July 10th 2013 - Posted 06:00 PM Eastern Time


There are 3 bets risking a total of 6% tonight.


#1: Take the OVER 7 Total in Washington Nationals vs. Philadelphia Phillies risking 2% (Gonzalez and Lee must start)

A majority of people (about 80%) will look at this game and see two solid pitchers with good ERA's and automatically think that this game will go under. However, looking deeper into a game such as this, the Over looks to be the more sound wager and there are a lot of trends that support this.

Eight of the last 12 Philadelphia Phillies games have gone Over the set total while 4 of Washington's last 6 have made it Over the number as well. When these two teams have met in the past 5 of their last 8 meetings has gone Over the total.

Many people don't really consider the umpire behind home plate as having a whole lot of impact on the game itself but I tend to disagree. The home plate umpire is actually quite a pivotal position because he determines the strike zone and in a way dictates where a pitcher needs to pitch. If the strike zone is small then the pitcher has to take more risks by positioning the ball into a smaller window in order to get called strikes. When that happen either the pitcher will walk an above normal amount of batters or will tend to leave balls hanging over the plate allowing hitters to make good contact. Either way a small strike zone is not a pitcher's friend. MLB umpire Gary Cederstrom will be the home plate umpire in tonight's game and the Over has gone 9-3 in his last 12 games behind home plate!

When it comes to the starting pitchers, Gio Gonzalez has been a solid "Over" bet when coming off a win in his last start. The Over is 8-2 in his following start. Philadelphia as a team has been a solid 'Over' bet this season in certain situations as well. The Over is 9-1 on the season when the Phillies are a home favorite of up to -125 and are 16-8 to the Over when the total is 7 or less (6-2 to the Over when the Phillies are at home).

When looking at all of the data, yes you could make a case for two good pitchers both having quality starts tonight and the total staying low but given the past statistics and trends revolving around totals and with this game's total being just 7 runs, the Over seems like the more likely result. I wouldn't be too surprised if one of these two starting pitchers has a poor performance tonight and the relievers/bullpen aren't likely to be a big help either. I can see this one going just over and if it turns out to be a close game, a result such as 3-3 would also take the game into extra innings where we are guaranteed to at least 'push' on this bet if not cash out altogether. The Phillies are 13-7 to the Over against left handed pitchers and 26-16 to the Over when playing a team with a winning record. Take the Over 7 total tonight.



#2: Take Cleveland Indians on the Money Line (-150) against Toronto Blue Jays risking 2% (Masterson and Rogers must start)

The money line on this game is a little higher than we typically go for but I believe there is good reason for that and at the same time this line still provides value. I believe there is a pitching mismatch on the mound tonight as All-Star Justin Masterson (10-7, 3.78 ERA) is simply the better pitcher in this match-up and the one who has the most success against the opposing team. Even though he has struggled in a couple of his recent outings, Masterson has a 3-1 lifetime record against the Blue Jays with a 2.86 ERA and has also been quite impressive at home this season. In 10 games Masterson has acquired a 6-2 record with a 2.83 ERA! The Indians are 7-1 in Masterson's last 8 home starts.

Esmil Rogers (2-2, 3.55 ERA) has pitched well for a majority of his short season, however he is coming off of his worst start of the year against Detroit where he gave up 7 earned runs and 11 hits in just 5 innings of work. Rogers has not had that kind of outing yet this season and with a less experienced starting pitcher, you never know how that is going to affect their confidence. Like Detroit, Cleveland is another hard hitting team this season and has an offense that has the potential to explode at any moment. Rogers has not seen this lineup first hand in his career and that could either help him or hurt him. If he tries too much to atone for his last start, he could find himself in a bad way again tonight. It's worth noting that Cleveland is 83-60 against right handed pitchers over the last 3 seasons.

The Indians are 9-4 this season as a home favorite of -125 to -150 and are 22-12 when playing against a team with a losing record. Toronto has had their fair share of struggles on the road this season and are just 2-6 in their last 8 away from home. The Blue Jays are also just 5-9 in the 2nd game of a road series this season when having lost the first game.

I believe this line is set high for a reason. Cleveland has the majority of the advantages including the most important one on the mound and with rookie Danny Salazar pitching opposite Mark Buehrle tomorrow, this is Cleveland's best shot at winning this series.



#3: Take LA Angels on the Money Line (-131) against Chicago Cubs risking 2% (Wilson and Samardzija must start)

Even with a loss last night the LA Angels are tied for the team with the best road record in the league since May 8th. They are 16-9 during that span. The Cubs were able to get one over on the Angels last night but in this quick 2-game series, I will look for the Angels to even the score tonight behind the arm of CJ Wilson.

Wilson (8-6, 3.49) has been stellar in his last couple of outings giving up just 1 earned run in 13+ innings pitched. Jeff Samardzija (5-8 3.54 ERA) on the other hand has run into some bumpy terrain recently as he has given up 10 earned runs in just 20 innings pitched. Half of those runs have come against teams like Seattle and Houston which makes that record look even worse.

Both pitchers have the capability to completely shut down opposing offenses and if that is the case tonight it will come down to the bullpens to decide who has the significant edge. That edge would definitely have to lay with the Angels. The Cubs bullpen has been shaky at best for the entire season. The Cubs are just 6-7 in save situations at home this season and 20-17 overall. Their bullpen simply can not be trusted and I believe that is going to be an important factor in tonight's game.

The Angels have appeared to have turned themselves around from an unexpected slow start to the season. They have won 9 of their last 12 games and their offense has really pulled together over the last couple of weeks. This is a team that has run through teams like Detroit, St Louis and Boston recently. I find it hard to believe that the Cubs will manage to sweep this short series especially considering the Angels have tomorrow off and will be solely focused on tonight's game while Cubs will be hosting the Cardinals. Chicago Cubs are just 6-12 at home after a win in 2013 and at this price I'm inclined to back the better team, bullpen and starter. LA Angels have won 7 of their last 8 road games and will look for another one tonight to properly enjoy tomorrow's 'rest'.



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