Utah Jazz vs. Los Angeles Clippers
NBA Point Spread Pick: Jazz +3.5 (April 25th 2017)
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Scott “The Bulldog” Rickenbach NBA Tuesday Free Pick Utah Jazz (+) @ Los Angeles Clippers @ 10:35 ET – It looks easy to take the home team minus the short number to bounce back off of a loss. Of course we all know what generally happens when something looks a little too easy. The fact is that nothing is easy and, in this particular case, I like the value with the points being offered as the Clippers certainly aren’t the same team without Blake Griffin. The road team and home team have alternated wins and losses so far in this series and I look for that pattern to continue here.
The Clippers are on a 2-5 ATS run the last 3 seasons when tied up in a playoff series and all the pressure is on them to win here at home and take this crucial Game 5. As has been evidenced in prior playoff series, the Clips don’t often handle pressure very well. As for the Jazz, they are shooting the ball very well right now and also are off of their best game on the boards in Game 4. Certainly Griffin’s absence in Game 4 helped sway the battle of the boards to be a little more in favor of the Jazz and I look for that trend to continue tonight. The Jazz are loose, confident, and healthier than the Clippers. That is the perfect recipe for a dangerous dog. Free Pick on the UTAH JAZZ in late night Tuesday NBA action. Best of luck, Scott “The Bulldog” Rickenbach
Los Angeles Angels vs. Toronto Blue Jays
MLB Prediction: Toronto +115 odds (April 24th 2017)
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The set-up: The Blue Jays and Angels wrap up their four-game series in Anaheim tonight. The teams split a pair of one-run decisions Friday and Saturday, before the Blue Jays won 6-2 on Sunday, scoring all their runs in the 8th and 9th innings. The 5-13 Blue Jays will now look to capture their first series win of the season in Monday’s game against the 8-12 Angels.
The pitching matchup: Francisco Liriano (1-1 & 5.11 ERA ERA) gets the nod for Toronto up against the Angels’ Jesse Chavez (1-3 & 5.00 ERA). Liriano’s 2017 debut was a disaster, as he retired just one batter at Tampa Bay, while surrendering five runs on three hits and four walks. Somehow, he escaped with a no-decision in that outing. He then allowed two runs and struck out 10 over 6 2/3 innings in a hard-luck loss to Baltimore on April 13, before scattering four hits over 5 1/3 scoreless innings of a victory over Boston on Wednesday. While he’s bounced back from that awful debut with two solid starts, he’s struggled against the Angels in his career, going 2-6 with a 6.20 ERA in 10 starts (teams are 4-6) and a relief appearance. Chavez was originally slated to face Toronto on Sunday but he pitched one inning of relief in Friday’s game (a 13-inning contest), allowing three runs on four hits and suffered his third consecutive loss. He had allowed just one earned run in two of his first three starts but went just 1-1 in those outings. Chavez, who had a pair of brief stints with the Blue Jays, seeks his first career win over them after going 0-4 with an 8.53 ERA in four appearances (two starts / 0-2).
Check out Larry Ness’ Blue Jays vs. Angels pick here
The pick: The Blue Jays have reached the last two AL championship series, so they can’t be as bad as their 2017 start. Meanwhile, the Angels have lost 10 of their last 12, after opening 6-2. How can one trust Chavez as a starter plus the team’s bullpen running on empty. The relief corps allowed the bulk of the runs Friday in an 8-7, 13-inning loss, was touched for three late runs in a 5-4 win Saturday, then gave up six runs in the last two Toronto at-bats in a 6-2 loss Sunday. Toronto gets that first series win of 2017.
Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds
MLB Over-Under Pick: Over 9 runs -110 odds (April 23rd 2017)
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We have a meeting between two hot lineups. The Cubs have managed 34 runs in their past four games. The Reds have produced 13 runs in their past two games. Both lineups enjoy a favorable match-up versus the respective pitcher and should produce today.
The Reds’ batters love facing Lackey. Against him they have produced a .316 BA and .863 ops in 136 at-bats. Lackey relies on a variety of pitches which induce both ground and fly balls. Against such versatile pitchers the Reds are at their best, producing a .747 ops thus far. The Reds are strongest against right-handed pitchers in general, enjoying a .768 ops in over 450 at-bats against right-handed starters. I expect the Reds to knock around Lackey.
The Cubs hitters should enjoy a strong performance against Arroyo. Arroyo is very much a finesse pitcher who relies on precision where he cannot enjoy any power. The Cubs are at their best against finesse pitchers, producing a .767 ops against them. Jon Jay has not hit finesse pitchers in general well, but he evidently matches up well with Arroyo, against whom he is 15/40 lifetime, with five extra-base hits. Arroyo has consistently been getting shelled on the season and Chicago batters should be very productive against him, as they are strongest against pitchers who rely on finesse over power, which Arroyo does to an extreme degree, because he struggles so much with velocity.
Tim Adleman, a low-velocity pitcher, indeed only gave up two runs in six innings against the Cubs, but his fip was actually 6.38, meaning that Chicago batters were hitting the ball well, but unluckily into the direction of Cincinnati outfielders. And yet that game still went over the run total, because the Cubs were able to damage Cincinnati’s elite bullpen. This team has firepower and is hot, now. And we can rely on them to hit Arroyo hard, even though they haven’t seen much of him. The Reds will continue to hit Lackey well. Both lineups will contribute to this game exceeding the run total. Take the ‘over!’
Seattle Mariners vs. Oakland Athletics
MLB Betting Pick: A’s -123 odds (April 23rd 2017)
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The price is right with the A’s at home today. This is a big play on Oakland starter Andrew Triggs, who is 3-0 and yet to allow a run in 3 starts. This could be the next gem in the rough the A’s organization has found. I’m willing to ride it out for a while, especially if he’s laying less than -130 at home against a team that is sending out a starter like Yovani Gallardo, who has a 6.19 ERA in 3 starts, all losses for Seattle. I have yet to mention that the A’s are red-hot having won 5 straight. Give me Oakland -123!
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