July 8th 2014 - Posted at 3:00 PM ET
There are two picks today.
#1: Take Germany (-110) to Advance/Qualify against Brazil risking 2%
We are backing Germany to eliminate Brazil and advance to the final. It doesn't matter whether they win in regulation, extra-time or in penalties.
#2: Take Oakland Athletics (-148) on the Money Line against San Francisco Giants risking 2%
(Gray and Bumgarner must start)
The Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants square off for Game two of their 4-game series tonight. The Oakland A's are arguably the very best team in the entire league and have recently gotten even better due to their blockbuster trade, picking up solid veteran pitchers in Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. Oakland was considered a very good team prior to that trade and now has put themselves into what some would consider "elite" status. They have a real opportunity at making a deep postseason run and challenging for the World Series title.
What is great about Bob Melvin's team is the fact that they are truly balanced and complete! They are getting production from everyone on the roster in all facets of the game. Their pitching has been stellar and they're currently the highest scoring team in regards to average runs per game! The most dangerous part about the A's is that they are a consistent group. Even when losing, they have remained competitive and are always a threat to rally back in a game.
They send their promising young pitcher in Sonny Gray to the mound tonight. Gray came to prominence last season and picked up where he left off is having a spectacular season! He has won his last 2 decisions and has amassed an 8-3 record with a very respectable 3.08 ERA this season. He's given up only 38 earned runs and struck out 95 batters in over 111 innings of work this season! Gray has even been impressive on the road this season going 5-2 with three no decisions in 10 road starts this year. This will be Gray's first career start against the Giants and with San Francisco's offense struggling; he is poised for another solid outing.
The San Francisco Giants are riding one of the longest cold streaks of the entire season. After starting the year in unstoppable fashion, the Giants are barely keeping their head above water just now. Their offense has gone ice cold and they have lost 9 of their last 13 games, including yesterday's 5-0 shutout at the hands of these same Oakland A's! Lack of offense has been the main culprit in their struggles as they just cannot string together the quality hits required to get runners home. Their pitching has been inconsistent as well, with guys like Tim Lincecum giving up 4 or 5 runs in an outing, to throwing a no-hitter in his next start. It’s that kind of inconsistency that has really hurt Bruce Bochy's team. The SF Giants will send out Madison Bumgarner tonight and he has lost his last two starts. Bumgarner has pitched solid for a majority of the season, but has also been the victim to a lack of run support. He is 9-6 on the season with a respectable 3.09 ERA.
At this point in the season, these are two teams that are heading in opposite directions. Oakland appears to be on a mission at the moment and is still riding the momentum of their recent pitching acquisitions. We expect the Giants to put up a bit more of a fight tonight but the A's simply have too much talent and confidence for the struggling Giants to stop tonight. Oakland has owned the series meetings between these two teams recently and even at this price there is still value backing the better team with a quality pitcher at home.
Other notable facts to consider:
- Oakland is 6-1 against the NL West.
- San Francisco is 1-6 in the last seven meetings!
- Oakland is 23-8 in their last 31 interleague games!
- Oakland is 7-2 in Gray’s last nine starts in game two of a series.
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