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Blue Jays vs. Rays MLB Betting Odds & Pick from Larry Ness: August 23rd 2017

Toronto Blue Jays vs. Tampa Bay Rays
MLB Betting Pick: Toronto -109 odds (August 23rd 2017)

The Blue Jays are fading out of the AL wild card race with four straight losses to start their road trip, as they continue this three-game series at Tropicana Field with the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday. The Rays won 6-3 last night in the series opener and coupled with a 3-0 shutout of Seattle on Sunday, have put together back-to-back wins for the first time since opening August with three consecutive victories. Tampa Bay is 62-65 on the season and is currently four games back in the race for the American League’s second wild card spot, while Toronto is two games back of the Rays, as well as six back of the No. 2 wild card spot. The problem looming for both clubs is the sheer volume of teams in the wild card chase. The Rays are one of five teams vying for that spot, followed by Baltimore (a half-game back of the Rays) and Toronto. That makes seven teams, all within six games of that final wild card spot.

Marcus Stroman (11-6, 2.99 ERA) comes in off three straight quality starts and six in his last eight games overall (Jays are 5-3 in that stretch). He’ll be opposed by Tampa Bay rookie Austin Pruitt (6-4, 5.37 ERA). Pruitt pitched a career-high seven innings last time out against Seattle but also allowed six runs on 11 hits and two walks in a 7-1 loss this past Friday. This will be his first career start against Toronto, although he is 1-0 with a 4.26 ERA in three previous relief appearances against the Blue Jays. Returning to Stroman, he limited Tampa Bay to two runs on six hits over 6.1 innings last Wednesday in a 3-2 Toronto victory. Stroman is 5-4 with a 4.04 ERA in 10 career starts against the Rays (team is 5-5).

I favor Stroman over the rookie Pruitt, who owns a 1.50 WHIP and .302 BAA to go along with that 5.37 ERA. Play the Blue Jays.

New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox MLB Betting Pick from Jimmy Boyd: August 20th 2017

New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox
MLB Betting Pick: Yankees -106 odds (August 20th 2017)

I like the value here with New York, as they come in riding a huge wave of momentum after defeating Boston 4-3 on Saturday with the Red Sox having their ace Chris Sale on the mound. Now it’s the Yankees that have the huge edge on the mound with Sonny Gray going up against Doug Fister.

Gray got his first win as a member of the Yankees last time out against cross-town rival Mets, allowing just 2 runs on 5 hits in 6 innings. That’s now 9 straight starts dating back to June 25th in which Gray has completed at least 6 inning and allowed 2 earned runs or fewer. Fister just gave up 5 runs on 7 hits and 4 walks in his last start at home against the Indians and now owns a 6.27 ERA on the season with a ugly 6.48 ERA and 1.741 WHIP in 3 day starts. Take New York!

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Kansas City Royals vs. Oakland Athletics Betting Odds & Pick from Will Rogers: August 16th 2017

Kansas City Royals vs. Oakland Athletics
MLB Betting Pick: Under 9.5 runs -110 odds (August 16th 2017)

The set-up: The Kansas City Royals squandered an early three-run advantage on Tuesday but scored five runs on three HRs in the eighth inning to grab an 8-4 lead. However, the Royals allowed six runs in the bottom of the eighth in a 10-8 defeat. That snapped the team’s three-game winning streak and the Royals are now 3-4 as they look to cap an eight-game road trip with Wednesday afternoon’s rubber match of a three-game series at Oakland. The 60-59 Royals are in a virtual tie with the 59-58 Twins, a half-game back of 61-59 Angels for the AL’s second wild card spot. As for the A’s, their 53-67 record is better than only the 45-71 White Sox in the American League.

The pitching matchup: Danny Duffy (7-8 & 3.68 ERA) gets the start for KC and Paul Blackburn (3-1 & 3.02 ERA) for Oakland. Duffy allowed just one run in each of his final two starts in July but has struggled this month, surrendering 12 runs – eight earned – on 14 hits over 12 innings in losses to Seattle and the Chicago White Sox (6.00 ERA). The good news for KC here is that Duffy has yet to lose to Oakland, going 3-0 with a 2.84 ERA in five starts (team is 4-1) and one relief appearance. Blackburn is a rookie making his ninth career start (A;s are 5-3 in his starts this year) and enters on a four-start unbeaten streak after he escaped with a no-decision when surrendering four runs on 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings against Baltimore in a 5-4 Oakland win last Friday. Blackburn will be facing Kansas City for the first time,.

The pick: I like Duffy’s history against the A’s, as he is one of three active players with a perfect record and a sub-3.00 ERA against Oakland in at least five starts, joining with Miami’s Wei-Yin Chen (5-0 & 2.30 ERA) and Baltimore’s Chris Tillman (4-0 & 2.51 ERA). Let’s also note that during a season in which the ball is flying out of parks at an alarming rate, Duffy has allowed only 10 HRs in 120 innings (He has not given up a HR in 14 of his 19 starts). As for Blackburn, the rookie has shown quite a bit of promise. Play the Under.

Detroit Tigers vs. Texas Rangers Betting Prediction from Larry Ness: August 14th 2017

Detroit Tigers vs. Texas Rangers
MLB Betting Prediction: Texas -111 odds (August 14th 2017)

The Tigers and Rangers were both sellers at the trade deadline but despite the teams sitting a combined 15 games under 500 (Texas is 56-60 and Detroit 53-64), an American League wild-card berth is still a possibility. That said, the Tigers, who are seven games back of the final spot with eight teams ahead of them, are surely a longer shot than the Rangers, who are a more manageable 3 1/2 games back.

The Rangers look for a fourth win in five games Monday when they continue a 10-game homestand with the first of three against the Tigers, who have lost seven of nine. Michael Fulmer (10-9, 3.59 ERA) will get the nod for Detroit and Martin Perez (6-10, 5.18 ERA) for Texas. The 2016 AL rookie of the year has spent two weeks on the disabled list with ulnar neuritis. His two most recent road outings were disasters, allowing 15 runs (11 earned) on 14 hits across 8 2/3 innings for an 11.42 ERA. Fulmer has made just one career starst against Texas, striking out nine in a four-hit shutout at Texas exactly one year ago.

Perez is off his finest performance of the season this past Wednesday, allowing one run on three hits across eight innings of a 5-1 win at the NY Mets. The outing marked the first time he has given up fewer than five hits in any of his 22 starts this season. Perez permitted two runs in six innings and did not factor in the decision May 8, 2016 against Detroit and enters 0-2 with a 7.27 ERA in four appearances (three starts / teams are 1-2) versus the Tigers.

Fulmer’s last two road starts have been a nightmare but note that prior to that, he had allowed only 14 ERs over his first 56 away innings in 2017 (2.25 ERA). The Rangers are 8-14 (minus-$655) in all of Perez’s starts this season, including going 5-8 in his home starts, where he’s posted a 5.40 ERA and 1.70 WHIP. I’ll back Fulmer and the Tigers.

Diamondbacks vs. Dodgers MLB Over-Under Prediction: August 9th 2017

Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
MLB Over-Under Prediction: Under 8.5 runs -110 odds (August 9th 2017)

Alex Wood and Zack Greinke rank among the top six starters in the National League in my view.  So I’m surprised to see a total above 8 listed next to their names for this matchup. Yes, the Dodgers and Diamondbacks have potent offenses. But some of that offense is going to be negated by the roof being closed at Chase Field for this game. That’s a huge plus for pitchers. There also will be around a nine mph wind blowing in.  Oddsmakers may be skeptical about Wood’s arm since his fastball had recently lost some steam. But Wood looked strong in his last start this past Thursday holding the Braves to one run in six innings at SunTrust Park, which has played as a hitter’s park.

Just to make sure that Wood’s strength was still there, the Dodgers gave him a bullpen session Sunday. That session went well. I’m confident his velocity still is there. If it is, then this number is a full run too high.  Greinke has been the nuts at home going 10-0 with a 2.39 ERA at Chase this season. Greinke has struck out 95 in 79 innings in his home outings.  The Dodgers have an elite bullpen, while the Diamondbacks relief corps is underrated.

(Editor’s note: In addition to this free play, Stephen Nover has his MLB Total of the Week going today along with a sides play. Both are available in a special 2-for-1 Wednesday package.)

MLB Prediction: Fargo betting the Padres +115 odds on August 7th 2017

San Diego Padres vs. Cincinnati Reds
MLB Prediction: San Diego +115 odds (August 7th 2017)

The Padres lost on Sunday in extra innings to drop their series with the Pirates but they have still been on a solid run, going 9-7 over their last 16 games. San Diego is the worst hitting team in baseball while scoring a league low 420 runs (3.8 rpg) but the offense has been significantly better during this stretch, averaging 4.7 rpg. Going back, the Padres are 5-2 in their last seven games following a loss. The Reds lost two of three games against the Cardinals including a 13-4 loss on Sunday, allowing 13 unanswered runs after jumping out to a 3-0 lead. It has been an awful run for the Reds as they have lost 36 of their last 52 games including a 3-11 record in their last 14 games at home. One look at Jhoulys Chacin’s numbers and it shows he is having a decent yet unspectacular season with a 3.99 ERA and 1.26 WHIP. His statline is severely skewed however and it is the result of only three bad starts. In April and May, he put up bad games against the Diamondbacks, Dodgers and Mets that resulted in an ugly 20.70 ERA and 2.80 WHIP covering just 10 innings. In his other 19 starts, he has a 2.71 ERA and 1.13 WHIP which is a better indication of the season he is having. In those 19 starts, he has allowed three runs or less in all 19 games with 13 of those resulting in quality starts. The Reds counter with Tim Adleman who has been on a horrible run. He had a 4.22 ERA through June 16 but has posted a 7.30 ERA over his last eight starts with only one of those resulted in a quality performance. The Reds have lost eight of his 10 starts. Play (953) San Diego Padres.

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