Friday's MLB Tip Sheet

Friday's MLB Tip Sheet

Friday's MLB Tip Sheet
By Brian Edwards

One of the best rivalries in all of sports gets going again tonight when the Yankees and Red Sox square off at Fenway Park. Let’s take a look at this AL East showdown before exploring other highlights on Friday’s board.

**Yankees at Red Sox**

--Most books have installed Boston (5-5, +3) as a minus 115 favorite with a total of 9½ ‘over’ (minus 120). Bettors can collect a monster payout of plus 180 by backing the Red Sox on the run line (minus 1 ½ runs).

--The defending World Series champions won a 12-6 decision Thursday over Detroit as minus 125 favorites. The Red Sox cashed run-line tickets for a plus 150 return. Tim Wakefield picked up the victory, while Jonathan Papelbon recorded his third save of the year. J.D. Drew went 3-for-3 with two RBIs and a pair of runs scored.

--New York (4-5, -399) captured a 6-1 win Thursday at Kansas City, hooking up its backers as minus 140 favorites. The seven combined runs stayed ‘under’ the 9 ½-run total. Andy Pettitte worked 6 2/3 innings for his first win of the season. Alex Rodriguez, Melky Cabrera and Jorge Posada homered for Joe Girardi’s club.

--C.M Wang (2-0, 1.38 ERA) is 5-5 with a 4.56 ERA in 11 career starts against Boston. The Red Sox will counter with Clay Buchholz (0-1, 6.00), who is facing the Bronx Bombers for the first time.

--The Yankees have failed to steal a base in their first 10 games for the first time since 1948.

--The ‘under’ has been a money-making machine for the Yankees to date, cashing at a 9-1 clip.

--The ‘under’ is 5-3-1 for the Red Sox.

**Padres at Dodgers**

--Most sports books are listing the side as a pick ‘em with a total of 6½ ‘under’ (minus 120).

--Los Angeles (4-5, -151) is looking to bounce back from getting swept in three games at Arizona. The broom treatment pushed the Dodgers three games behind the division-leading Diamondbacks in the NL West.

--San Diego (5-5, -79) lost two out of three games to the Dodgers last weekend. Next, the Padres dropped two of three at San Francisco. They are off Wednesday’s 1-0 loss to the Giants.

--San Diego RHP Jake Peavy (2-0, 0.56 ERA) has been untouchable in his first two starts, scattering five hits and fanning 12 batters in 16 innings of work. The right-hander owns an incredible 10-1 record and 2.21 ERA in 19 career starts against the Dodgers.

--Los Angeles RHP Brad Penny (1-1, 2.84) has struggled against San Diego through the years, compiling a 3-7 record and 5.63 ERA in 15 career assignments.

--Peavy is absolutely dominant against Andruw Jones and Russell Martin. Jones is 1-for-18 (.056) against the righty, while Russel Martin is 2-for-23 (.082).

--The ‘under’ is 6-2-1 overall for L.A., 7-2-1 overall for San Diego.

**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

--Houston RHP Roy Oswalt (0-2, 6.00) owns a 5-2 record and 1.88 ERA in nine career starts against Florida. The Astros are minus 200 favorites at Sportsbook.com.

--Atlanta RHP Tim Hudson is 5-1 with a 1.25 ERA in nine career starts against Washington. The veteran right-hander will toe the rubber tonight as the Braves look to halt a three-game losing streak. They are minus 160 ‘chalk’ against the Nationals.

--Cleveland LHP C.C. Sabathia has a 100-64 career record, but he’s just 2-6 with a 6.04 ERA in 13 lifetime starts against Oakland.

--Colorado slugger Todd Helton is hitting .302 in 53 career at-bats against Arizona RHP Brandon Webb. Helton has four doubles, one triple and three homers against Webb, who is 9-7 with a 3.77 ERA in 22 career assignments against the Rockies.

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Re: Friday's MLB Tip Sheet

NATIONAL LEAGUE

San Diego (5-5) at L.A. Dodgers (4-5)


The Padres send ace right-hander and reigning Cy Young Award winner Jake Peavy (2-0, 0.56 ERA) to the Dodger Stadium mound against fellow righty Brad Penny (1-1, 2.84) in a rematch of a showdown six days ago in San Diego.

San Diego enters this series after losing two of three on the road to San Francisco. The Padres opened the set with an 8-4 win Monday, then lost 3-2 in 11 innings Tuesday and got blanked 1-0 Wednesday. Since getting off to 3-1 start, the Pads just 2-4 in their last six games, scoring five runs in the four defeats. Also, going back to last year, San Diego has dropped five of its last six on the road.

Los Angeles returns home after getting in a three-game series at Arizona, getting outscored 23-11, including a tough 4-3 setback in Thursday’s finale. The Dodgers are 2-1 at home this year

L.A. took two of three from the Padres last weekend at Petco Park, the only setback coming in Saturday’s 4-1 loss to Peavy. Going back to last year, the Dodgers are on a 4-1 run against San Diego.

Peavy has been on the mound for each of San Diego’s last three wins against the Dodgers and five of the last seven. In fact, with Saturday’s dominating effort – he hurled a complete-game, two-hit gem with one walk and eight strikeouts – Peavy improved to 10-1 with a 2.21 ERA in 19 lifetime starts against L.A. San Diego has won 11 of Peavy’s last 12 starts against the Dodgers.

Peavy, who shut out Houston over seven innings in his season debut, is coming off a 19-6 campaign (2.54 ERA), which included an eye-popping 10-1 mark and 2.57 ERA in 15 starts on the highway.

Penny, coming off a season-opening 5-0 home win over San Francisco, couldn’t match Peavy and the Padres in his second outing, allowing four runs on 10 hits in six innings. Penny is 3-7 with a 5.63 ERA in 15 starts against San Diego. In 2007, Penny nearly matched Peavy’s numbers, going 16-4 in 33 starts, including 8-2 with a 3.27 ERA at home.

L.A. is on streaks of 21-10 on Fridays, 19-7 when Penny starts at Dodger Stadium and 4-1 with Penny throwing on five days rest. But the Dodgers are just 5-11 in their last 16 against right-handers and 14-38 in their last 52 as an underdog.

The Pads are 8-2 in Peavy’s last 10 road outings and 14-4 in Peavy’s last 18 against a National League opponent. On the downside, they are 1-4 in their last five against righties and 1-5 in their last six roadies.

The under is 4-1 in the Padres’ last five overall and 9-2-1 in Peavy’s last 12 Friday starts, but the over is on a 6-0 tear with Peavy on the road, 8-2 for the Padres following an off day and 5-1 with Peavy throwing on five days rest. For Los Angeles, the over is on streaks of 11-2 in series openers, 4-1 after an off day, 6-0 on Friday and 5-1 with Penny going on five days rest. On the flip side, the under is 9-3 in Penny’s last 12 Friday outings and 8-3 in his last 11 against the NL West.

ATS ADVANTAGE: SAN DIEGO


AMERICAN LEAGUE

N.Y. Yankees (5-5) at Boston (5-5)


The 2008 edition of this American League rivalry kicks off at Fenway Park, where the Yankees will pit right-hander Chien-Ming Wang (2-0, 1.38 ERA) against the World Series champion Red Sox and right-hander Clay Buchholz (0-1, 5.40).

New York dropped the first two in its series at Kansas City, but behind a solid outing from Andy Pettitte, it salvaged Thursday’s finale, winning 6-1. The Yankees are 1-6 in their last seven series openers, but they are 15-5 in Wang’s last 20 road starts, 7-1 in Wang’s last eight outings on Friday and 8-2 when Wang starts Game 1 of a series.

Boston finished off a three-game set against Detroit with Thursday’s 12-6 rout, taking two of three from the Tigers after getting swept in three games in Toronto last weekend. The Red Sox are 0-4 in their last four against right-handed starters and 0-4 in their last four against the American League East, but they are 6-1 in their last seven series openers and 56-25 in their last 81 as a home chalk.

The Yankees are on a 6-1 streak in this rivalry and won the season series last year 10-8, including four of the last six at Boston, although Wang got shelled in his last start there in September, a 10-1 Red Sox victory. The Yanks are 11-5 in the last 16 clashes at Fenway.

Wang, who opened the season with a 3-2 home victory over Toronto, tamed Tampa Bay in his last outing on Sunday, allowing four hits and two walks with six strikeouts in six innings as New York won 2-0. Wang was 19-7 with a 3.70 ERA last year, including 9-3 with a 4.91 ERA on the road. For his career, he’s an even 5-5 in 11 starts (12 appearances) against Boston with a 4.56 ERA.

Buchholz struggled a bit in his first outing of 2008, allowing four runs on six hits in five innings in Saturday’s 10-2 loss at Toronto. Buchholz, a 23-year-old, broke into the majors in August last year, going 3-1 with a 1.59 ERA in four appearances (three starts) for the Sox, including a no-hitter in his second big-league start.

When these teams have met lately at Fenway, the over has been a good bet, cashing in 21 of the last 26 clashes. For New York, the over is on runs of 24-8-3 as an underdog, 8-2 in series openers, 8-2-1 when Wang pitches on the road and 4-0 with Wang on the hill at Fenway. Also, the over is on streaks for Boston of 20-7-2 on Friday, 4-1-1 against the A.L. East and 6-2 as a favorite. However, the Yankees have stayed under the total in each of their last six overall.

ATS ADVANTAGE: NEW YORK and OVER

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Re: Friday's MLB Tip Sheet

Jeff Haney likes the odds on some baseball long shots
By Jeff Haney

Let’s not go overboard: Asking the Baltimore Orioles or the Kansas City Royals to maintain their early leads in the AL East and AL Central would be a bit much.

After all, before the season the O’s and Royals were the two longest shots on the betting board to win their divisions. Kansas City was listed at 60-1 to win the AL Central, far behind the Tigers and Indians, and Baltimore was 500-1 to upset the Red Sox and Yankees and take the AL East.

That doesn’t mean sports gamblers should ignore the Orioles and Royals in their day-to-day baseball betting.

Not by a long shot.

In fact, Las Vegas sports handicapper Joe D’Amico is recommending the O’s and Royals as teams to back at the windows and predicts both will offer attractive prices to value-seeking baseball bettors at least through the early part of the season.

“In the American League right now, you’ll find some of the best prices on the Royals, the Orioles, and also the White Sox,” D’Amico said. “The AL East is traditionally the strongest division, with everybody talking about Boston and the Yankees.

“But it’s impossible to find any value on the Red Sox or Yankees. Their price is high to start with and it’s always jacked up even more because they are such public favorites. They’ll win a lot of games, but you’ll probably lose money betting them.”

Baltimore, at 6-1, and Kansas City, at 6-2, have started strong and won more money for bettors than any other two teams in baseball.

It could take a while for oddsmakers and the betting public to “catch up,” said D’Amico, whose style as a baseball handicapper is to play underdogs and short favorites — and to shop around at various sports books for the best price.

“It’s all about value in baseball,” said D’Amico, a contributor to the Vegas Insider Web site. “If you shop around, it’s easy to find a team at minus-122 (risk $1.22 to win $1) at one place and minus-127 at another.

“For a bettor betting $100 to $500 a game, several games a day, you can see how quickly that adds up to hundreds or even thousands of dollars in the course of a seven-month season.”

In the National League, D’Amico recommends paying attention to the Milwaukee Brewers and San Diego Padres, two good but perhaps not great teams that will win games without their odds getting out of control.

He suspects the betting lines on the St. Louis Cardinals, however, could quickly become inflated if they maintain their lead in the NL Central. He advises approaching the New York Mets, favored to win the league and the World Series, with caution.

“The Mets have as much or more talent than any team in baseball on paper, but as a bettor I’d stay away from them,” D’Amico said. “It’s going to be tough to find any value there.”

In playing baseball over/unders, or “totals,” paying attention to the home-plate umpire should play a role in your handicapping, even if it’s not the deciding factor, D’Amico said.

“Certain umpires are prone to call a larger strike zone,” D’Amico said. “If a pitcher knows that, he might throw a few more pitches outside, off the plate, because they know they’ll catch a few extra inches of strike zone. Hitters might know it, too, and end up swinging at bad pitches.”

For example, umpire Gerry Davis had 23 overs and just 12 unders behind the plate last season, according to Jim Feist’s umpire report. Scott Barry was 7-1 to the over, Jim Reynolds 21-13 and Larry Vanover 23-14.

Gary Darling had 13 unders and 20 overs, and Ed Rapuano and Jim Wolf were 12-20 to the under last year.

A strategy such as studying umpires’ tendencies, which might seem esoteric to a casual sports fan, reflects baseball betting’s status as a thinking person’s game, D’Amico said.

“In football, you come across a lot of undisciplined bettors who bet games they don’t really like on Saturday or Sunday because they don’t want to wait another week to make a bet,” he said. “In baseball, it should be easier to be disciplined. They play every day.

“With baseball, I like to say, ‘Be patient and be stingy. If you don’t like something today, just hang back and you’ll like something on the board tomorrow.’ ”

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