July 11th 2013 - Posted 06:00 PM Eastern Time

Pick #2 added at the bottom.

#1: Take Atlanta Braves on the Money Line (-110) against Cincinnati Reds risking 2% (Hudson and Latos must start)

This is an interesting match-up between two teams who could once again meet in the playoff this season. Both teams come into tonight's match-up with nearly identical records and identical statistics, from the starting pitchers to the batting lineups. Atlanta Braves do boast the league's best home record at 29-13 on the season however while Cincinnati haven't won a road series since last month and have dropped 6 of their last 8 road games!
The Braves bullpen has been stellar at home this season with a combined 2.17 ERA. In save situation this season they are a remarkable 12-2! The Reds on the other hand are just 5-8 in save situations this season.

Something as slight as the performance of the closer could be the deciding factor in this game tonight when you have two solid starting pitchers on the mound. The Braves will hold a significant edge with this game being played in Atlanta tonight as they are 39-15 in their last 54 home games and 38-15 in Tim Hudson's last 53 home starts. Hudson is also 4-1 lifetime against the Reds with a 3.10 ERA.

The line-makers are expecting this to be a close game given the way that the line opened up and the public seems to agree as this game is almost near a "pick" and probably will be by the start of the game. When you have two evenly matched teams, sometimes it is the subtle differences that determine who comes out on top and that edge lies with Atlanta tonight in our opinions. Take the Braves as they are a perfect 8-0 when Tim Hudson has started at home in 2013!

Four other trends to consider:

  • Tim Hudson is an impressive 67-27 in home games after a loss since 1997
  • Hudson is 45-18 in July games since 1997
  • Atlanta Braves are 67-50 when playing against a team with a winning record over the last 2 seasons.
  • The Reds are 4-19 since May 28th, 2011 as a small underdog when off a win in which they never trailed.

#2: Take Arizona Diamondbacks on the Money Line (-137) against Milwaukee Brewers risking 2% (Miley and Gallardo must start)

Many may look at this game and think that with Yovani Gallardo's past success against Arizona and the fact that Arizona were just swept by the Dodgers, the best play here would be Brewers tonight but I don't agree with that. Yes Gallardo has had a good amount of success against the Arizona but he has also had his fair share of struggles recently.

Gallardo (7-8, 4.85 ERA) has allowed 17 runs in his last 13 innings and walked 9! Even though he did get a win against the Mets last weekend, that came after he gave up 4 runs in 6 innings. Gallardo has given up a home run in each of his last 3 starts and in his last start against Arizona, he gave up 4 runs and 9 hits in a 8-7 extra innings loss. Gallardo's record may look impressive, but that may be all it is since there is no doubt he has struggled. And now with trade rumours circulating that he could be turning out for another team very soon including his opponents Arizona tonight, he may be mentally distracted and not at his best.

Wade Miley on the other hand has been very impressive in his recent outings. Over his last 3 starts he is 1-1 with a 1.31 ERA. In his last 21 innings pitched he has given up just a total of 3 runs while facing the Nationals, Mets and Rockies. Miley is also 2-1 lifetime against the Brewers. In his last start against Milwaukee, Miley gave up a home run to Jean Segura for the Brewers' only score and gave up a total of only 4 hits in a comfortable 3-1 victory.

The Diamondbacks still have a 1.5 game lead in the NL West standings and most recently dropped their last 3 games at home. I would think that the home series against Dodgers has taught them a lot and can't see them dropping 4 straight at home. They know they have to start this series on the right track and that means a victory for the home crowd.

The Brewers have had their struggles for much of the season and have in particularly struggled badly against left handed pitchers. They are just 9-22 on the season when facing lefties and Miley is currently on a roll. The Brewers are just 1-7 on the season when playing on Thursdays (D'Backs are 5-2) and just 15-27 on the road this season. This line opened at -150 and I believe it it did so for a reason. I expect Arizona to snap out of their funk tonight and it's worth noting that Brewers are 0-4 in their last 4 road series openers and I wouldn't be surprised if they make that an unenviable 0-5 record after tonight. Arizona has taken 6 of the last 8 meetings against Milwaukee and I expect them to score another win tonight.


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