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Every week we take a look at the hottest and coldest teams as well as the best over and under bets in major league baseball.
For the week of March 31-April 7.
Hot Team: Colorado Rockies
Last week: 5-1
Upcoming schedule: at San Francisco, at San Diego
Skinny: The Rockies are the early MLB leaders in runs per game (6.5), team batting average (.333), and home runs (13). Colorado’s pitching staff also boasts a combined 2.80 ERA through the first six games.
Cold Team: Milwaukee Brewers
Last week: 1-5
Upcoming schedule: at Chicago (Cubs), at Cardinals
Skinny: The Brewers have dropped five straight after knocking off the Rockies 5-4 on Opening Day. Milwaukee pitchers have surrendered 17 runs over the club’s last two losses.
Over Team: Oakland Athletics
Last week: 6-1 Over/under
Upcoming schedule: at Los Angeles (Angels), vs. Detroit
Skinny: A’s hitters have belted 12 homers during Opening Week and are averaging 5.43 runs per game.
Under Team: Chicago Cubs
Last week: 1-5 over/Under
Upcoming schedule: vs. Milwaukee, vs. San Francisco
Skinny: The Cubs are averaging 2.17 runs per game and have a .180 team batting average through the first six games.
Reds at Cardinals: Reds outlast Washington, but what would concern me here is that they had to use Marshall, Broxton, and Chapman on Sunday, while the Cardinals used very little bullpen, thanks to Wainright. We did give them out as a probably play in one of our write ups, and I pride myself on that type of thing, even though it doesn't show in the boxscore. Obviously Cardinals home opener and Reds first road game. Garcia's ERA at home last year was far better than on the road, but his hits/walks/WHIP et all really were not that much different than on the road. He has managed the Reds order fairly well, but at -110 they almost appear to be begging for people to take St. Louis, so I may find a way not to. Garcia shut down, on the road, a hot-hitting D-backs team and managed to keep the ball on the ground all night, too. What would concern me about the Reds, aside from the pen issue, is that Latos threw 100 pitches against the Angels. Given the success of the Cardinals against Latos, I do think the Cardinals are the right side. Will look at the total (hit 62%) this week, later.
Mets at Phillies: The Mets were very fortunate not to get blown out by the Fish, and were simply able to get out of jam after jam on Sunday. Then of course had timely hitting off of Cishek in the ninth. Phillies almost pull the second improbable in a row against the Royals, so one has to wonder if they aren't pretty confident right now. But, then there's Halladay. Apparently it's all about his release point and allowing more flyballs. Whatever the case may be, that could be in his head right now. He has, however, owned Wright, Duda, and Murphy so the Mets could be the cure here. One has to wonder whether Harvey's impressive outing was him, the opposition, or both, but he hasn't given up much to the few Phillies he's faced. All things being equal this may come down to bullpens, and I trust neither. This is a fairly cheap price on the potential of Halladay, really. I leaned under, but that's already come down off of 8, so probably a pass. Perhaps a lean back to the over, since it's supposed to be fairly mild with a slight helping breeze. Tough one right now.
Atlanta at Miami: The Fish did everything but win the game in New York, and Stanton just looks lost right now. It's not a matter of teams pitching around him, either, because he hasn't been up with runners on. Freddie Freeman went on the DL for the Braves, and that could pose a defensive problem, actually. Maholm looked pretty good last week against the Phillies, but that was the Phillies who until the weekend weren't hitting. Many of the Marlins have done enough damage to think that the cheap Miami RL might be worth a play, especially in a big park that may not see too many runs. Slowey looked pretty good against the Nationals, but it's still Kevin Slowey. Maybe with less expectations he'll settle down. Certainly might have a hard time trusting the Miami bullpen after they were all used today, and gave it up as it would be. I'd trust the Braves' better even if they hadn't been used, obviously. Since the Braves don't have much exposure to him, I could see Miami scoring some off of Maholm, and perhaps a first five inning bet on Miami.
Pittsburgh at Arizona: After the late game(s) against the Brewers and the complete meltdown(s) of the Arizona bullpens, I lean Pirates here as it's the D-Backs first game back, and a late night Sunday at that. Pittsburgh's value may never be better, since they only had four hits against Ryu and less against Kerhsaw, and they may well be in Arizona before the D-Backs are. Of course it's always tough to fade Arizona, at home, against a left-handed pitcher, but Wandy's done a good enough job in limited exposure for me not to rule out the Pirates here. Cahill clearly either stayed in Arizona or left early, so we're not worried about him being tired. We are worried about him at home, as we have been since he became a D-back. Perhaps he totally benefited from pitching several years in Oakland's big park. The totals' already come off of "9" in most places. This is only the second time most of the Pirate regulars have seen him, but that may not deter me. It's another one that at -150 (and dropping) they may be asking for Arizona money. And if the Pirates RL is that expensive (-165) then it's a small play on Pittsburgh or pass. I just won't lay big units on big chalk, which is what has worked for us for three seasons.
Baltimore at Boston: My first thought was what would this line have been a week ago when nobody expected anything from Boston. I'd expect people to jump all over them after what they did in Toronto on Sunday. In trying to make the opposite case, although Buchholz looked great at New York, it was a weak Yankee lineup and he did give up more flyball outs than not, which is also something I watch closely. He's owned Markakis, who's just not hitting right now, and Hardy has owned him, so up and down there is a case to be made that the Orioles might score. Yes, it's Boston's home opener, but Fenway is always full and it will bring out the best in Baltimore, too. Perhaps the Orioles were thinking about this game while they were losing to the Twins, and doing so only allowing four hits. Chen looked good at Tampa bay, but everyone has against the Rays so far. His pitch count was down, but Boston hasn't had any trouble hitting him in the two times they've met before. Given Boston's serious bullpen advantage, I would have to think they may be the right side. But, knowing these two teams like I do, nothing the Orioles do in Boston surprises me. That total sitting at nine is probably a result of what Boston did on Sunday and what they Orioles have done the first week. My inclination would be that Middlebrooks, although he hits Chen well, will not hit three more home runs and that the natural regression of things keeps this under the number, but I will wait and see if it goes to 9.5 first. Huge difference.
Yes, we've had another wonderful (I don't have a lengthy vocabulary of adjectives) season and we will have a play in this game on Monday. Doubtful we'll fire a 3* GOY or anything, but long term people will get our best bet. I can make a reasonable case for L'ville, as perhaps they had their scare, and Witchita State (who we had) was the perfect (or imperfect) matchup for them). Michigan had a week to prepare for Syracuse and their zone, and 48 hours to prepare for L'ville and theirs. I cannot think that Michigan will go 26 minutes without turning the ball over (sorry, JD) and I cannot think that L'ville will miss as many shots as they did Saturday. So, as much as I despise laying points, at the moment I think the Cardinals win. ML play, perhaps. I do think that this game's total is pretty right on, as of now. I don't expect Michigan to miss as many shots, either. Usually these big games start out slow and deliberate, but knowing the way both of these teams want to play, I would think the pace would be quicker sooner rather than later. Nothing to lose. So, I guess that would mean I lean over, which is also hard to fathom. If for no other reason than Joe Q will be betting the Cardinals and over from 5:00PM EST until tip off, and Joe Q doesn't usually go 2-0. Plenty of time.
-- JGarcia is 3-0, 1.69 in his last four starts. Latos is 2-1, 3.19 in his last five.
-- Harvey is 3-2, 1.84 in his last seven starts.
-- Maholm is 2-1, 1.39 in his last four starts.
-- Cahill is 4-2, 3.15 in his last six starts. WRodriguez is 2-0, 2.41 in his last three starts.
-- Bumgarner is 2-0, 0.00 in his last two starts (15 IP).
-- WChen is 1-0, 3.00 in his last couple starts.
-- Kuroda is 2-2, 3.34 in his last five starts.
-- Correia is 2-0, 1.98 in his last couple starts.
-- Hellickson is 2-1, 2.84 in his last seven starts. Ogando shut Houston out for 6.1 IP in his first start since '11.
-- Saunders is 2-2, 3.32 in his last six starts.
-- Estrada is 1-1, 5.82 in his last three starts. Jackson is 1-3, 8.00 in his last four starts.
-- Halladay is 2-2, 9.67 in his last five starts.
-- Slowey is 0-5, 7.71 in his last five starts.
-- de la Rosa is 0-2, 10.80 in his last four starts.
-- Buchholz is 0-3, 7.20 in his last three home starts.
-- Jimenez is 0-6, 6.75 in his last nine starts.
-- Santana is 1-3, 5.40 in his last four starts.
-- Humber is 1-2, 6.20 in his last four starts.
-- Five of six Cub games stayed under total; five of six Milwaukee games went over the total.
-- Last four Cincinnati games went over the total.
-- Four of six Philly games went over the total.
-- Three of last four Atlanta games stayed under total.
-- Five of six Pittsburgh games stayed under the total.
-- Last three Colorado games stayed under total; three of last four Giant tilts went over.
-- Five of six Baltimore games went over the total.
-- Over is 4-1-1 in first six Bronx games.
-- Three of last four Minnesota games went over the total.
-- Four of six Tampa Bay games went over the total.
-- Last three Houston games went over the total.
-- Cincinnati won four of its last five games. Cardinals won last two games, scoring 20 runs.
-- Mets won four of their first six games.
-- Braves won five of their first six games.
-- Arizona won five of its first six games.
-- Colorado won its last five games, scoring 35 runs.
-- Red Sox won four of their first six games.
-- Minnesota won four of its last five games. Royals won three of last four.
-- Rangers won four of their last five games.
-- Cubs lost three of their last four games. Milwaukee lost last five games, allowing 35 runs.
-- Phillies lost four of their last six games.
-- Miami lost five of its first six games.
-- Pittsburgh lost five of its first six games.
-- Giants lost last two games, allowing 20 runs; they scored 3 or less runs in five of their six games.
-- Orioles lost last two games, allowing ten runs.
-- Bronx Bombers lost four of first six games. Indians lost three of their last four games.
-- Mariners lost four of their last five games. Astros lost their last five games, scoring eight runs.