Houston Astros vs. Chicago Cubs 04/16

The Astros were finally able to capture their first win of the season on Thursday night. In their win over the Cardinals, Houston held St. Louis to just one total run. On Friday, however, don’t expect the same outcome. With Felipe Paulino taking the mound for the Astros, runs are bound to be falling from the sky. Couple this with the fact that Carlos Silva is starting for the Cubs, and you would expect this to be a high scoring affair. The only thing in the way of a high scoring game is inconsistent offense from both teams. With Alfonso Soriano struggling and the Astros having a generally mediocre lineup, runs being scored is far from a certainty.

If Lance Berkman was not hurt, and Alfonso Soriano was playing to his potential, the over/under in this game would be a lock at 9. With the way things are going, the over/under at 9 is still a great, with the pick being the over. Even the most mediocre MLB offenses can light up the scoreboard when Carlos Silva and Felipe Paulino are pitching. Barring Cy Young performances out of nowhere, I don’t see any reason why this game won’t go over 9. The Astros have finally gained some momentum, the Cubs have their fair share of hitters, and the pitching is below average.

Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Los Angeles Dodgers 04/15

The Diamondbacks won Wednesday night’s game in LA, but the Dodgers should be able to bounce back with a win on Thursday. While Arizona’s Dan Haren is certainly among the league’s elite pitchers, he has been known to struggle from time to time. This was the case in one of his early 2010 starts, and could very well be the case again on Thursday. The Dodgers, however, have good reason to place all of their trust in Hiroki Kuroda. Kuroda dazzled in his 2010 debut, and has been nothing short of spectatcular over the past few years. The Dodgers offense can really wake up when they face Haren on Thursday, giving them the boost that they need to embark on a winning streak.

Both pitchers in Thursday’s match up have had great success against the opposing team. Neither Kuroda nor Haren have had any issues with the opponent, but Haren has not done as well on the road. This looks to be Haren’s only weak spot, if you can even call it that. Nonetheless, both pitchers are absolutely capable of shutting down the offense altogether on Thursday. Regardless, Los Angeles’ offense is much more well rounded. Every spot in the order is a threat, and no bullpen can skate through their tough lineup.

The Dodgers have the edge on Thursday, that is for sure. At -113 on the money line, the Dodgers are definitely a profitable pick. Haren is no slouch on the mound, but the Dodgers bats are too much to handle for virtually any pitcher short of Cy Young himself.

Cincinnati Reds vs. Florida Marlins 04/14

The Cincinnati Reds and Florida Marlins will face off for the third time this week on Wednesday. Cincinatti, an underdog for the entirety of the series, is looking for the sweep. Florida, however, is not going to lie down and take another loss. The Marlins are starting young Chris Volstad. Volstad has shown that he throws hard enough to be a force in the Major Leagues for many years to come. The Reds have been on fire the past few days, but Volstad is the perfect extinguisher. The Reds are starting Homer Bailey. Bailey has faced a lot of adversity in his Major League career. He was a major prospect between 2006 and 2008, but his potential has fizzled out over the past year or two.

The Marlins bats are hungry and could have a feeding frenzy with Bailey. On the other side of the field, the Reds might run into problems trying to hit Volstad. The offensive advantage still goes to the Marlins, even if the Reds have exploited sub par pitching by the Marlins in the first two games of the series. Tuesday night’s game went into extra innings, so the Marlins will look for Volstad to eat up as much time as possible. The Reds should cool off Wednesday as the Marlins light up Bailey.

As was the case with the last game, the Marlins run line is the best bet in this game. The Marlins tend to explode for many runs, so when they win it is usually by a fair margin, even if 2010’s small sample size indicates otherwise. At +155 there is a lot of money to be made with a bet on the -1.5 run line with the Marlins.

Cincinnati Reds vs. Florida Marlins 04/13

The Marlins and Reds face off at 7:10 on Tuesday in the second game of their series. Monday’s game went down to the wire, with Cincinnati just barely escaping with a win. Both teams had opportunities to blow the game wide open. The Marlins steady offense kept them in the game, while the Reds rocky pitching blew every lead that they got. Scott Rolen was dominant on Monday, blasting two home runs. On Tuesday, the Marlins are starting Nate Robertson. Robertson is far from a stud, with a career ERA that approaches 5. The Reds are responding with Bronson Arroyo. Arroyo had a phenomenal start to kick off the 2010 season, but his 2009 was very mediocre. Don’t look to Arroyo’s first start for any indication of his true ability. Even the worst pitchers will throw gems from time to time. Arroyo isn’t a weak pitcher, but he isn’t a stud either.

The Marlins have the clear edge on offense. The Reds do have Jay Bruce and Joey Votto, but their lineup is not a constant threat. Scott Rolen and Brandon Phillips can breakout for big games, but they aren’t as consistent as the Marlins. The Marlins are built around a compilation of solid hitters who can all produce, while the Reds need to rely on just a few hitters to produce all of their runs.

The Marlins could have won Monday, and they should be looking to avenge their close loss on Tuesday. The moneyline is not favorable on either side of this game, but the run line is a great option. If the Marlins win Tuesday, it will probably be by at least a few runs. The game was close Monday, but it doesn’t mean that Tuesday’s game will be close. At +175, the Marlins -1.5 run line is a great pick. They might not cover this run line 50% of the time, but they should cover it enough times to make this a very profitable bet.

Tampa Bay Rays vs. Baltimore Orioles 04/13

The Rays and Orioles are set to battle again on Tuesday. On Monday, Tampa Bay was able to overcome a small one run deficit en route to a 5-1 win in Baltimore. The Orioles have been struggling mightily in 2010. This season was supposed to be a big year for the Orioles, but it has been a major disappointment so far. The Orioles have all of the weapons to win, particularly on offense, but they haven’t been able to produce at all. With that said, their bats can’t remain dead forever. Tuesday they are going to face Jeff Niemann, a pitcher who they have seen many times before. Niemann is far from an easy target, but the Orioles are prone to an offensive explosion.

The Orioles are starting Brian Matusz. Matusz is a young pitcher who has been quite impressive in his young career. He doesn’t look to be the type of pitcher who will occasionally blow up. He is pretty steady in his approach and can shut down virtually any lineup in baseball, the Rays included. If he can handle Crawford and Longoria, Matusz should be able to keep the Orioles in the game.

The Rays have posted a number of comebacks on the Orioles in 2010, but the O’s usually start off with the lead. Since the Orioles are prone to blowing games because of their weak bullpen, the best bet in this game is the first five innings. The Orioles are even money, while the Rays are closer to -120. If the Orioles bats can wake up early, they will lock up this bet.

Washington Nationals vs. Philadelphia Phillies 04/12

The Phillies and Nationals are meeting for their second series of 2010 on Monday. In the first three game series, Washington was able to escape with one win. This series should go the Phillies way, despite a recent hot streak for the Nationals. Aside from beating the Phillies, the Nationals were able to take two from the struggling Mets. For the most part, the Nationals have either gotten crushed or won by a few runs. This is why the Phillies shouldn’t be taken on the moneyline when you can bet the run line. What sense is there in betting the money line at -270? That is a massive number. Since the Phillies usually dominate when they win, it makes a lot more sense to go after the run line.

The Nationals are starting Jason Marquis, definitely a volatile pitcher. Marquis could shut down the Phillies, it certainly isn’t impossible, but it is much more likely that Hamels will shut down the Nationals. As previously mentioned, the Nationals have been on fire, but they aren’t a powerful offensive team. Once they face Hamels, they should drop back down to earth. The starting pitching edge goes to Hamels, who looked sharp in his debut, and the offensive advantage is not even in question.

The Phillies are a great pick at -130 on the -1.5 run line. Not the best line in the world, but all things considered, they should be able to lock up a 2+ run win quite often. The Nationals will need to beat up on Hamels early if they want to hang around.

Kansas City Royals vs. Detroit Tigers 04/12

The Detroit Tigers are off to a hot start in 2010, while the Royals are the same old Royals. The records of these teams, however, are not truly indicative of their play or potential. Kansas City won a game against Boston, and could have very easily won a few more. Detroit, on the other hand, just barely won on Sunday, overcoming a major deficit. Detroit seems to be one of the most overvalued teams in baseball. They have some offensive firepower, with Miguel Cabrera and Johnny Damon, but they aren’t as strong as they might seem. The team is lacking in a lot of areas.

Kansas City is far from a major offensive threat, but they have a lot of role players that are capable of putting together some good games. Beyond this, their pitching can keep them in a lot of games. On Monday, the Royals are starting Luke Hochevar. Hochevar could be a big problem for the Tigers, a team who had to play through a lot of adversity to lock up a win on Sunday. Max Scherzer will be taking the mound for Detroit on Monday. Detroit is, without a doubt, in great shape whenever Scherzer is pitching. With that said, their bullpen has to be pretty shot after Sunday. Their bats are tired, and it was just a long day overall for Detroit.

Is Kansas City going to win this game “most” of the time? No, probably not, even when you consider some of the variables in play. That said, they are going to win enough to justify a +165 pick on the moneyline. The Tigers might catch fire early, but there is a legitimate chance that they will struggle after Sunday’s game.

Cincinnati Reds vs. Florida Marlins 04/12

The Reds and the Marlins start a new series on Monday, with the Reds making the trip down to Miami. On Sunday, Florida was able to stage a comeback in the late stages of their afternoon match against the Dodgers. The Reds beat the Cubs in two of the last three games that they played, with their only loss coming against Carlos Zambrano. Even though they lost to Zambrano, they could have easily swept the series, having blown a 3-0 lead in their only loss. Cincinnati’s offense remains undervalued, with Jay Bruce underperforming in 2010. Joey Votto and and Brandon Phillips can produce plenty of runs on any given day. They don’t have any true superstars, but the Reds are capable of beating almost any team in baseball. Aside from theirĀ  opener, Cincinnati has managed to keep every game close.

Johnny Cueto starts for the Reds on Monday. Cueto has big game potential, but he is also prone to some really bad games. He should be able to shut down the Marlins, but it wouldn’t be a great surprise if the Marlins exploded for a big inning or two. This is the risk with Johnny Cueto. He might pitch a shutout, or he could give up six in three innings. With that said, he is a much better pitcher than Ricky Nolasco, the Marlins starter. Nolasco had a very mediocre 2009, and his first start of 2010 yielded a 4+ ERA. This is pretty much what you can expect from Nolasco, a 4-5 ERA.

The Marlins are very comparable to the Reds on offense. Hanley Ramirez and Dan Uggla are the perennial powers on Florida, but Jorge Cantu can punish opponents when he is hot. Considering that both teams are pretty even on offense, the Reds are a good pick on the moneyline at +135. The Reds need Cueto to perform, or for their bats to light up Nolasco. If either, or both, of those things happen, it should be an easy win for the Reds. This is one of the best picks in MLB Betting for Monday.

Chicago Bulls vs. Toronto Raptors 04/11

Toronto and Chicago are fighting for the last spot in the playoffs, and they have been for weeks. Toronto had to overcome a deficit in the standings, and have finally locked up the 8th and final spot. With that said, Chicago has the same record as Toronto, and is far from out of it. Today’s game in Toronto should be a hard fought battle, as it is very possible that the game will decide who makes the playoffs and who doesn’t.

Toronto hasn’t given up the past few weeks, and even the games they lost were very close. They have been the definition of resiliency. Everyone thinks of Derrick Rose, Kirk Hinrich, and Luol Deng when it comes to the Bulls, but the Raptors are nothing to laugh at. With Jose Calderon and Hedo Turkoglu, Toronto gives Chicago a run for their money. Chris Bosh is out, but you know they aren’t giving up. All things considered, you have to figure that the Raptors want this win more. They had to fight so hard to land a playoff spot, and it would be a shame to see them lose it now.

At +2 on the spread, the Toronto Raptors were a relatively easy pick. Toronto is one of those cities were you have to consider the home crowd. Toronto will surely have the stands packed and the fans screaming, giving them that extra boost to beat Chicago. Toronto wants this win, they’ve worked hard to get to this spot, and now they can win at home.

Minnesota Twins vs. Chicago White Sox 04/11

There is no doubt about it, the White Sox are off to an awful start, having posted just one victory in the young season. Sunday’s game is just what they need to get backon track, with Mark Buehrle starting for Chicago. The White Sox desperately needed to send their ace to the mound. With Buehrle getting the start, the White Sox have an instant edge over almost anyone that they face. The Twins are responding with Nick Blackburn. Blackburn is someone who can give the White Sox some trouble, but he isn’t somone who Chicago should typically have a tough time beating. The pitching match up is not even close in this one, Buehrle had an extremely impressive first start in 2010, while Blackburn could be an easy target for Chicago.

The offense is where things get a bit murky for the White Sox. On paper, Chicago looks like a dominant offensive team. They don’t have any mega superstars, but they have a solid group of All Star caliber starters. Perennial All Stars? No, but guys like Gordon Beckham, Carlos Quentin, Alex Rios, and Alexei Ramirez are capable of exposing any weaknesses a pitching staff might have. When you look at the Twins, everyone knows who to be afraid of. Joe Mauer is of course a threat each time he takes the field, but Justin Morneau, Jason Kubel, and even Delmon Young have big game potential. On the offensive side of things, Minnesota might have the slight edge, but it isn’t by much. When you consider that Buehrle is starting, it makes the White Sox an easy pick.

The moneyline is around -125 for the White Sox. All things considered, the White Sox should be a much heavier favorite. They should be gunning for a much needed win, Buehrle is starting, and their offense has a chance to breakout against Blackburn. The White Sox need to produce some offense if they want to win, but Buehrle’s pitching should do wonders for their chances on Sunday.

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