The Betting Corner: MLB Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

BJ_Justin_Upton_b2b_p1uze741_kw4c469p4-23-13 Recap:

CANCELED: 1 Unit – Cleveland at Chi White Sox (Under 8)

Season YTD: 27-20 +5.07 Units

MLB Futures Watch:

.5 Units: Pittsburgh Pirates Under 77 (-110) 11-9

1 Unit: Houston Astros Under 59.5 (-110) 6-14

1 Unit: Atlanta Braves Over 87.5 (-110) 15-5

1 Unit: Seattle Mariners Over 77 (-125) 8-14

1.5 Units: Cleveland Indians Over 77 (-110) 8-10

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We have another game cancelled yesterday.  In recent history, I don’t remember this many games that have been cancelled due to inclement weather.  We’ve got to be in or at least close to double digits at this point and there’s still a week left in the month of April.

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1 Unit – Arizona at San Francisco (+150)

As I’m writing this, Arizona has just taken a 6-4 lead over San Fran in the top of the 11th so I’m going to assume they’ll close it out.  We could’ve gotten a little more value out of this had they lost the first two games of this series but our bet Wednesday is based off of value anyways so it’s kind of irrelevant.

Ian Kennedy has struggled a bit this year, but the Giants would be a perfect candidate to break out of it.  In his career against San Francisco, he’s started 13 games and has a 6-2 record with a 2.38 ERA.  In his career at AT&T park, he’s 3-1 over 7 starts holding a 2.66 ERA, a 1.08 WHIP, and a .215 opponent BA.  His opponent in Madison Bumgarner has started off a little stronger this year, going 3-0 with a 2.05 ERA.  He hasn’t given up more than 2 runs in a start yet YTD.  He doesn’t have horrible stats against Arizona holding a .500 record in 8 starts and a 3.78 ERA.

Two reasons we’re betting this one.  The first is I don’t expect Bumgarner to continue his dominance in this game.  3 of his first 4 games were against under .500 teams and Arizona has won 4 of their last 5 games against him.  The second reason is the moneyline is way off.  No reason in hell should Arizona be anywhere near a +150 underdog given this matchup.

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1 Unit – Pittsburgh at Philadelphia (-120)

For the second game on our card, we’re going with Philadelphia in game two of this civil war series.  Hamel’s pitched well, but the Phillies offensive woes continued as they lost 2-0 Tuesday night.  They face off Wednesday against Wandy Rodriguez who’s started off the season strong.  He’s 2-0 in 3 starts with an ERA of 0.56.  However, in Citizen’s Bank Ballpark, he’s sporting a 7.11 ERA over 4 games.  He’s also got the following stats against the following Philly hitters.  Ryan Howard (4-12 w/ 1 HR), Jimmy Rollins (6-15 w/ 1 HR), Chase Utely (2-10), and Michael Young (6-18).  Those are some encouraging stats for the core of the Philly offense (less Utley). Hopefully, they’ll be able to put a few early runs on the board and relieve some pressure off Halladay.

Speaking of Halladay, he seems to have figured out his early season woes, getting 2 wins in his last 2 starts giving up only 3 earned runs in 15 innings of work.  Not only that, but he’s pitched extremely well against Pittsburgh in his career.  He’s 4-1 over 6 starts with an ERA under 1.  At -120, at home, AND after a loss in the series opener, look for the Fightin’ Phils to bounce back and scrap out a win in this one.

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**Note – The lines on the following games aren’t up yet.  I’ll check into them tomorrow and update the page with plays if needed.

Atlanta at Colorado

Toronto at Baltimore

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0.5 Units – Cleveland at Chi White Sox (Under 8) -120

We’re hopping back on the same play we had yesterday before it got rained out.  We’re knocking it down to 0.5 units however because our odds were hacked from -105 to -120, and it scares me just enough that they were ready to go yesterday and have to re-prepare themselves all over again to start today (some pitchers can do it no problem and others hate breaking their routine).  The stats are still there to back up this play, but there’s a few more variables at work now.

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0.5 Units – Kansas City at Detroit (+166)

Wade Davis has always been a quick starter in his career.  In the month of April all time, he holds a 7-3 record with a 2.83 ERA.  So far this year, he’s 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA (and hasn’t given up an earned run in his last 2).  His opponent in Max Scherzer has also started off well this season, honing a 1-0 record with a 2.84 ERA.  The line is what get’s me in this one.  Detroit has been struggling to score runs (averaging 1.2 runs per game in their last 5) and has lost their last 4 in a row.  Kansas City played very competitively in Boston taking 2 of 3 (surprising considering the emotion Boston was playing with in front of their home fans for the first time since the bombing).  The only reason I’m not making this a 1 unit play is that neither of these teams have played a game in 3 days, so with that much time off, I don’t wanna get burned if Detroit’s offense comes out hot.

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1 Unit – Texas at LA Angels (Over 7.5) (-115)

The Angels Bullpen is taxed right now.  They’ve had 2 extra inning games in their last 3, of which the bullpen has thrown 14 innings.  De La Rosa, Downs, and Frieri have all thrown at least an inning of work in each of those 3.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, their hand is forced to use Michael Roth in a spot start thinning their bullpen even more.  This game could get out of hand quick against an offense as powerful 1 through 9 as Texas.  7.5 seems awfully low considering the above.  Not to mention, neither team has scored less than 4 runs in their previous 5 games.  Darvish is the only reason this game is near the number it’s at and he only lasted 5 innings and gave up 3 against the Angels not 2 and a half weeks ago.

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Barcelona Exposed in Lob-sided Defeat

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It was supposed to be a highly touted semi-final Champions League clash of two world football titans.  It was supposed to be Germany versus Spain.  It was supposed to be Lionel Messi and the unbreakable passing of Barcelona vs. Bastian Schweinstager and the complete team of Bayern Munich.  But what it turned into was a showcase of the pure physical talents of the Germans and it exposed a serious weakness in Barcelona.

The game in Germany started out as to be expected.  Barcelona had the lion’s share of the possession, and Bayern did its work on the counter-attack, feeding off a potent attack from Frank Ribery and Arjen Robben.  But the one thing that stood out even in the beginning was the physical dominance of Bayern in the air; they have a serious height advantage and looked to feed the ball in the box through the air.

Messi, the soccer golden-child, nursed a hamstring injury and looked a shell of himself against the physical Germans.  And it showed in Barcelona’s lack of ability to find the goal, both goals themselves and even shots on target.  However, midway through the first half, Bayern made Barcelona pay for their disadvantage.

In a brilliant build-up, Thomas Muller found himself in the box, but heavily guarded.  After a quick pass out to Robben, Robben chipped the ball through to Dante, who headed it directly back to an open Muller who headed in for the first goal of many for the Germans.  It was that airplay that would ultimately prove to be the demise of the Spaniards, who could not physically compete with the men of Bayern.

Early in the second half, they were once again exposed.  Off a corner, Robben found Muller on the far post.  Muller, everywhere on the pitch during this game, headed it right back to the center, where beloved German striker Mario Gomez was waiting to smash home the second for Bayern.  Barcelona looked lost and physically mismatched.  However, they began to build some momentum, driving and pushing forward and finding the ability to get good looks at the goal.

But the Germans were not finished.  Robben, who is regularly given flak for his disinterest in passing to his teammates, showed why he is capable of holding onto the ball with a brilliant bit of skill in the 73rd minute. With a little help from a Muller screen, he switched the ball from his right to his natural left and smashed home from an incredibly difficult angle to put the Germans up by an unthinkable score of 3-0.  Muller later scored again to make the score 4-0.

This was a very telling game for both squads.  The Germans asserted themselves and claimed their proper reward.  A dominant 4-0 win that made a statement to the football world and Barcelona, long thought of a football giants.  The smooth passing and game control of Barcelona have long been the staples of their huge success.  But Bayern played the counter-attack with brilliance and sent a message to both their opponent, as well as both of their potential future opponents in Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid, who face off in their own Champions League semi-final Wednesday at 11:45 PST.

As for Barcelona, the opposite was true.  More questions were raised than answered.  They were unable to finish in front of goal with Messi hobbled.  They were unable to compete on set pieces and crosses.  They accumulated four yellow cards on ten fouls, and were majorly outnumbered on corner kicks, 11-4, and shots taken 15-4.  They melted down as the game went on and truly looked as though they were in a game out of their league, which is mind-boggling, because this is Barcelona we are talking about.  This team is essentially the Spanish national team, the same team that throttled Italy 4-0 in the Euro-Cup finals in the summer of 2012.

Now they head back home to the Bernabeu down 4-0 and they need to win by the same margin without allowing any goals to the visitors to even have a chance at penalty kicks.  Not the ideal position for the former Champions.

 

Player of the Match: Thomas Muller.  Muller was DOMINANT in this one, scoring two goals and registering an assist, not to mention making the physical play that allowed Robben’s goal in the 73rd minute.   His strength of pace and willingness to fight into the box was unparalleled on the pitch.

 

Worst Player of the Match: Gerard Pique.  Being married to Shakira has its perks, but the Spaniard was horrendous in this one.  His is the staple of the back four for Barcelona, but he looked lost, much like the rest of his team in the lob-sided defeat.  He also should have been called for a handball that would have resulted in a penalty kick, but he got away with it.  Karma struck though, and his team was throttled 4-0 in an embarrassing fashion

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Sammy Scherr
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