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Tampa Bay Rays vs. Toronto Blue Jays MLB Betting Odds & Pick from Larry Ness: August 16th 2017

Tampa Bay Rays vs. Toronto Blue Jays
MLB Betting Pick: Toronto -135 odds (August 16th 2017)

The Tampa Bay Rays broke out of an offensive slump with 13 hits in Tuesday’s 6-4 victory in the second game of their four-game series in Toronto against the Blue Jays. Tampa Bay is currently 1 1/2 games behind the LA Angels, while Toronto, which fell to 8-5 in August, remains on the fringe of the AL wild-card race at 3 1/2 games back but with seven teams ahead of them. With Tuesday’s result, the teams have split 14 meetings this season.

Rookie Jacob Faria (5-3, 3.19 ERA) will get the start for the Rays and Marcus Stroman (10-6, 3.00 ERA), who owns a 1.98 ERA in two starts against Tampa Bay this year, goes for Toronto. Faria began his career 5-1 over his first nine starts (team was 7-2) but is win-less in his last three outings, allowing nine ERs over 16 innings (5.06 ERA) to go 0-2 (team is 1-2). Faria made his second career start against Toronto back on June 13, permitting one run on six hits with eight strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings of an 8-1  victory. Stroman has posted just one victory in his last six games (Jays are 3-3) but also has just one loss in that span, a setback against Pittsburgh this past Friday in which he surrendered four unearned runs over eight innings. Stroman is 4-4 with a 4.17 ERA against the Rays in nine career starts (team is 4-5).

The Rays may have produced 13 hits and six runs last night but that came against Marco Estrada, who is now 0-4 with a 10.61 ERA against the Rays this season and is 0-7 with a 7.75 ERA in his past eight starts against them! Let’s not ignore that Tampa Bay had been in a prolonged slump just prior to last night’s outburst, having scored only 12 runs in their previous 10 games, eight of them losses. That includes a 2-1 defeat at Toronto on Monday. Stroman has 15 Ks in 13.2 innings against the Rays in two 2017 starts as well as that 1.98 ERA. Meanwhile, Faria seems to be losing some of his earlier mojo. Take the Blue Jays.

Kansas City Royals vs. Oakland Athletics Betting Odds & Pick: August 15th 2017

Kansas City Royals vs. Oakland Athletics
MLB Betting Pick: KC -113 odds (August 15th 2017)

The set-up: The Royals saw their losing skid reach five games when they lost the Friday opener of their three-game series in Chicago against the White Sox. However, KC rebounded by winning Saturday and Sunday and last night, took the first of a three-game series in Oakland against the A’s, 6-2. The three-game winning streak has allowed the Royals to climb back into a virtual second-place tie with the Twins in the AL Central, five games back of the first-place Indians. More importantly, both the Twins and Royals are just a half-game back of the Angels for the AL’s second wild card spot. Kansas City hopes to bolster its wild-card position when it when it continues its series tonight in Oakland against the 52-67 A’s. Oakland fell to 2-5 on its nine-game homestand and owns the AL’s second-worst record, better than only the 45-70 White Sox.

The pitching matchup: Jason Hammel (5-9 & 4.68 ERA) will get the nod for KC and Chris Smith (0-2 & 5.29 ERA) goes for Oakland. Hammel’s year has been a huge disappointment, as the Royals are 7-16 in his 2017 starts, giving him MLB’s 8th-worst moneyline mark (minus-$758). However, he’s actually been fairly solid for quite awhile now, as he’s allowed three runs or less in 12 of his last 13 starts (KC is just 6-7, though). Hammel is 2-2 in four lifetime against Oakland with a 5.14 ERA. Smith remains in search of his first major-league victory since 2008 with Boston, after being ripped for five runs on seven hits (including 4 HRs!) over six innings in a 7-2 loss to Baltimore on Thursday. The 36-year-old has allowed 16 ERs on 25 hits over 21 innings of his last four appearances (three starts), for a 6.86 ERA. He’s made two two career relief appearances versus Kansas City but this is his first start.

The pick: Getting the AL’s two-worst teams in back-to-back series has allowed the Royals to win three of four so far and I’m ‘on board’ with the idea that KC will win Tuesday and Wednesday in Oakland, as well. First things first. Hammel has settled down lately (see above) and should be good enough to help KC to a win in this one.

Braves vs. Rockies MLB Odds & Pick from Jack Jones: August 14th 2017

Atlanta Braves vs. Colorado Rockies
MLB Pick: Rockies -131 odds (August 14th 2017)

The Colorado Rockies return home Monday in need of a victory after getting swept by the Marlins in Miami over the weekend.  The Rockies are 35-21 at home this season, hitting .302 and scoring 6.2 runs per game.

The Braves are just 5-15 in their last 20 games overall with nothing but pride to play for down the stretch.  Julio Teheran gets the ball and is 7-10 with a 5.32 ERA and 1.420 WHIP in 23 starts this season, including 0-2 with a 9.82 ERA and 1.568 WHIP in his last three starts.

Chad Bettis will be making his first start of the season for the Rockies.  Bettis has gone 3-1 with a 3.99 ERA in five career starts against Atlanta, and the Rockies are 4-1 in those five games.  The Rockies will be inspired by Bettis, who underwent chemotherapy on March 20, enduring 21 infusions in a nine-week period.

The Braves are 1-7 in their last eight road games.  The Rockies are 20-8 in their last 28 home games, including 8-2 in their last 10 home games vs. a team with a losing record.  Colorado is 13-1 in Bettis’ last 14 home starts vs. a team with a losing record.  Bet the Rockies Monday.

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