Saturday's MLB Tip Sheet

Saturday's MLB Tip Sheet

Saturday's MLB Tip Sheet
By Brad Young

Baseball will be on the backburner this weekend while some other sports hog the spotlight. However, the tickets still cash and that’s good enough.

While many sports fans will be wrapped up in the final days of the pro basketball regular season, the NHL playoffs and the Masters, there remains plenty of action on the baseball diamonds. Let’s take a look at four of Saturday’s late games.

**Marlins (Miller) at Astros (Backe)**

-Caesars Palace installed Houston as a $1.35 home ‘chalk’ over Florida, with the total set at 9½ ‘under’ (minus $1.20). This contest is scheduled to begin at 7:05 p.m. ET.

-Florida’s Andrew Miller (0-1, 12.91 ERA) escaped with a no-decision against Washington Monday after getting roughed up over 3 1/3 innings. The southpaw was reached for six runs on eight hits with a walk and three strikeouts.

-The Marlins eventually won that affair as a $1.25 road underdog, 10-7, while the combined 17 runs soared ‘over’ the 8 ½-run closing total. The ‘over’ has cashed in both of his starts this season.

-Miller, a three-year veteran, did not start against the Astros last season as a member of the Detroit Tigers.

-Houston hurler Brandon Backe (0-1, 3.27 ERA) is off Sunday’s no-decision against Chicago after yielding two runs on six hits (one home run) with three walks and seven strikeouts over six innings.

-The Astros eventually dropped that contest as a $1.80 road underdog, 3-2, while the combined five runs went ‘under’ the 9½-run closing total. The ‘under’ has cashed in both of his starts.

-Backe, a major leaguer since 2002, did not start against the Marlins last season.

**Padres (Young) at Dodgers (Lowe)**

-Caesars Palace opened Los Angeles as a $1.20 home favorite over San Diego, with the total set at seven ‘over’ (minus $1.20). This National League West affair is scheduled to begin at 10:10 p.m. ET.

-San Diego right-hander Chris Young (1-0, 2.13 ERA) picked up a no-decision against Los Angeles Sunday despite throwing seven solid innings. The Princeton product surrendered two runs on five hits (one home run) with three walks and eight strikeouts.

-The Padres eventually dropped that matchup as a $1.35 home ‘chalk,’ 3-2, while the combined five runs went ‘under’ the seven-run closing total. The ‘under’ has cashed in both of his outings this season.

-Young opened his season April 1 with a victory over Houston as a $1.85 home favorite, 2-1. The towering 6-foot-10 hurler was reached for one run on five hits with five walks and three strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings. The combined three runs failed to topple the seven-run closing total.

**Blue Jays (Halladay) at Rangers (Mendoza)**

-Caesars Palace lists Toronto as a $1.45 road ‘chalk’ over Texas, with the total set at 9½ (minus $1.20). This American League tilt is slated to start at 8:05 p.m. ET.

-Toronto ace Roy Halladay (1-1, 4.20 ERA) heads to the hill fresh off Sunday’s victory over Boston as a $1.10 home favorite, 7-4. The 30-year-old tossed eight solid innings, allowing four runs on eight hits (three home runs) with a walk and six strikeouts.

-The combined 11 runs eclipsed the eight-run closing total. The ‘under’ prevailed his first start of the season.

-Halladay was 2-1 against Texas last season in three starts, tossing a combined 21 1/3 innings while surrendering 14 runs on 24 hits with four walks and 20 strikeouts. The Blue Jays triumphed as a $2.20 home ‘chalk,’ 6-1, and as a $2.00 home favorite, 6-4, while losing as a $1.59 road ‘chalk,’ 11-4. The ‘over’ went 2-1 during those three outings.

-Texas counters with right-hander Luis Mendoza, who is making his first appearance of the season. The right-hander made his major league debut last September after getting called up from the minors.

-During his brief tenure with the Rangers, the Mexico native appeared in six games, making three starts while tossing 16 innings and allowing four runs on 13 hits (one home run) with four walks and seven strikeouts. Mendoza went 1-0 during those games while carrying a 2.25 ERA.

**Angels (Garland) at Mariners (Silva)**

-Caesars Palace installed Seattle as a $1.10 home favorite over Los Angeles, with the total listed at nine ‘under’ (minus $1.20). This AL West matchup is scheduled to start at 9:10 p.m. ET.

-Los Angeles pitcher Jon Garland (1-1, 5.54 ERA) was roughed up in his last outing Sunday against Texas as a $1.70 home ‘chalk,’ 10-4. The 28-year-old was reached for seven runs on eight hits (two home runs) with two walks and two strikeouts over just five innings.

-The combined 14 runs eclipsed the 9 ½-run closing total. The ‘over’ has cashed in both of Garland’s starts this season.

-The 6-foot-6 right-hander fell to the Mariners in his only start against them last year as a $1.53 road underdog, 11-5. The California native surrendered 10 runs (five earned) on 10 hits (two home runs) with a walk and a strikeout over just 2 2/3 innings. The combined 16 runs soared ‘over’ the eight-run closing total.

-Seattle’s Carlos Silva (1-0, 3.21 ERA) picked up a no-decision against Baltimore Monday, tossing seven innings while allowing four runs on nine hits (one home run) with no walks and five strikeouts.

-The Mariners eventually dropped that contest as a $1.10 road underdog, 5-4, while the combined nine runs slithered ‘under’ the 9 ½-run closing total. The ‘under’ has cashed in both of his starts this season.

-The right-hander went 1-0 against the Angels last season in two starts, going a combined 13 2/3 innings while yielding five runs (four earned) on 12 hits with two walks and three strikeouts. Seattle triumphed as a $1.20 home underdog, 7-5, while losing as a $2.00 road ‘dog, 4-3.

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NATIONAL LEAGUE

San Diego (6-5) at L.A. Dodgers (4-6)


The Padres’ Chris Young (1-0, 2.13 ERA) squares off against Derek Lowe (0-0, 2.25) for the second time in a week, this time at Dodger Stadium as these N.L. West rivals continue their three-game weekend series.

San Diego outlasted Los Angeles 7-5 on Friday night, snapping a modest two-game losing skid. Meanwhile, the Dodgers, who got swept at Arizona earlier in the week, have now lost four straight games since starting the season 4-2.

The Dodgers, who took two of three in San Diego last weekend, are still on a 4-2 run against the Padres dating to last year. Also, they’re 7-3 in Lowe’s last 10 outings, including 4-1 in his last five at home. On the downside, Joe Torre’s club is 5-16 in its last 21 games on Saturdays.

Both Young and Lowe were outstanding in Sunday’s matchup in San Diego, with Lowe giving up two runs (one earned) on five hits with a walk and six strikeouts in six innings, while Young went seven innings, surrendering two runs on five hits with three walks and eight strikeouts. However, neither was around for the decision, as the Dodgers prevailed 3-2 in 10 innings.

The Padres are 3-9 in Young’s last 12 starts overall, 0-6 in his last six on the road and 1-6 in his last seven against N.L. West foes. However, they’re 8-3 in his last 11 as an underdog.

Young, who gave up one run on five hits in 5 2/3 innings of a 2-1 home win over the Astros in his debut, was a much different pitcher on the road last year (5-6, 4.52 ERA) than he was at home (4-2, 1.69). Not surprisingly, then, he was dominant in his one home start against the Dodgers in 2007 (seven scoreless innings, three hits allowed in a 1-0 win), and not as strong in two starts in L.A. (1-1, 6.75 ERA).

For his career, Young is 1-2 despite a sterling 2.92 ERA in nine starts against the Dodgers (1-1, 4.05 ERA in L.A.). However, San Diego is 4-1 in Young’s five starts at Dodger Stadium.

Lowe has given up just three earned runs on 14 hits and one walk with 10 strikeouts in his first two starts of 2008, going six innings in each outing. Last year, he went 6-6 with 3.51 ERA at home.

Including Sunday’s outing, Lowe is 3-3 with a 2.98 ERA in 13 career starts against the Padres, giving up two earned runs or fewer in seven of his last 10 outings versus his rivals from the south. The last four times Lowe has faced San Diego at home, he’s posted a 1.84 ERA, but Los Angeles went just 2-2 in those contests.

The under is 5-1 in Lowe’s last six starts overall and 8-0-1 in Young’s last nine on Saturdays. However, the over is 22-7-1 in San Diego’s last 30 road games (2-2 this year), and the over is 8-3 in the last 11 series meetings at Dodger Stadium.

ATS ADVANTAGE: OVER


AMERICAN LEAGUE

N.Y. Yankees (6-5) at Boston (5-6)


Josh Beckett (0-1, 9.64) makes his second start of the season, and his first at Fenway Park, when he leads the Red Sox against Mike Mussina (1-1, 3.09) and the Yankees in the middle game of this weekend set between hated rivals.

Behind a masterful complete-game, two-hit performance from Chien-Ming Wang, New York took Friday’s series-opener 4-1 for its second straight win after going 1-4 in its last five. Also, the Yankees are now on a 7-1 in this rivalry, winning five of the last seven at Boston. Going back to 2006, New York is 12-5 in the last 17 clashes at Fenway.

Boston has dropped five of its last seven overall and is 0-5 in its last five against the American League East and 0-5 in its last five against right-handed starters.

Both teams have excelled on Saturdays recently, with the Yankees going 8-2 in the last 10 and Boston posting a 19-7 mark in its last 26. However, the Red Sox are on streaks of 20-9 at home (2-2 this year) and 36-17 as a favorite (4-5 this year), while New York is still only 6-11 in its last 17 as a ‘dog.

Beckett, who started the season on the disabled list because of back stiffness, got rocked for five runs on just three hits in 4 2/3 innings in his debut Sunday in Toronto, losing 7-4. Last year, Beckett went 9-5 with a 4.17 ERA in 17 starts at Fenway Park (not including playoffs), compared with 11-2, 2.18 ERA in 13 road outings.

Beckett is 4-3 with a 6.56 ERA in his eight career starts against the Yankees, going 2-1 with a 4.39 ERA in four starts last year.

After getting hit hard in his debut against the Blue Jays (four runs, eight hits in 5 2/3 innings of a 5-2 home loss), Mussina looked like his old self in Sunday’s 6-1 home win over the Rays, allowing just a run on two hits and one walk in six innings. Last year, Mussina went 4-5 with a 5.48 ERA in 14 starts on the highway.

Mussina got pummeled in two starts against the Red Sox last year, allowing 12 runs on 19 hits in 11 2/3 innings, with the Yanks losing 7-3 at home and 11-6 at Fenway. For his career, the veteran right-hander is 19-15 with a 3.66 ERA in 52 starts versus Boston, including 10-7 with a 3.73 ERA at Fenway Park.

Although last night’s contest stayed well under the total, the over is still 21-6 in the last 27 series meetings between these rivals, 6-2 in Beckett’s last eight starts versus New York (4-0 at home) and 5-2 in Mussina’s last seven outings against the Sox. Furthermore, the over is on streaks of 24-9-3 for the Yankees as an underdog, 9-3 for Mussina overall, 5-0 for Mussina as a road underdog, 13-3 for Boston on Saturday and 6-3 for Boston as a home favorite. Conversely, the Yankees have stayed under the total in seven straight overall.

ATS ADVANTAGE: NONE

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Saturday's best MLB bets
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Yankees vs. Red Sox -155, 9½

As long as oddsmakers keep setting totals around the double-digit mark for Yankee games, we might as well keep riding the under.

The over/under is now 1-10 in New York games this season following last night’s 4-1 victory over Boston. Tonight Josh Beckett looks to shake off a poor first outing and Mike Mussina takes the mound for the Yanks.

It is supposed to be cool with some wind blowing out toward the green monster and there’s a good chance of rain in Boston, so keep an eye on the weather here.

Pick: under 9½

Florida vs. Houston +120, 9½

Somebody must have forgotten to tell the young Marlins they weren’t supposed to be any good this year. They’ve jumped out to a 7-3 start and they’ve won more money for bettors than any team in the majors so far with more than six units (over $600 if you’re betting $100 each game).

Florida has been doing it with hitting and the club has scored 10 runs in three of its outings during a current four-game winning streak. Last night the Marlins set a club record by smashing out six long balls against the Astros and their respectable arm of Roy Oswalt.

The best part for the Marlins is they are getting production from many sources. Five different players hit dingers last night and seven Fish have multiple homers on the season. Mike Jacobs is tied for the lead in the bigs with five home runs.

Pick: over 9½

Toronto vs. Texas +135, 9½

Defense is something we tend to overlook when it comes to capping baseball. So you may not have realized the Rangers lead the majors in errors with 12 after committing three in an 8-5 loss to the Jays on Friday.

According to a report in the Dallas Morning News, the Rangers “booted, bobbled and misplayed balls all over the field.” The end result wasn’t a good one against a team that loves to run the bags aggressively and Toronto’s Greg Zaun even stole home on a double-steal play with the ball thrown to second base.

Luis Mendoza makes his first start of the season for the Rangers and just the fourth of his major league career today. You can’t think his nerves will be calmed any by what he saw yesterday.

Pick: Toronto -145   

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