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Wednesday's MLB Tip Sheet

Wednesday's MLB Tip Sheet

Wednesday's Total Plays
By Josh Jacobs

It’s only the end of April but wagering on totals in baseball is already beginning to take on an identity.

Fifteen games are revving up on Wednesday’s schedule and teams like Arizona (19-7, +1085) and Pittsburgh (10-15, -370) have been cash cows when wagering on the ‘over’. On the other side of these trends are Milwaukee (14-11, +317) and Kansas City (11-14 -23), two clubs who have combined for a 32-17-1 record on the ‘under’.

In this tip sheet, we’re going to key on some handpicked contests which look to be likely candidates for a sharp total’s play.

The ‘Over’ Plays

The Pirates have been a total bettor’s best friend, leading the league with 17 ‘over’ contests in 25 games played.

Right off the bat, Pittsburgh’s 5.44 ERA (ranked worst in the majors) lends itself as a big reason for providing high scoring affairs. In 96 innings, the bullpen has floundered with a 4.78 ERA and a WHIP of 1.54.

While Pittsburgh’s offense is only making contact for a .246 BA and driving in 4.4 runs per game, opponents are swinging away for a .296 BA and scoring 6.2 runs per game. Combine these simplistic numbers together and it’s a surprise that most books have continued to post totals anywhere from 8½ to 9½ runs (with the exception of two games listed at a 10-run total – both went ‘over’).

The Pirates will be facing a Mets’ team (13-11, -92) that has been notorious in the totals department. With both teams meeting six times in 2007, the ‘over’ was a perfect 6-0. Most books set the low mark in these six head-to-head contests at 7½ runs, while the highest was at 9½. Either way, both clubs averaged 12.8 runs per game in those six.

Pittsburgh starter Tom Gorzelanny (1-3, 8.46 ERA) is expected to toe the slab on Wednesday. Gorzelanny has surrendered as much as seven earned runs in two outings this season, with his last start resulting in only a two hitter with three runs sacrificed (but seven walks in the game did raise concern about men in scoring position).

Dating back to last September, Gorzelanny has combined for a 2-6 record with a 7.12 ERA in a total of 11 starts.

When Houston meets Arizona (19-7, +1085), the hottest team in both leagues, at 3:40 p.m. EDT, defense will once again play a large roll in whether or not bettors will reap the rewards of a totals win.

The Astros have been the team to take in low scoring affairs, building up a 17-10 record on the ‘under’. Houston has gone ‘over’ an eight-run total only 29 percent of time this season and ‘over’ nine runs just 25 percent.

The Diamondbacks have been the complete opposite of its opponent. Arizona is 8-3 on the ‘over’ at home this season, but buyers of totals beware as a 7-5 record on the ‘under’ during the day has skewed high scoring results.

Arizona finished off last week with a 5-2 performance and went on to average 4.6 runs per game. The D-Backs had a huge drop off in the batting department, averaging just .228 from the plate in the last seven days (compared to their .266 BA for the season).

The biggest surprise in regards to high totals is Arizona’s tight 3.03 ERA (tops in the league). Starting pitchers Brandon Webb, Dan Harren and Micah Owens have combined to assemble an impressive 14-1 record with a 2.86 ERA (Webb himself has been unhittable with a 1.98 ERA).

Take heed to the fact that Houston is batting .268 versus lefties this season, while averaging a skimp 1.4 runs per game (in 16 total games versus southpaws).

The Diamondbacks will place veteran lefty, Randy Johnson (1-1, 2.70) on the hill for this ballgame. His last start was a six-inning effort against San Diego which resulted in a 5-1 win. Johnson gave up just three hits, one run and seven strikeouts.

The ‘over’ is 8-2 in the last 10 head-to-head meetings in Arizona.

Going ‘under’?

Ending April with the 21st worst scoring offense in the league (4.4 runs per game) and the 22nd worst ERA (4.44), the New York Yankees (14-13, -299) have truly found harmony in the lower echelon of offense and defense.

While the Yanks are producing a lackluster 4.7 runs per game versus right-handed pitchers, three runs per game versus southpaw hurlers has been counterproductive.

But New York won’t have to worry about lefties with Detroit’s (11-15, -828) Jeremy Bonderman (1-2, 4.28) taking the mound on Wednesday. Bonderman is 3-1-1 on the ‘under’ this season, he’s allowed just seven hits with five runs in the last two starts and owns a 2.70 ERA in the last three games on the road (1-1 record).

Compounding the ‘under’ scenario in New York is at home during the night the Yankees have gone ‘over’ a total of 7 ½ runs three out of seven games.

When set at 9½ runs on the total, both teams have combined to averaged a success rate of 38 percent on the ‘over’ (42% for Detroit and 33% for the Yankees).

There’s been no method to the Tigers’ madness on the total as the ‘over’ has calculated out to a 12-12-1 record. However, in its last 10, Detroit is 5-3-2 on the ‘under’.

With the Tigers’ brining in five runs per game and the pitching staff surrendering a little over five runs per game, an ‘over’ play sounds viable. But when New York has been favored in the last 20 games, the ‘under’ is 15-5.

If Detroit can utilize a bullpen throwing for a 0.81 ERA in the last 10, and the Yankees continue its stall offense, the ‘under’ is a very plausible outcome.

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Re: Wednesday's MLB Tip Sheet

Diamond Watch
By Matt Fargo

Wednesday, April 30th

Houston Astros at Arizona Diamondbacks


Randy Johnson will be making his fourth start of the season and he is coming off his first victory since June of last year. He has looked good in his return, tossing two quality games, making it seven of his last 10 dating back to last season. He will be opposed by Shawn Chacon who has been the unluckiest pitcher in baseball this year. He has tossed five quality games yet does not have a victory to show for it. The Astros have scored an average of 3.4 rpg in his five starts, scoring three runs or fewer four times.

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Re: Wednesday's MLB Tip Sheet

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Milwaukee (15-11) at Chicago Cubs (16-10)


The Brewers send veteran right-hander Jeff Suppan (1-0, 3.48 ERA) to the hill at Wrigley Field against the Cubs and right-hander Ryan Dempster (3-0, 2.90) in the second game of a three-game series.

Milwaukee outslugged the Cubs 10-7 in Tuesday’s opener and has now alternated wins and losses in its last four games, though the Brewers are 4-1 in their last five on the road. Meanwhile, Chicago has followed a six-game winning streak by dropping four of its last five. The Cubs also had a five-game home winning streak snapped last night, but is still 9-2 in its last 11 at Wrigley.

These two teams opened the season against each other, with the Brew Crew taking two of three at Wrigley Field. Suppan notched one of those wins, allowing two runs on six hits in 6 1/3 innings on April 2 as Milwaukee rolled 8-2. Dempster got the Cubs’ lone win in that series the following day, yielding two runs on three hits in six innings, prevailing 6-3. The Cubs won the season series last year 9-6, going 5-4 at home against Milwaukee.

Suppan has had solid outings in four of his five starts, but he’s only managed one decision – the victory over the Cubs on April 2. Most recently, he allowed just one run on five hits in seven innings on Thursday against Philadelphia, but couldn’t get any offensive or bullpen help in a 3-1 home loss.

Suppan is 6-5 with a 3.13 ERA in 17 starts against Chicago. Last year on the highway, he went just 3-9 with a 5.38 ERA, though he was 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA in two starts at Wrigley in 2007.

Along with his three wins this season, Dempster has a pair of no-decisions, including his last outing, in which he allowed three runs on four hits in seven innings as the Cubs came up short 5-3 Friday at Washington. He is 5-2 with a 2.40 ERA in 31 lifetime appearances (nine starts) against the Brewers. Before this season, Dempster hadn’t started a game since the 2005 season, as he served as the Cubs’ closer the past two years, notching 28 saves and a posting a 2-7 record in 66 relief appearances in 2007.

The Brewers are on streaks of 6-1 overall when Suppan starts, 7-0 when Suppan faces the N.L. Central, and 4-1 when he works on the road. On the downside, Milwaukee is 0-5 in Suppan’s last five road starts against a winning team and 4-12 in the team’s last 16 games on Wednesdays.

The Cubs are on runs of 15-7 overall, 7-2 at home against right-handed starters, 8-4 overall against righties and 23-8 against the N.L. Central. They’re also 4-0 in Dempster’s last four starts within the division.

For Milwaukee, the under is on streaks of 4-1 overall, 4-1 on the highway, 20-8-2 on the road against right-handed starters, 6-2 overall versus righties, 3-1 in Suppan’s last four starts overall and 5-1 in his last six outings against the Cubs. For Chicago, the over is 9-1 in its last 10 against the N.L. Central and 4-1-1 in Dempster’s last six division starts, but the under has cashed in four of the last five overall for Lou Piniella’s club.

ATS ADVANTAGE: CHICAGO and UNDER


AMERICAN LEAGUE

Oakland (17-11) at L.A. Angels (17-11)


The Athletics will have left-hander Dana Eveland (3-1, 2.48) toeing the slab for the third game of a four-game road trip against the American League West rival Angels, who will hand the ball to red-hot Ervin Santana (4-0, 2.97).

After getting shellacked 14-2 in Monday’s series opener, the Angels came back Tuesday and rode Joe Saunders’ outstanding pitching performance to a 2-0 victory. Los Angeles has alternated wins and losses in its last five games, but is 5-2 in its last seven.

Oakland is still on an 8-3 tear, going 5-2 in its last seven, and the A’s have won each of their last three series.

This is the first series this season between these division rivals. Last year, Oakland narrowly edged the Angels 10-9, going 5-5 in Los Angeles. On the bright side for Los Angeles, it is 6-1 in Santana’s last seven starts against the A’s and 4-1 in his last five home outings against Oakland.

Eveland opened the season with two solid starts, notching a win and a no-decision while allowing a total of just one run in 13 1/3 innings. He then took a road loss at the Chicago White Sox in which he gave up four runs on five hits in 4 2/3 innings – his shortest outing of the season. But he’s since bounced back with two straight wins, allowing a combined four runs on nine hits in 11 innings in wins over the Royals (7-1 at home) and Mariners (4-3 on the road).

The 24-year-old Eveland, who had just one start in five appearances for Arizona last season, is 5-5 with a 5.98 ERA in 46 career big-league appearances (11 starts).

In his last start, Santana gave up three runs on six hits in 6 1/3 innings as Los Angeles edged Detroit 4-3 on the road Friday. The lone blemish on Santana’s record this year was a no-decision in a 4-3 home loss to Cleveland on April 8. Even in that outing, the right-hander allowed just two runs on six hits in six innings.

Santana has been stellar against Oakland in his career, going 7-1 with a 1.38 ERA in 10 games (nine starts). He’s also 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA in two home starts this season.

The Athletics are on hot streaks of 9-4 on the road, 7-0 on the road against right-handed starters, 7-2 against winning teams and 16-7 on Wednesdays. However, Oakland is just 4-10 in its last 14 matchups against the A.L. West.

The Angels are a sterling 27-10 in Santana’s last 37 home starts and are on further positive runs of 5-1 against left-handed starters, 6-2 inside the division, 6-2 with Santana going against a winning team and 19-7 when Santana battles the A.L. West.

Last night’s game easily stayed under the total, continuing strong under trends in this rivalry of 37-15-2 overall and 27-9 in Los Angeles, and the under is 8-1 in Santana’s nine career starts against the A’s (4-1 at home). The under is also 5-0 in Eveland’s five starts this season, 7-2-1 in Oakland’s last 10 versus the A.L. West and 6-2 in its last eight on the road. Finally, for L.A., the under is on streaks of 8-3-2 overall, 5-1-1 at home, 6-1 against right-handed starters and 4-0 when Santana works at home.

ATS ADVANTAGE:  L.A. ANGELS and UNDER

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Wednesday's MLB Tip Sheet
By Brad Young

There are a couple of interesting pitching matchups on Wednesday’s schedule, sometimes pitting polar opposites. The Los Angeles-Florida has a matchup between a pitcher still searching for his first victory against a hurler who is still undefeated.
   
However, the best pitching matchup of the day is reserved for the Oakland-Los Angeles contest. Both pitchers in that game are a combined 7-1 with ERA’s under 3.00 in a key American League West meeting. Now, let’s break down four games on Wednesday’s schedule.

**Dodgers (Billingsley) at Marlins (Olsen)**

-Caesars Palace opened Florida as a $1.10 home ‘chalk’ over Los Angeles, with the total set at 8½ ‘under’ (minus $1.20). This National League tilt is slated to start at 7:10 p.m. ET.

-Los Angeles pitcher Chad Billingsley (0-4, 6.87 ERA) is still searching for his first victory of the season after Thursday’s setback to Arizona as a $1.30 home favorite, 6-4. The 6-foot-1 hurler was reached for five runs on six hits (one home run) with two walks and 12 strikeouts over six innings.

-The combined 10 runs toppled the 8 ½-run closing total, ending back-to-back ‘under’ outings for the right-hander.

-Billingsley picked up a no-decision against the Marlins last year, tossing five innings while allowing three runs on six hits (one home run) with three walks and five strikeouts. The Dodgers eventually dropped that affair as a $1.32 home ‘chalk,’ 6-5, while the combined 11 runs went ‘over’ the 8 ½-point closing total.

-Florida southpaw Scott Olsen (3-0, 2.06 ERA) is off a no-decision against Milwaukee Friday despite tossing 7 1/3 innings of scoreless ball. The four-year veteran surrendered four hits with five walks.

-The Marlins eventually won that affair as a $1.50 road underdog, 3-0, while the three runs never seriously threatened the nine-run closing total. Florida has won all five of his starts this season, with the ‘under’ going 4-1.

-Olsen fell to Los Angeles last year as a $1.22 road underdog, 9-3, yielding three runs on five hits (one home run) with a walk and a strikeout over just one inning. The combined 12 runs eclipsed the nine-run closing total.

**Brewers (Suppan) at Cubs (Dempster)**

-Caesars Palace installed Chicago as a $1.30 home favorite over Milwaukee. There are no totals posted on Wrigley Field contests until the day of the game due to the unpredictable winds. This NL Central contest is scheduled to begin at 8:05 p.m. ET.

-Milwaukee’s Jeff Suppan (1-0, 3.48 ERA) has received four consecutive no decisions after Thursday’s effort against Philadelphia. The veteran right-hander went seven innings, surrendering one run on five hits (one home run) with three walks and three strikeouts.

-The Brewers ended up dropping that contest as a $1.40 home favorite, 3-1, while the combined four runs went ‘under’ the 10-run closing total. The ‘under’ is 3-1 his last four outings.

-Suppan beat Chicago April 2 as a $1.50 road underdog, 8-2, allowing two runs on six hits (two home runs) with two walks and two strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings. The combined 10 runs slithered ‘over’ the 9 ½-run closing total.

-Chicago hurler Ryan Dempster (3-0, 2.90 ERA) picked up a no-decision in Friday’s matchup with Washington. The 30-year-old went seven innings while being reached for three runs (two earned) on four hits (one home run) with three walks and five strikeouts.

-The Cubs eventually dropped that game as a $1.25 road favorite, 5-3, while the combined eight runs went ‘under’ the nine-run closing total. Chicago had won his first four starts, with the ‘over’ going 3-0-1.

-Dempster beat the Brewers April 3 as a $1.30 home ‘chalk,’ 6-3, yielding two runs (one earned) on three hits with two walks and five strikeouts over six innings. The combined nine runs landed directly on the closing total.

**Blue Jays (McGowan) at Red Sox (Matsuzaka)**

-Caesars Palace lists Boston as a $1.80 home ‘chalk’ over Toronto, with the total set at 9½ ‘under’ (minus $1.20). This American League East matchup is scheduled to start at 7:05 p.m. ET.

-Toronto’s Dustin McGowan (1-2, 4.18 ERA) heads to the hill for the first time since Thursday’s setback to Tampa Bay as a $1.00 road underdog, 5-3. The Georgia native lasted four innings, yielding five runs (four earned) on four hits with seven walks and six strikeouts.

-The combined eight runs failed to eclipse the eight-run closing total. The Blue Jays are 1-4 when McGowan is pitching, with the ‘under’ going 4-0-1.

-The 6-foot-3 right-hander went 1-1 versus Boston last year in two starts, going a combined 14 innings while allowing seven runs on 13 hits (three home runs) with two walks and 13 strikeouts. The Blue Jays fell as a $2.00 road underdog, 9-4, while prevailing as a home ‘pick,’ 6-1.

-Boston righty Daisuke Matsuzaka (4-0, 3.14 ERA) continued his winning ways after beating Texas April 18 as a $2.20 home ‘chalk,’ 11-3. The Japanese native was tagged for three runs on five hits (one home run) with two walks and four strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings.

-The combined 14 runs toppled the 10-run closing total, helping the ‘over’ cash his second consecutive contest. The Red Sox have won all five of Matsuzaka’s starts.

-The 27-year-old went 3-1 against the Blue Jays last year in four starts, going a combined 24 1/3 innings while surrendering 14 runs on 27 hits (four home runs) with nine walks and 23 strikeouts. Boston prevailed as a $1.65 road favorite, 9-3, as a $2.20 home ‘chalk,’ 9-4, and as a $2.00 home favorite, 13-10, while losing as a $1.55 road ‘chalk,’ 2-1. The ‘over’ was 3-1 during those four games.

**Athletics (Eveland) at Angels (Santana)**

-Caesars Palace opened Los Angeles as a $1.55 home favorite over Oakland, with the total listed at nine ‘under’ (minus $1.20). This AL West game is scheduled to start at 10:05 p.m. ET.

-Oakland left-hander Dana Eveland (3-1, 2.48 ERA) is coming off back-to-back victories after slipping past Seattle Friday as a $1.00 road underdog, 4-3. The four-year veteran went 5 1/3 innings, yielding three runs on six hits with a walk and three strikeouts.

-The combined seven runs failed to eclipse the 8 ½-run closing total, helping the ‘under’ improve to 5-0 when he’s pitching.

-Eveland has not started against the Angels the past few years.

-Los Angeles counters with Ervin Santana (4-0, 2.97 ERA), who is off Friday’s victory over Detroit as a $1.00 road underdog, 4-3. The Dominican Republic native was reached for three runs on six hits (one home run) with two walks and four strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings.

-The combined seven runs went ‘under’ the 10 ½-run closing total, helping the ‘under’ improve to 4-1 when he’s on the mound.

-Santana beat the Athletics last season as a $1.45 home ‘chalk,’ 9-5, tossing 6 1/3 innings of scoreless ball on two hits with five walks and four strikeouts. The combined 14 runs went ‘over’ the 9 ½-run closing total.

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