Kansas City Royals vs. Oakland Athletics
Betting Prediction: Under 6.5 runs (September 30th 2014)
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The game will be played at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. Game time is 8:07 ET and will be aired on TBS. The Royals make it back to the playoffs for the first time in 29 years. This will be a sellout crowd with many fans that weren’t even born the last time the Royals were in the playoffs.
Jon Lester takes the mound for the A’s with a 16-11 record and 2.46 ERA. He has been a Royals killer in his career going 9-3 with a 1.84 ERA in 13 starts. He won all three of his starts against them this year with a 2.61 ERA. To be fair there are a lot of pitchers who have claimed KC as the team they dominate because the Royals haven’t really been competitive many years until the last couple. The A’s have had trouble scoring since they traded Cespedes. They hit .233 after the ASG and have the worst second half record of any team in the playoffs.
The Royals counter with James Shields, with his 14-8 record and 3.21 ERA. Shields is 6-4 with a 3.82 ERA in 15 starts versus the Athletics. He was 1-0 with a 3.21 ERA in 2 starts this year. Like the A’s, KC has trouble scoring runs. They led the majors in stolen bases and are capable of manufacturing runs, which they need to because they had the least amount of homers in the majors this year. They had three players that stole 25 bases this year. The KC late inning relievers are the best group in the majors. They were 72-1 when having the lead after seven innings.
This should be a low scoring game and the team that scratches out a run or two likely will get the win. The A’s bullpen is almost as good as the Royals. This game may come down to who scores a run first.
Free Play on the UNDER 6.5
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. San Diego Chargers
Week 4 NFL Pick: San Diego -12.5 (September 28th 2014)
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The Jacksonville Jaguars are going with rookie QB Blake Bortles this week in San Diego, but it’s unlikely to help. The Jaguars seemingly haven’t improved much, ranking last in the NFL versus the run as well as the pass. San Diego is off to an impressive start to the season, and I like the Chargers to win by more than two TDs this afternoon.
Here are my keys to the game:
1. Jags Pass Protection – Chad Henne was sacked a whopping 10 times in the loss to Washington, and poor pass protection could make life difficult for the rookie Borltes today. Henne was again sacked three times in the first quarter at Indy last week, and Bortles came in and threw a pair of picks, taking just one sack.
2. Toby Gerhart – The Jaguars feature back has run for just 82 yards on 34 carries without any TDs this year. He’s unlikely to have much success against a very strong San Diego defense this week.
3. X-Factor – The Chargers have won each of the last three meetings with Jacksonville, and all of those games were decided by 14+ points.
Selection: This is a play on the San Diego Chargers (Free)
Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears
Betting Pick: Green Bay -119 odds (September 28th 2014)
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The Packers will be on the road this week, taking on their bitter rivals the Chicago Bears. This is a must win game for the visitors, who have had a tough start to the season. They have owned the Bears winning seven of eight in this series since 2010. The only game the Bears managed to win, was a 27-20 win at Lambeau last year, with Seneca Wallace filling in at QB for the injured Aaron Rodgers.
The Packers avenged that loss in Chicago on the final Sunday of the regular season, with Aaron Rodgers throwing for 318 yards and a pair of TDs. Green Bay’s offense hasn’t been able to get going this season, but this match-up versus a banged up Bears defense could be just what the doctor ordered.
Chicago’s defensive backs have been dropping like flies, last week safety Chris Conte and corner Ryan Mundy both left with injuries, and a season ending injury to veteran Charles Tillman leaves them pretty thin. Not an ideal situation as they get ready to face a QB that has terrorized them in the past.
Jay Cutler has lost nine of his 10 career starts versus the Packers, throwing 18 picks in those games. He’s going to be hard pressed to avoid another stinker, as he may be without his starting center (Roberto Garza) and left guard (Matt Slauson).
History favors Green Bay, and I think the Packers will keep that trend going here on Sunday.
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