We won our only play on Thursday to take us to 2-2 -35 so far this week. The rosters expanded to 40 players on September 1 we’ll have to reassess our strategy with a lot of teams going forward. September baseball handicapping can be tricky since some teams that are out of contention treat it almost like the preseason NFL and give prospects a lot of playing time. That can be a good or bad thing depending on the individual dynamics of each team. The trick is to figure out which teams might start exerting a better effort and which ones are just playing out the string. Three compelling underdog plays on Friday night’s betting menu:

MILWAUKEE BREWERS (ZACK GREINKE) AT HOUSTON ASTROS (LUCAS HARRELL)

The Houston Astros are a horrible team but you can’t say they’ve quit on the season. In fact they enter this contest on a four game winning streak and are 5-5 in their last 10 games. Astros will start Lucas Harrell who has spent most of the year with the Triple A Oklahoma City Red Hawks. He started the year in the Chicago White Sox organization but was claimed off waivers by the Astros earlier this summer. Zack Greinke is a ‘name’ pitcher and thus commands a huge price as a road favorite but much like the entire Milwaukee team hasn’t been especially sharp away from Miller Park this year—Greinke has a 5.56 road ERA and the Brewers have lost 6 of his 10 away starts. Milwaukee has lost money on the road this year (-8.8 units) and with the Astros showing good effort of late we’ll take a shot with the home team as huge underdogs.

Bet Houston Astros (Harrell) +200 over Milwaukee Brewers (Greinke)

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS (JOE SAUNDERS) AT SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS (MATT CAIN)

The Giants have a great pitching staff but have trouble scoring runs. That’s how Matt Cain can have a 1.96 ERA in his last three starts yet San Francisco has managed to lose two of those games. D-Backs red hot at the moment having won nine straight and have produced a ton of profits for baseball bettors this season. Arizona is +22.2 units overall, +20.5 units against RHP and +10.7 units on the road. The Giants have turned a profit against LHP but we just can’t get past that brutal 2.8 runs per game average at home. Besides, it’s not like they’re that much better offensively against southpaws averaging just 3.1 runs per game. At any rate, the value play is on the streaking Diamondbacks who can all but lock up the divisional title in this weekend series.

Bet Arizona Diamondbacks (Saunders) +155 over San Francisco Giants (Cain)

CHICAGO WHITE SOX (JOHN DANKS) AT DETROIT TIGERS (JUSTIN VERLANDER)

Verlander is a first rate pitcher, but in terms of recent form Danks has been better—Danks enters this game with a 1.64 ERA in his L3 assignments and along with Mark Buehrle gives the White Sox a sold 1-2 punch of southpaws in their pitching rotation. Both teams playing well at the moment but we like the value with the solid recent form of Danks against the ‘big name’ opponent in Verlander. ChiSox have made money on the road this year (+12.8 units). Important series for both teams and we’ll take the value with the visitor.

Bet Chicago White Sox (Danks) +190 over Detroit Tigers (Verlander)

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