Monday, September 13, 2010

Baseball only Tuesday

Recap: Coming soon!

Today: BACK TO THE BASES (Do some buying here:! HOWEVER, and I put that in all-caps because it's a big, big "however," this is not a time to try to SLAM the books in baseball. This is a very strange time of year where more than half of all teams have thrown in the towel, and handicapping motivation is huge. Now is a time for TOP PLAYS to be SMALLER. We're going to grab at the value plays, but we'll do so with a conservative hand. Let's get after it!

Sports Wagering: MLB

Naitonal League

D'backs @ Reds (-170) with a total of 8.5; D. Hudson vs. T. Wood;
See yesterday's writeup. The difference in desire is enough to keep me off this game. 'Nuff said.

Phillies (-160) @ Marlins with a total of 8; C. Hamels vs. A. Mendez;
Almost the same reasoning as the game before, but I'm actually considering games in this series because Philly is on the road, and that brings the line down just a hair. I'm not about to back some of the Triple-A pitchers going head to head with Cole Hamels, though - not with how strong he's been.

Pirates @ Mets (-210) with a total of 7.5; Z. Duke vs. R. Dickey;
Dickey still has a 2.91 ERA, somehow. I'll say this one very bluntly. I would probably back the Pirates if this game was in Pittsburgh, since Duke is 4-1 with a 2.91 ERA lifetime against the Mets. Not on the road, though.

Nationals @ Braves (-215) with a total of 8; L. Hernandez vs. J. Jurrjens;
Good lord this card is terrible so far! Here's hoping the remaining choices are better. This one is a Braves RL play, or nothing. Washington is struggling, Livan has never pitched all that great against Atlanta over a season, and Jurrjens is 3-1 with a 2.86 ERA against the Nats.

Brewers @ Astros (-110) with a total of 8.5; C. Capuano vs. B. Norris;
Finally a line we can work with. To me, this line is a hair cheap on the Houston side, and I'm working to find out if that's because Norris is going to get spanked or simply because Brett Myers and Wandy Rodriguez are the only two Astros pitchers that are getting public love. Certainly, Chris Capuano isn't keeping this line low. He has, however, pitched very well in his last 2 starts, giving up just a single run in each. Norris, meanwhile, is coming off a good start against the Dodgers, but has been wildly hit-or-miss most of the season, even since Houston started playing better.

Cubs @ Cardinals (-215) with a total of 7; R. Wells vs. A. Wainwright;
I know this line looks inflated, but I actually think it might be right on the nose, even at this high price. Wainwright personally guaranteed he would not lose again 2 starts back, and after getting off to a bit of a rough start in his last outing, he righted the ship and was completely unhittable after 1 bad inning. Cardinals should pound the daylights out of the Cubs.

Padres @ Rockies (-155) with a total of 9.5; J. Garland vs. J. Hammel;
Is Garland finally having his meltdown? I honestly can't believe he's still posting an ERA in the mid-3's, though he got rocked by the Giants in his last start, and now has to face the red-hot Rockies. Hammel is 3-0 against the Padres, but has an ERA of 4.56, so he's been doing, literally, just enough. Hammel is fine with pitching at home, though, and that can make all the difference in a game at Coors.

Dodgers @ Giants (-110) with a total of 7; C. Kershaw vs. B. Zito;
Okay, so, this line caught me a tad off guard. Kershaw is normally a pretty reasonable favorite just about everywhere he goes, and certainly you'd expect he would be a favorite against the struggling Barry Zito. Zito did show signs of life in his last start, in Arizona, and the Giants clearly have infinitely more to play for than the Dodgers, but is this a spot where we can back the team playing spoiler at a decent price, or the team gunning for the playoffs at a weird price?

American League

Angels @ Indians (-120) with a total of 9; S. Kazmir vs. J. Tomlin;
This game is interesting mostly because it's a true rematch spot. These two pitchers faced off 5 days ago, which raises two questions. One, why the heck are the Angels playing the Indians twice in September? And two, what happened in the first one? Well, I have no answer to question one; just a stupid scheduling job. As for the second game, Kazmir and the Halos beat the Indians 4-3 behind a solid outing from Kazmir as a -140 favorite. So, a pretty strong line shift to the Indians, and the expectation that a young team is going to show more gumption at home.

Blue Jays @ Orioles (-110) with a total of 9.5; S. Hill vs. J. Arrieta;
Arrieta hasn't faced the Orioles, and Hill is set to make his 2nd start off Tommy John surgery number 2. Start one, against the Rangers, didn't go that well, though I suppose it could have been worse. I do, generally, like to fade a pitcher when the adrenaline of coming back wears off, but this line is cheaper than I expected on the hot-to-trot team from Baltimore. Still, they've been a good bet, and I feel like maybe this is a spot to keep things simple.

Yankees @ Rays (-140) with a total of 9; I. Nova vs. M. Garza;
Nova is a decent pitcher, so this size underdog price on the Yankees is screwy. Garza is just 1-3 against the Yankees in his career, though the ERA's not bad, at 3.49. This series actually means something, which you'd think would make it an easier one to handicap, but, not so much. I think there's value with the Yankees, but the Rays are awfully tough at home. The Yanks beat them in the Bronx, but here in Tampa things are different.

Tigers @ Rangers (-155) with a total of 10; J. Bonderman vs. D. Holland;
There might actually be a little value with the Tigers, here, as Detroit hasn't been playing all that poorly, and Holland is prone to giving up the long ball every so often. That said, at this time of year, I wouldn't dare make a foray into this one. Detroit has been terrible on the road all year, showing some signs of life on their last trip, but again, they're playing with no pressure. The Rangers still have a sizable lead in the AL West, and Holland is coming off a good start. Pass.

Twins @ White Sox (-115) with a total of 7.5; F. Liriano vs. J. Danks;
Neither of these starting pitchers has particularly good numbers against the other team, and the White Sox are running out of time. Danks has been terrible against the Twins on the road, but not that bad at home. Of course, the fact that Minny has owned the White Sox this year (most of the AL Central has done quite well against Chicago) is definitely reason for concern.

Athletics @ Royals (-110) with a total of 7; G. Gonzalez vs. Z. Greinke;
Greinke has strong career numbers against the A's, better than Gonzalez has against the Royals, and that alone is enough to make me think twice before backing the better team. Oakland has, however, convinced itself that they have a shot at the Playoffs, so I expect some strong efforts, and as I wrote yesterday, the Royals have stated they're going to sit starters in any series against a team they think is out of the race. Look at some Unders and look at some KC opponents.

Red Sox (-135) @ Mariners with a total of 7.5; D. Matsuzaka vs. L. French;
I want almost no part of this game, let alone this series. This price is extremely low, considering how expensive last night's game was for Boston. This line might be so low that you think about Seattle just because, but I would advise that, at this time of the year, pass on games that look weird. Why? Because those games ARE weird.

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