, who has been red hot since being called up. The Under almost looks too easy, doesn't it? I don't like the side, at all, not in a game that I feel is going to be a close one.

Brewers @ Reds (-180) with a total of 9.5; C. Narveson vs. J. Cueto;
It wouldn't appear, at least on paper, that a game would be more lopsided than this one. I'm not touching this with a 10 foot pole, side or total.

Mets @ Braves (-174) with a total of 7.5; M. Pelfrey vs. T. Hanson;
I can't believe I'm even considering a home run line, but that's about the only way I could go with this one. Pelfrey has been a total clunker against the Braves in his career, and generally worse here in Atlanta than at home. Hanson is 1-1 with a 1.02 ERA against the Mets. I'd love to find a reason to take the dog, but I just don't see it.

Nationals @ Marlins (-154) with a total of 9; S. Olsen vs. C. Volstad;
There are a handful of revenge angles at play in this one. Olsen got creamed by the Marlins about a month ago, lasting just 1.2 innings and giving up 7 runs. It is his old team, so you have to think that he's going to want to get some measure of revenge. That game also came against today's starter, Chris Volstad, who has just 8 wins on the season, and 3 of them have come against the Nats. Is a pitcher of Volstad's caliber, namely, not good, really going to rack up 4 wins against a team that's only a tiny bit worse than his own? The numbers definitely point to Florida to win, especially against a lefty, but sometimes the numbers need to come back to the mean.

Rockies (-120) @ Giants with a total of 6.5; U. Jimenez vs. T. Lincecum;
Lincecum's struggles have continued, and that makes him awfully tough to back, but it definitely looks like the oddsmakers have caught up. The fact that Jimenez is a road favorite to Lincecum when the Rockies are as bad as they are on the road tells all we need to know about how money on Lincecum has dwindled during his 5 game losing streak. Still, Jimenez has been a little less than perfect lately, too. He hasn't been bad by any stretch, and has actually given the Rockies 6 straight quality starts, but he's just 5-4 against the Giants, and we know how Colorado can struggle to score on the road. For that reason, I don't like the total either. I think you have to look at the Over just because of the opening number, and you have to look at Jimenez because of Timmy's issues, but neither is that great of a value.

American League

White Sox (-150) @ Indians with a total of 9.5; F. Garcia vs. C. Carrasco;
This game has me scratching my head, a bit. Not sure why, but I just have no real thoughts on it. Sorry, all! These games just pop up from time to time where you just don't have a feel for it. Of course, that means all of you can go ahead and fill in any details you find intriguing.

Red Sox (-229) @ Orioles with a total of 8; J. Lester vs. J. Arrieta;
Jon Lester is 12-0 with a 2.00 ERA against the Orioles, which means this line is both ultra-inflated and also quite dangerous. This is one of those games where the two schools go head-to-head. Do you back the guy with the ridiculously amazing career numbers on the assumption that, at 12-0, Lester just owns the O's? Or, do you back the kid on the surging Orioles, and assume Lester can't go 40-0 against Baltimore in his career? I vote for neither.

Athletics @ Yankees (-149) with a total of 9; B. Anderson vs. A. Burnett;
Right off the bat, I have no qualms with saying that I'm trying to find a way to back the A's, but yet, it seems like the A's organization still hasn't figured out a way to solve the Yankees. Brett Anderson, for all his fine work this year, is 0-2 with a 5.68 ERA against the Yankees in a couple starts. A.J. Burnett, for all his erratic starts this year, dominated Oakland the one time he saw them in 2010. The one big thing the A's have going for them is that Anderson is on bounceback off a very short, very bad start against the Rangers. He'll be focused, but then, will it matter? The Yankees just make Oakland look bad, time and again.

Blue Jays @ Rays (-169) with a total of 7.5; S. Marcum vs. D. Price;
Shaun Marcum has had two of his worst starts of the year against the Rays, and while it seems likely he'll be able to at least have one decent outing against them, this year, I'm not sure I'm willing to try to pick that spot, not when Tampa is playing as well as they have been. David Price is 5-0 against Toronto with a 2.09 ERA, so they clearly haven't solved the fireballer. It's a hefty price tag, but I'd sooner lay the chalk with the home team.

Tigers @ Twins (-159) with a total of 7.5; M. Scherzer vs. F. Liriano;
You think Scherzer hasn't been waiting for a chance to get some revenge on the Twins? This is, literally, the team that got him sent down to the Minors. He lost his confidence against Minnesota, and never got it back until the demotion. Thus, the 0-1 record and 18.00 ERA against Minny. Liriano is 4-3 with a 5.24 ERA against the Tigers, and has been significantly worse than that against them, this year. I can't imagine he'll be that awful against them, again, but given the Tigers actually seem to be trying to finish the year with a little positive momentum, Scherzer is definitely a live dog.

Rangers (-184) @ Royals with a total of 8.5; T. Hunter vs. B. Bullington;
This one looks pretty lopsided, too. Both teams did plenty of scoring last night, and considering Cliff Lee was involved in last night's game and this total is right at that same mark, I might consider the Under. More than likely, though, with Hunter starting to get his form back, and Bullington almost completely unpredictable unless you're an avid follower of the Royals farm system, this one is a pass.

Angels @ Mariners (-119) with a total of 7.5; T. Bell vs. J. Vargas;
Jason Vargas has been excellent in all 3 starts he's made this year against the Angels. So, I guess the question is - is the 4th time the hiccup, or does he just have a good gameplan against the Angels, and execute it well? Trevor Bell is coming off his best start as a Big Leaguer, but I don't really trust him to go 7 strong innings again. The opening line is about where I'd expect, especially given that the Angels seem to be swinging from their heels (sometimes a sign the team is playing for contract bonuses). The Angels are a fade from here on out, unless they go to a lineup of 50% call-ups.

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