Monday, August 02, 2010

Shoulda, Coulda

Recap: There isn't much I can say about the Paid Play -- the D'backs just didn't have any gusto after the flight home, and Washington had just enough. The Under would have been the smart play, but I was blinded by Arizona's recent offensive performances, and just misfired, plain and simple. Even more frustrating, the Rays, the play that missed making the card by a hair, had themselves a nice win and we didn't get to capitalize. A frustrating day, but when 2 of 3 leans are spot on, and the 3rd is only off by a solo homer, that's reason for optimism, and really, since the day off last Thursday, we've been literally one hit away from winning every one of those games.

Today: It's time to bump it up with a "Three-Star (3*) Game of the Week!" Knowing the radar is focused in, and second-guessing was the only move that kept us from even more winners, I've spotted a game I like so much, I'm loading it into the system the night before to truly get the best line! I REALLY wanted to make this play with the house's money on yesterday's Sizzler, but it is what it is, and we're going to win that back, plus more with this Best Bet of the entire week!!

Sports Wagering: MLB

National League

Reds (-155) @ Pirates with a total of 8.5; M. Leake vs. P. Maholm;
Here's a game where, looking back on the season at hand, the notes leading up to this one don't look the way you'd expect. Leake has started against the Pirates twice, has pitched pretty well in each start, and the Reds have lost each by a run (though Leake drew no decisions in both). Maholm has faced the Reds twice, and he, too, has pitched extremely well, beating Leake on May 25, and Bronson Arroyo back in April. There's a reason this line seems somewhat affordable to the Reds-betting public, and that's because a Reds win is, by no means, guaranteed.

Mets @ Braves (-134) with a total of 8; R. Dickey vs. D. Lowe;
Lifetime numbers don't look too impressive, but this year hasn't been bad for each starter against the other team. Dickey is 0-1 with a 7.45 ERA lifetime against the Braves, but in his one start this year, allowed 3 earned runs in 6.2 innings - not great, but certainly not terrible. Derek Lowe is 3-5 with a 6.61 ERA against the Mets, lifetime, but this year has faced them twice, and had a 7 innings, 3-run effort, and a 5.1-inning, 2-run showing more recently. Lowe does appear to be trending down right now, and we know how streaky he can be, while Dickey just keeps putting up strong outings with that high-speed knuckler. The Mets road issues and the Braves strong play at home probably keeps the Mets from being a big play, but it's got to be New York or nothing on the side.

Phillies (-210) @ Marlins with a total of 7.5; R. Halladay vs. S. West;
The Phillies are definitely fighting the injury bug, but the Marlins coming back from a West coast swing makes them a less succulent underdog. This one is out of our price range.

Brewers @ Cubs (-125) with a total of N/A; C. Narveson vs. T. Diamond;
Another rookie making his Major League debut at home, which means we're going to start with that home kid and see if we can talk ourselves out of it. Narveson is certainly not going to get our attention - he's been pretty bad all year, aside from a dominating start against the Mariners, who might very well be the worst offense in the Bigs. Outside of that, Narveson seems to find a way to give up 3-5 runs every start, so the question is how the kid, a righthander, will do against a Brewers team that, after starting the post-Break schedule with some wins, has gone back to getting its butt kicked.

Astros @ Cardinals (-240) with a total of 8.5; B. Norris vs. J. Garcia;
Some of the magic may have left young Bud Norris, who lost his last start to the Cards. Still, in terms of value, it's hard to argue with a guy that's 4-1 with a 1.60 ERA against one particular team, and has an ERA of 5.63 against the League.

Giants @ Rockies (-125) with a total of 9; J. Sanchez vs. A. Cook;
This one has the potential be a little ugly. Sanchez is 2-4 with a 6.75 ERA against the Rockies, including a 4.2-inning start this year where he gave up 3 runs, but walked 5. Aaron Cook has faced the Giants twice this season, giving up 5 runs in 6 innings in San Francisco, and, somehow, just 3 runs in 7 innings of a win here in Colorado. Neither pitcher has really dominated the other team in recent history, though the Rockies are really slugging at home right now, and Cook seems to actually be more comfortable throwing in Colorado, in general. That being said, Cook is not very good, and the Giants have been hitting much better, of late. How will Coors impact all this?

Nationals @ D'backs (-125) with a total of 9.5; S. Olsen vs. J. Saunders;
Saunders had a nice first start in the National League, and we know how streaky he can be, so I'm expecting another decent performance here, against a weaker-hitting team than the one he faced last time, the Phils. You never know about that D'backs pen, but I think Saunders will be okay. Olsen has actually been pretty good this year, though he's still working his way back from injury, and that 2nd start back has been a little bit of a question mark for some starters who, maybe, get a little overamped for the first one. Olsen is 0-2 with an 8.86 ERA against Arizona in his career, but he's a better pitcher now than he was the last time he saw the D'backs. Adam LaRoche does hit him awfully hard, though. When it all shakes out, I'm not sure we're getting that great of a line, laying this kind of price on Saunders, but I also wouldn't trust the 3rd worst road team in the NL this far from home.

Padres (-115) @ Dodgers with a total of 6.5; M. Latos vs. T. Lilly;
Another debut, though this time it's the old goat. And he'll be taking on one of the best young hurlers in the League. Latos went just 5 innings against the Dodgers when he faced them a week ago, but his Padres did just enough to win the game. He hasn't been all that impressive against the Dodgers, but right now, LA just isn't hitting, and I couldn't advocate backing the Dodgers anymore, at least not until the bats start to wake back up. I would say the Under has some legs, but at 6.5, most of the value has been sucked out. We all know Lilly never seems to get any run support, and to be frank, those Padres just keep finding ways to win. The Dodgers might be the sharp side, just because they're so cheap at home, but if you only score 1-2 runs per game, how do you win against the best bullpen out there?

American League

White Sox @ Tigers Doubleheader;
R. Porcello vs. M. Buerhle (gm1);
J. Bonderman vs. C. Torres;
Just bear in mind, I very rarely bet doubleheaders because of the bullpens being managed differently and the weird lineups, but remember how well the White Sox tend to play at Comerica Park. Just please, remember that.

Angels @ Orioles (-119) with a total of 9.5; T. Bell vs. J. Guthrie;
Wait, what? The Orioles are favored over the Angels? This is all kinds of nuts. The Angels just beat Cliff Lee on Sunday, and now they go on the road to take on Jeremy Guthrie and the Orioles, and they're the listed underdog? This is either the gift line of the century or Trevor Bell is going to get absolutely lit up, and I tend to doubt that the oddsmakers would make this large of a mistake in favor of a fairly public team like the Angels. Guthrie is 1-2 with a 5.25 ERA against LA, too, so it's not like his numbers are staggeringly good - quite the opposite. He is on a nice little run, though, of 3 straight strong outings, so maybe oddsmakers are expecting good things. Still, it's telling that Guthrie hasn't been a listed favorite since June 27, a home start against Luis Atilano of the Nationals. He's been a listed favorite just 3 times all year, and the O's are 2-1 in those starts. This line is a head-scratcher, thoughts welcome.

Blue Jays @ Yankees (-140) with a total of 9.5; R. Romero vs. D. Moseley;
I said it last time, and I'll say it again, the best time to bet on the Yankees is when they toss some scrub out there to get the game going, when the name on the mound isn't going to pump extra money into an already-inflated team. Moseley is just that guy, tossing 6 solid innings on the road in Cleveland. Now, the opponent, this time, is helping keep the line somewhat within reason, and that's Ricky Romero, who has been very up-and-down against the Yankees. He went 8 innings of 2-run ball at home, then came here, to the New York, and got pasted for 8 runs in under 3 innings of work. He's gone 7 innings in 3 straight starts, so he's on a nice little push, but those numbers against the Yankees make him a tough bet.

Indians @ Red Sox (-250) with a total of 9.5; D. Huff vs. J. Beckett;
This one falls comfortably in our "out of price, out of mind" category. No thanks!

Twins @ Rays (-145) with a total of 8.5; B. Duensing vs. J. Niemann;
The line in this one gives you an indication of how well though of Carl Pavano has become, since he was basically a Pick, yesterday against a Rays rookie, and now Niemann is laying a buck-45 against the hottest-hitting team since the All Star Break. Duensing's been just fine since moving into the starting rotation, and Niemann is one of those guys that just gets it done almost every time. I'd be more inclined to look at the total, in this one, since the Twins are likely to be a little shocked, playing against a team that can pitch, for once. Still, I think this series is a tougher one to handicap than most folks anticipate. The Twins have been so hot, and the Rays have been playing extremely well, so which gives first?

Royals @ Athletics (-180) with a total of 8; K. Davies vs. V. Mazzaro;
I just wonder how Mazzaro has a 2-0 record against the Royals already, with so few games under his belt. I suppose that's all part of pitching against Kansas City - winning. In any case, this line is awfully high, and effectively out of our price range, since I'm not seeing anything I particularly like about the Royals, here.

Rangers (-155) @ Mariners with a total of 7; C. Lewis vs. J. Vargas;
Colby Lewis has just OWNED the Mariners this year. 3 starts, 23 innings, 2 runs, 2-0 with a no-decision, 18 strikeouts, 12 hits. It's tough, they say, to clobber the same team repeatedly in one season, since the batters start to learn the pitchers' tendencies, but it seems like a child could sneak a tennis ball past the Mariners. That team just cannot hit, and Lewis has the team figured out. Texas can hit, and while Vargas has been a bright spot for a completely lost Mariners season, he struggled against the Rangers a few months back, and is 0-2 with a 6.16 ERA against them, overall. It's tough to hit in Safeco, but motivation is a huge factor in this inflated line, and I might buy into it.

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