August 13, 2015 (Posted at 11:00 AM ET)
Two underdogs present the best value on today's card. Even going 1-1 would be profitable!
#1: Take Texas Rangers as underdogs (+131) on the Money Line against Minnesota Twins risking 3% to win 3.93%.
(Gonzalez and Santana must start for wager to have action)
The Twins cruised to a blowout victory against these Rangers last night and that has skewed public's perception of these two squads. In reality, they are pretty evenly matched up and are both capable of offensive explosions. In yesterday's contest, it was Minnesota that broke the game wide open but in this afternoon's matchup, it may well be the big Texas bats that punish Santana, as they have in the past. Ervin Santana has still not adjusted to the hitter-friendly confines of Target Field, having served an 80-game suspension prior to making his Twins debut. He's struggled mightily at this venue giving up 14 runs in less than 10 innings pitched! His road numbers have been much better but his confidence took a hit even there since he's coming off his worst start of the season and one of the very worst of his career, allowing 8 runs in less than three frames in Cleveland! Now he has to face the powerful left-handed bats of Rangers who are determined to avoid the sweep and bounce back after last night's humiliating defeat. Needless to say, this is not a situation that Santana or Twins should be installed as significant favorites! The Rangers are live underdogs in this one and are more than capable of exacting revenge and pulling an upset.
Ervin Santana has been hit very hard by these Rangers in the past and that combined with command issues has led to some disastrous outings against Texas. Half of the hits he's given up against this lineup have gone for extra-bases and he's also walked 21 batters which has given this roster an impressive 0.341 on-base percentage against him! It wouldn't be a stretch to say that the Rangers will be looking forward to facing him and are likely to capitalize on his mistakes. They have not only gotten on base but have slugged their way to big innings with 14 home runs in previous plate appearances against him! It would surprise us if Santana had a quality start and we believe he'll need great support from his offense to bail him out.
Chi Chi Gonzalez will get the ball this afternoon after Cole Hamels was scratched with an injury. Gonzalez isn't an over-powering pitcher but he is an intelligent hurler who knows how to induce ground-outs and pop-outs. He'll get the odd strike-out when needed but despite being young, he's mature and understands that he can rely on the defense behind him. He had a very solid start to the season but then struggled a bit and was sent down to Triple A in early July after the Rangers made some roster adjustments. He's now back at Jeff Banister's club with another chance at this level and is determined to impress. He's not a pitcher that the Twins have ever faced before and that should give him a distinct advantage in the first couple of orders through their lineup.
Shawn Tolleson's emergence as the Rangers closer is notable since he had not saved a game prior to this year and had never been used in this role. He has been excellent this season but has not been utilized in the first two games of this series and will be ready to be called upon. The Rangers can NOT afford to get swept by a direct AL Wild Card rival and have already displayed their tenacity many times this season. This is a team made up of some proven winners and proud veterans like Adrian Beltre, Prince Fielder, Shin Soo-Choo and others; We don't believe they'll just roll over and get swept! This is a BIG game for them to stay in the post-season race and while the Twins will want to win as well, they won't have quite the same urgency. That's because they are coming off a huge win which sets them up in a bit of a letdown spot and are also looking forward to hosting the Tribe tomorrow, a team that recently swept them in Cleveland! Having already won this series and looking ahead to the next one, this game is sandwitched in between for Minnesota and is there for the taking for Rangers. This is a 50-50 contest that can go either way and yet one team has inflated odds that doesn't reflect their true chances of success. The key to profiting from MLB over the course of a long season is to take advantage of such situations and we'll look to do that once again as we believe Texas will get the win as underdogs and narrow the gap between the two sides.
#2: Take Kansas City Royals as underdogs (+107) on the Money Line against LA Angels risking 3% to win 3.21%.
(Guthrie and Richards must start for wager to have action)
This is a match between two of the top teams in the American League this season as the LA Angels travel to take on the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Both teams are coming off a loss last night to their respective opponents so each will be looking for a manner of retribution, however we believe this contest favors the Royals and gives them the edge.
The Angels had to travel last night after losing in Chicago to the White Sox, so that already puts them at a disadvantage since traveling take more of a toll both mentally and physically. The Angels also find themselves in an interesting position in this contest as they have currently dropped 9 straight road games and a loss in this contest will be their longest losing road skid in 46 years! Even though streaks like that are rarely talked about in a clubhouse, the players no doubt realize the position that they are in and the pressure is surely mounting on them which will likely affect their performance. We believe they may be in the wrong place and facing the wrong opponent to avoid being on the wrong side of history. The Royals have scored 14 runs in their last three games and four or more runs in five straight games. Kansas City has won six of their last eight games when scoring more than three runs so the Angels could be in trouble tonight.
The Halos offense has been almost non-existent as of late as they totaled just four runs and batted a combined .196 in their 3 games series against the White Sox and went just 1 for 32 with runners in scoring position, including going 0-15 in last night’s 13 inning finale. The have scored four runs in their last three games and three or less runs in five of their last eight games. They have lost 12 straight games when scoring three or less runs. Also, let's not forget last night’s game going to extra innings, the Angels has to use a majority of their arms in their bullpen so fatigue could likely be a factor in tonight’s contest. They certainly won't be the fresher of the two teams in this contest having played late into the night and also having to deal with the travel.
On the surface it also appears that the Angels would have an advantage on the mound with Garrett Richards getting the start, however we don't believe that will necessarily be the case as he has struggled in his past few starts and on the highway. Richards has a 4.55 ERA over his last four games, and also a 4.84 ERA in his 10 road starts this season. He certainly is a hittable pitcher, especially on the road and tonight he'll be facing arguably one of the most efficient and complete offenses in the league. Richards also hasn't had much success in his career against Kansas City as he owns a 4.19 ERA in eight appearances including two starts.
The Royals are extremely patient at the plate and rank at the top of the league in terms of least amount of strikeouts. They are also one of the most fundamentally sound teams in the league. They don't do anything exceptionally great, but they are very good in all areas of the game. They are extremely efficient at swiping bags and making pitchers pay when they are on base, couple that with their ability to string together timely hits and that is how the Royals score a majority of their runs. Their ability to play small ball, is a big reason why the Royals have run away with their division this season and why they will likely be dangerous come playoff time.
Kansas City has the AL's best home record at 39-19. Heading into yesterday’s game with the Detroit Tigers, they had managed to win 7 straight at home before ultimately falling late in the contest. There is no doubt that last night’s loss sparked a fire under this team. We had mentioned that they were due for a letdown and would be in the perfect spot for complacency to take over and we were correct. Tonight however we feel that because of their loss last night that their motivation will be back, not only to start another home winning streak but to also ensure that they enter the history books as the team that led the Angels to their longest road losing streak since 1969!
If Jeremy Guthrie can give them 5 or 6 solid innings, that should be enough to give the Royals the win as they can ride their outstanding bullpen who owns a league-best 2.29 ERA this season. Guthrie has limited these Angels to a .219 batting average in 160 previous at-bats with only Mike Trout having success against him from this group. The Royals bullpen is the best in the league. A majority of teams who do their damage against the Royals have done so in the first 6 innings, since after that, the Royals pen has been nearly lights out. Wade Davis, Kelvin Herrera and Gregg Holland are the perfect 1, 2, 3 combo and are a huge reason behind their team’s success.
The Angels have really showed nothing on the road since the All-Star break and the Royals have been an extremely tough out at Kauffman Stadium all season long owning the best record in the league! We believe the oddsmakers have gotten this wrong and left a lot of value on the table with Kansas City. We'll take what we believe to be the better overall team at the discounted price as this is a false favorite situation. Angels have lost 9 consecutive road games and now have to face the league's top team! Guthrie isn't having his best season but that hasn't stopped the Royals from going 13-8 when he starts a game.
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