Kansas City Royals vs. Cleveland Indians
Betting Pick: Kansas City +104 odds (September 23rd 2014)
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The Royals are in need of a win, off a win last night, however they lost a makeup suspended game so they sit a game behind Detroit for the AL Central lead and 2 games up on Seattle for the AL Wild card. While the Tribe would love to spoil the Royals party and put a monkey in the wrench of the Royals post season plans, I like Ventura on the hill for KC tonight who has been in excellent form recently. 20 innings pitched, 14 hits and an ERA of 1.80 his last 3 starts, not bad considering I feel he will be the starter with run support tonight. Ventura has allowed 3 or fewer earned runs in each of his last 10 starts!
Cleveland counters with Danny Salazar who in his last 3 starts his ERA is a 5.09, but he did have a good outing against Houston last Thursday striking out 9, but I still lean KC here with their bats against right handers being very respectable in their last 5 games. KC is a road warrior, winning 17 out of their last 24 on the road, and while they have struggled at Cleveland, I think that trend reverse’s and KC wins a tight one and keeps pace in the AL Central and the wild card race. It is do or die for Kansas City and having 2 games up on Seattle in the wild card race in the AL, I see them keeping that spread after tonight regardless of what Seattle does, and they are a heavy favorite at Toronto tonight and have no illusions, the Royals players and coaches know that. KC shows up tonight determined and this is a very short number, pickem to a slight underdog.
Cleveland Indians vs. Minnesota Twins
Betting Pick: Minnesota -127 odds (September 19th 2014)
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The Twins are showing great value here as a relatively small home favorite against division rival Cleveland. Minnesota comes in off a big series win over the Tigers, that saw them take the final two to improve to 3-1 over their last 4. I look for the Twins to keep the momentum going in the series opener against the Indians.
I think Minnesota has a big advantage on the mound in this one. The Twins will send out Phil Hughes who is a bit underrated cause of the team he plays for. Hughes is 15-10 with a 3.56 ERA and 1.140 WHIP over 30 starts and enters with a red-hot 2.45 ERA and 0.864 WHIP over his last 3 starts. He’s also a dominant 4-1 with a 2.37 ERA and 0.974 WHIP over 6 career starts against the Indians.
As for Cleveland’s Trevor Bauer, he’s 5-8 with a 4.16 ERA over 24 starts, 1-5 with a 5.22 ERA and 1.534 WHIP over 11 road starts and has an ugly 5.78 ERA over 3 career starts (all this season) against the Twins.
The Indians do come in having won 3 straight, but there’s a solid system in play suggesting a fade. Teams off 3 straight wins by 2 runs or less against an opponent after a win by 4 runs or more are just 23-45 since 1997. That’s a 66% system in favor of the Twins. Take Minnesota!
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Detroit Tigers vs. Cleveland Indians
MLB Pick: Cleveland +125 betting odds (September 4th 2014)
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I like the Indians to even the their homestand with the Tigers at two games apiece.
Detroit’s pitcher Maz Scherzer has been a little disappointing down the stretch. Scherzer (15-5, 3.26 ERA)is 1-1 with a 5.79 ERA in his last three outings. In his last outing he gave up six runs and nine hits, while striking out 11 without a walk in 6 2/3 innings of a 6-3 loss against the Chicago White Sox on Saturday. Scherzer gave up seven runs and 12 hits in seven innings of an 11-10, 13-inning loss at Cleveland on May 21, but then yielded three runs and 12 hits while walking six in 11 2/3 innings to go 1-0 in his last two starts against the Indians (71-66). Cleveland is batting .308 against Scherzer this season.
Cleveland will be pitching, Trevor Bauer (5-7, 3.99) against the Tigers. He has allowed eight hits and struck out 15 while walking eight over 11 2/3 scoreless innings to go 1-0 in his last two starts. He walked five and yielded four hits in 5 2/3 innings of a 3-2, 11-inning victory at Kansas City on Saturday. He is 2-0 in three starts against the Tigers even though he has a 4.42 ERA against them.
I am pplaying on the Indians to even the series with a better in form pitcher at the moment.
Detroit Tigers vs. Cleveland Indians
MLB Pick: Detroit +117 odds (September 3rd 2014)
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The Detroit Tigers have won the first two games of this series in Cleveland, and surprisingly they are an underdog here in Game 3 with Justin Verlander on the mound. I like the visitors to remain hot, and the price is right to back the Tigers tonight.
Here are my keys to the game:
1. Pitching – Verlander (12-11, 4.68 ERA) has not had a great season by his standards, but he’s been pretty sharp recently. He gave up just one run while striking out eight over seven innings in a win at Chicago his last time out. He’s also won three straight starts at home in Detroit. The Tribe will counter with Danny Salazar, who was rocked by the Tigers in the only previous meeting this season.
2. Tigers Bats – Miguel Cabrera is 6-for-10 with a pair of home runs in this series so far, and he’s hitting .429 with a home run versus Salazar.
3: X-Factor – Salazar owns a 4.42 ERA, going winl-less in three career starts versus Detroit. He allowed five runs in the only meeting this season, tying a season high.
Selection: This is a play on the Detroit Tigers (Free)