You are using an old web browser. Such browsers do not support modern web technologies and do not offer proper security. Please update your browser or download one of the others suggested for free.
Mozilla Firefox |
Google Chrome |
Internet Explorer |
Rounding the bases: Hottest bets in the big leagues
By BILL MCBRIDE
Every week, we update you on who's hot, who's not and situational betting spots in Major League Baseball (All records and statistics through Saturday):
HOT TEAM: Atlanta Braves
THIS SEASON: 34-25.
LAST WEEK: 6-1.
THIS WEEK'S SCHEDULE: Home to the Yankees for three, home to the Orioles for three.
THE SKINNY: The Braves might be the most balanced, consistent group out there in the very competitive NL East. Atlanta is two games out of first place, and though it has struggled in the division (8-11), the club is getting it done everywhere else. Martin Prado was hitting .320, Dan Uggla had 41 RBIs, and Michael Bourn had 16 steals as Atlanta concluded a weekend set against Toronto.
All seems well with a team that collapsed down the stretch last season but has rallied around that pain. And do not discount the fate of Chipper Jones in that motivation talk as well. He went on the disabled list May 24 with a left calf contusion, but returned to the lineup Sunday. His teammates see the way he has worked to get back. They respect that and every player wants to send the veteran to the postseason before he calls it a career.
COLD TEAM: Colorado Rockies
THIS SEASON: 24-34.
LAST WEEK: 2-5.
THIS WEEK'S SCHEDULE: Home to the Athletics for three, at the Tigers for three.
THE SKINNY: The Rockies have been ho-hum all season. They entered Sunday’s game against the Angels 13 games out of first place in the National League West. But last week was particularly tough, as they lost a pair to Arizona in a 24-hour span by a combined 16-1 score.
In a four-game losing streak, before Sunday’s action, the Rockies allowed 34 runs. That's not going to get it done when you trot out an inconsistent offense to support that staff, and that's what the Rockies do. Carlos Gonzalez has been tremendous. But when one player leads your team in several offensive categories, it often isn’t a good sign.
The Rockies are way out of contention, as a result, and on the mound, they don't have a pitcher with five wins yet.
OVER TEAM: Oakland Athletics
O/U THIS SEASON: 23-34-3.
O/U LAST WEEK: 5-2.
THIS WEEK'S SCHEDULE: At the Rockies for three, home to the Padres for three.
THE SKINNY: This is rare real estate for the Athletics in any season. Even in the “Moneyball” heyday, when they were winning at a great clip, it wasn’t on the strength of overwhelming offense.
Listen, Oakland will always have a huge ballpark, and a not-so-huge payroll, so more times than not, the Athletics will be an under team. But something has gotten into them lately. They beat the Rangers of all teams, 12-1, and 7-1, last week, and scored 11 runs in the first two games of the weekend series with Arizona. Not bad.
UNDER TEAM: Toronto Blue Jays
O/U THIS SEASON: 27-29-3.
O/U LAST WEEK: 2-5.
THIS WEEK'S SCHEDULE: Home to the Nationals for three, at the Phillies for three.
THE SKINNY: Toronto has a better offense than it’s showed, but that’s not your problem. As they underachieve, it’s only helped their value as a solid under play in the late spring. Playing in National League ballparks hasn’t helped -- and notice they close this week at Philadelphia -- as the Blue Jays scored just five runs in their first two games in Atlanta. They did break out in a 12-4 win Sunday.
Things will pick up. This team, after all, has Jose Bautista (17 home runs), Edwin Encarnacion (43 RBIs), and J.P. Arencibia (seven doubles) to rely on. And keep in mind that what was perceived as a solid pitching staff has been underwhelming, and that may help turn the tide to overs, as well. Toronto began Sunday’s action 19th in both team ERA (4.09) and WHIP (1.33).
But for now, something’s a bit off throughout, and the unders have been pouring in. In their last 11 games, they posted seven unders.
The 27-year-old right-hander tossed a complete-game shutout against the White Sox last time out, and he beat the Orioles in his start before that. Batters are hitting .191 against Morrow, who has an incredible WHIP of 0.99. He’s allowed one or zero runs in three of his last four starts.
Garrett Richards, Los Angeles Angels (1-0, 1.13 ERA)
Richards’ first start was a beauty, as he allowed one run over seven innings in a 6-1 win over the Mariners. He struck out eight, walked two and scattered four hits. He’ll try to keep it up Monday in the Battle for L.A. at Dodger Stadium.
Chris Capuano, Los Angeles Dodgers (8-2, 2.82 ERA)
The 33-year-old lefty isn’t dominating like he was earlier this season. In his last two starts, Capuano has given up four homers, 11 hits, five walks and eight earned runs in just 10 1/3 innings. However, he’s still holding batters to a .203 average overall.
Ivan Nova, New York Yankees (7-2, 5.09 ERA)
The 25-year-old right-hander is coming off his best outing, an eight-inning performance against the Rays in which he allowed one run on four hits. But hey, it’s a light schedule of games and we had to pick someone in the slumping category. Nova had given up five earned runs in three of his previous four starts. Batters are hitting .297 against him this season.
New York Yankees at Atlanta Braves – There’s a 60 percent chance of scattered thunderstorms. A 9-mph wind will be blowing out to center, with temperatures in the mid-70s.
NHL: The under is 9-1-1 in the last 11 Devils-Kings games.
MLB: Boston is 8-3 in Josh Beckett’s last 11 starts vs. NL East teams.
Euro 2012: France is unbeaten in its last 21 matches.
NHL: The Kings are 0-8 in their last eight games as a favorite of -151 to -200.
MLB: Washington is 0-6 in Edwin Jackson’s last six road starts.
Euro 2012: England has lost its last three matches to France and are without a win in five all-time tries in competitions.
10-1 – That’s the Devils’ record in Games 4-7 throughout these playoffs. New Jersey has rallied from a 3-0 deficit to trail 3-2 heading into Monday’s Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals in Los Angeles.
Injury that shouldn’t be overlooked
Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday missed his second straight Sunday with back spasms, with Allen Craig replacing him. Holliday, hitting .276 with 10 homers and 35 RBIs has a chance to return Tuesday when St. Louis hosts the White Sox.
Game of the day
New Jersey Devils at Los Angeles Kings (-165, 4.5)
“Are you cheering for the Devils or for the Kings? So you’re cheering for the Devils. I’m going to say the pressure’s on them because they’re the home team and they had 100-some  points, OK?” – Kings coach Darryl Sutter, when asked where the pressure now resides in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Notes and tips
Finally, Devils forward Zach Parise has woken up. Before Saturday’s 2-1 win in New Jersey, he hadn’t scored since Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Rangers. But Parise was the key to extending the Cup finals as he had a goal, three shots and a critical block. Game 6 is Monday night in Los Angeles.
Ukraine will have the homefield advantage when it plays Sweden in Kiev on Monday in a Group D opener at Euro 2012. But Sweden will be well represented, too. About 12,000 Swedish fans are expected to attend Monday’s match, and about 18,000 are expected for the England match on June 19. "I have always said that 50% of football is about the spectators and the atmosphere,'' Swedish star Zlatan Ibrahimovic said. "How the fans react and chant, that's what gives you adrenaline and motivation. When things are hard on the pitch, the fans' support can lift you 10 to 20 percent.”
Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz was not in the lineup Sunday due to a sore right Achilles, and is day-to-day. Cruz is hitting .258 with eight homers and 36 RBIs. The Rangers are off Monday before hosting Arizona starting Tuesday.
Angels ace Jered Weaver (back) will throw off a mound Monday and could pitch next weekend. This will be his first bullpen session since he was placed on the 15-day DL. Weaver is 6-1 with a 2.61 ERA in 11 starts.
The Yankees look to build on their 9-0 record in Ivan Nova's last 9 road starts against a team with a winning record. New York is the pick (-110) according to Dunkel, which has the Yankees favored by 1/2 a run. Dunkel Pick: NY Yankees (-110). Here are all of today's picks.
MONDAY, JUNE 11
Game 951-952: Washington at Toronto (7:07 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Washington (Jackson) 15.961; Toronto (Morrow) 17.052
Dunkel Line: Toronto by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Toronto (-150); 8
Dunkel Pick: Toronto (-150); Over
Game 953-954: NY Yankees at Atlanta (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: NY Yankees (Nova) 16.641; Atlanta (Delgado) 16.002
Dunkel Line: NY Yankees by 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Atlanta (-110); 9
Dunkel Pick: NY Yankees (-110); Under
Game 955-956: Boston at Miami (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Boston (Beckett) 14.017; Miami (Johnson) 15.446
Dunkel Line: Miami by 1 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: Boston (-115); 8
Dunkel Pick: Miami (-105); Under
Game 957-958: LA Angels at LA Dodgers (10:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: LA Angels (Richards) 17.513; LA Dodgers (Capuano) 16.119
Dunkel Line: LA Angels by 1 1/2; 7 1/2
Vegas Line: LA Dodgers (-120); 7
Dunkel Pick: LA Angels (+100); Over