PITTSBURGH PIRATES (PAUL MAHOLM) AT MILWAUKEE BREWERS (ZACK GREINKE)
Pirates in freefall having lost 13 of 15 games. The real turning point was that series in Atlanta that began with a bad call that gave them the loss in a 19 inning game. The big issue for Pittsburgh is their pitching staff—we’d wondered if they’d overachieved early on and they’ve fallen apart since that series at Turner Field. Since leaving Atlanta the Bucs have lost 11 of 13 games and given up a total of 90 runs or 6.92 per game. The Brewers are huge favorites here and with good reason—they’ve got the best home record in baseball (41-15 +21.8 units) and have won 8 of 10 games to take over the NL Central lead. Zack Greinke has put up some good numbers of late (1.37 ERA L3) but he’s typically not an overpowering pitcher. The Brewers are a perfect 9-0 when he starts at Miller Park and Greinke’s home ERA is 3.81. He’s also gone Over in 6 of his home starts (2 UN, 1 push). Maholm was clobbered in his last start by light hitting San Diego (7 ER in 6.7 innings of work) and we don’t expect him to bounce back in this tough venue. Brewers have dominated head to head play at home—since 2009 they’re 16-2 against Pittsburgh but more importantly for our purposes have gone Over in 13 of those games (4 UN, 1 push). With the Pirates’ staff imploding and the Brewers playing their best baseball of the year we expect this to be a bloodbath and will play this one Over the total.
Bet Pittsburgh/Milwaukee Over 8 +105
DETROIT TIGERS (BRAD PENNY) AT BALTIMORE ORIOLES (ALFREDO SIMON)
Brad Penny has been in awful form of late, but in our view that just means we’re getting a better price to go against the reeling Orioles. O’s now -21.1 units overall this season and have been destroyed by opponents with winning records. YTD they’re 16-46 -28.2 units against opponents over the .500 mark and 6-19 -12 units against winning teams in the second half of the season. Baltimore is at the point that we don’t worry about pitching matchups and the other more involved stats we usually consider when handicapping baseball. Instead, when we can get a good price against them we pull the trigger. With the Tigers looking to put some distance between themselves and the rest of the AL Central we expect them to take advantage of this mismatch.
Bet Detroit Tigers (Penny) -110 over Baltimore Orioles (Simon)
LOS ANGELS ANGELS (ERVIN SANTANA) AT TORONTO BLUE JAYS (BRANDON MORROW)
We seldom base a play on a dominant starting pitcher for the simple fact that it’s hard to find good value on the top tier talent. We might just have a rare opportunity to not only back an overpowering pitcher in top form, but to do so at an underdog price. Ervin Santana has been in exceptional form in his last few starts—in his last three assignments he’s pitched 26.3 innings with two complete games winning all three. In the process he’s allowed a total of 15 hits, 2 ER and has struck out 24 while walking only 4. While there are situational cases to be made for each side in this game we’ll ride Santana’s torrid recent form and back the Angels as road underdogs.
Bet Los Angeles Angels (Santana) +122 over Toronto Blue Jays (Morrow)
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