Southern Miss vs. Virginia
Prediction: Southern Miss +3 (September 24th 2011)
I love Southern Miss it’s like they have a bye week as they played an FCS opponent and won 56-3. Take out their bad loss at Marshall and this team is a good team. Don’t sleep on Marshall they have an elite defensive line in the conference with next level talent that gave them fits in that game forcing turnovers. That won’t happen vs. Virginia. Virginia lacks any kind of ability to force turnovers and get pressure on the QB. They also lack ability to stop the run as it showed last year when they gave up 5 yards per carry. Southern Miss already averaging 6 yards per carry this year and they’ll look to continue with that game plan vs. Virginia which should be a solid game. On the other side Virginia will try to use their size to run the ball and they will fail. Southern Miss is allowing just 70 ypg on the ground and Virginia just lacks the punch you need to score points in a game like that. They struggle in the red zone, 3rd down conversions and penalties have haunted them. That’s a recipe for a disaster. Get more college football picks from Freddy Wills at Touthouse.com this Saturday.
Baltimore Orioles vs. Minnesota Twins
MLB Pick: Minnesota Twins -135 odds (August 22nd 2011)
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Twins -135 (2* FREE PLAY) Carl Pavano has had an up and down year much like the Twins who really have fallen apart at home where they used to dominate. Pavano has benefited from pitching at home where he carries a 3.08 ERA and that is where he pitches tonight against the Orioles and he’s been hot with a 2.01 ERA over his last 3 starts and now he faces an Orioles team that has not won a series in the AL since June 6th. Orioles are 18-42 on the road and I think the Twins will have the advantage with Pavano having a little revenge in his back pocket after giving up 7 ER in his last start in Baltimore. Before that Pavano was 5-3 in 9 starts vs. the Orioles posting a 2.75 ERA. Again he’s at home and now the Orioles who are 3-7 in their last 10 vs. the Twins.
Zach Britton may not be 100% after coming off the DL and Britton has a 4.42 WHIP not ERA in his last 3 starts with a 24.16 ERA. Britton has not looked good since returning and the Twins hit lefties a bit better than righties as they are 21st in OPS rather than their 28th rank vs. RHP. Twins are 44-19 in their last 63 home favorites -110 to -150.
New York Yankees vs. Minnesota Twins
MLB Prediction: New York Yankees -164 odds (August 19th 2011)
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Yankees -157 (2* FREE PLAY) It has not been an easy period for Phil Hughes to get back to the rotation after injuries and after winning 18 games a year ago, but he’s starting to look like he did a year ago posting a 1.00 WHIP and 2.00 ERA over his last 3 starts. I am still skeptical (reason this is a free pick) and I think he’s still destined for the bullpen come post season. However, his last three starts against the White Sox, Rays, and Mariners have been good ones and those teams are ranked 17th, 19th and 29th vs. RHP in terms of OPS. He gets a break facing the struggling Twins who are ranked 28th which is why this is a play. Twins are 4-13 in their last 17 games and 18-41 in their last 59 vs. the AL Central. More importantly they almost never can find a way to beat the Yankees 19-60 in their last 79 overall 17-35 at home where they have struggled in 2011. Sending Kevin Slowey to the mound for his first start of the year is not going to help.
Slowey is a good home pitcher, but he’s been battling injuries all year long and what I have seen from him in 6 relief outings (8 ER 14.2 IP) has not been good. Facing the Yankees who are hitting right now and one of the better road hitting teams is not what you want in your first start back. Yankees hitters Granderson, Jeter, and Arod have a combined 12-33 with 2 HR off Slowey and overall Yankees have 6 HR in 76 at bats which is how they get a bunch of their runs. I expect the same tonight as the Twins continue to struggle.
Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Milwaukee Brewers
MLB Baseball Prediction: Milwaukee Brewers -1.5 +116 odds (August 12th 2011)
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Brewers RL +100 (1* FREE PICK) Zach Greinke has been on fire of late as he’s 3-0 wiht a 1.07 WHIP and 1.37 ERA as his stats have really started to even out as we thought they were from earlier in the season where he was one of the unluckiest pitchers in baseball. Now he’s keeping guys off the base and he’s been great at home 7-0 with a 1.04 WHIP and 3.49 ERA. Even more impressive is his 9.5 K to BB ratio. He’s got 76 K’s in just 56.2 IP while surrendering only 8 walks. Amazing! He also has revenge from earlier in the season vs. the Pirates who gave up 5 ER in 5 innings back in May. Pirates have struggled of late and are scoring just 3.97 runs per 9 vs. RHP on the road, facing an elite pitcher I think they’ll be scoring less.
Pirates send Paul Maholm to the mound who despite pitching well in his last three starts vs. the Brewers has gone 0-3. He’s dominated some of the players like Prince Fielder but Corey Hart and Ryan Braun have dominated him 24-72 with 4 HR. Let’s be honest the Brewers have dominated teams at home this year and I think we get good value at +100 odds for a free pick vs. the Pirates who are just 11-41 in the last 52 meetings, 8-43 in their last 51 at Milwaukee. Brewers are killing lefties of late .366 average 10.61 runs per 9 and the once strong Pirates bullpen has a 6.89 ERA over their last 10 games. They have come back down to life in a big way.