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August 16, 2015 (Posted at 11:00 AM ET)

There are two underdog picks today.

#1: Take NY Yankees on the Money Line (+117) against Toronto Blue Jays risking 3% of the bankroll to win 3.51%.
(Severino and Hutchison must start for wager to have action)

The Blue Birds and the Bronx Bombers are two of the streakiest team in the Majors! Both are capable of winning or losing a bunch in a row and are largely affected by confidence and momentum. Toronto was firing on all cylinders and had won 11 in a row coming into this series! They played very well in the opener and were on their way to a historic 12th victory after another quality start from David Price but the wheels came off in the 8th inning and they were shocked by NY who rallied from a 0-3 deficit! That showed an incredibly amount of character and tenacity from Joe Girardi's group and left the Canadian club dejected. Being so close to setting new records, only to have it all suddenly disappear thanks to a Carlos Beltran homer is deflating and hard to get over!

The manner in which the Friday opener ended not only had a carryover effect on the Blue Jays' performance yesterday but one that will hurt them in this contest as well in our opinion. Having allowed their direct AL East rivals to retake the division lead, the Jays had ample opportunities but choked with runners in scoring position yesterday. We don't believe their nerves will have suddenly gone away after such a short turnaround in front of a packed and passionate Rogers Stadium. Having dropped the first 2 games of this series, all the pressure is on the home side to at least avoid the sweep and to pull a game back but that is easier said than done against a squad that has now had a big confidence boost and once again believes in itself! The Yankees are also determined to repay Toronto for the sweep they suffered at their hands in New York recently by getting revenge in the same manner.

Other than all the intangibles that we believe favors the road team in this contest, the pitching matchup is also a big reason behind this wager. Andrew Hutchison has been terrible for much of the season but has been consistently bailed out by the stellar Blue Jays offense. There hasn't been enough focus and media attention on how poorly he's actually performed, because the team has gone on to win those games regardless. Now that the fanbase and the entire clubhouse are annoyed at having given up the division lead, there won't be as much tolerance for poor outings. And with the Blue Jay bats feeling the pressure and recently going through a cold spell in RISP (runners-in-scoring-position) situations, Hutch may not get the abnormal amount of run support that he has received all season. If the Toronto bats don't give him 5 or 6 runs of support, we don't see them winning this game as Drew Hutchison is unlikely to silence the NY sluggers who are suddenly brimming with confidence. Let's not forget that he has a 5.26 ERA on the season and hasn't fared well against the Yankees in his career. Unlike Luis Severino who will at least have the surprise element going for him, since the Jays haven't faced him before, every NY bat in the lineup has seen Hutchison and his delivery before and even had success against him. 

This is a game where all the pressure is on Hutchison and the Blue Jays and not much is expected of rookie Severino and the Yankees who've already won this series and calmed their fans down. Toronto is not a team that handles stress well and this has suddenly turned into a frustrating and stressful series for them. The Yankees definitely want to win the game to give themselves some breathing room atop the AL East division and can do so in a relaxed manner in this contest. The Jays will want this game so badly that they are likely to make fielding errors and be overzealous in their at-bats which often leads to strike-outs. If Severino can give the Yankees even 4-5 innings, that could be enough since the NY bullpen is far superior that of the Jays despite recent improvements. Look for A-Rod and his experienced teammates to deliver payback for the sweep they suffered at the hands of these Blue Jays in Bronx by winning this game as underdogs.

#2: Take Atlanta Braves on the Money Line (+110) against Arizona D-Backs risking 3% of the bankroll to win 3.3%.
(Miller and De La Rosa must start for wager to have action)

The Atlanta Braves have a chance to win this home series against the Diamondbacks and we believe they will do so this afternoon behind the arm of their most consistent starter, Shelby Miller. Miller has been a bright spot in Atlanta's rotation this season, even though his overall record doesn't indicate just how well he has pitched. His 2.48 ERA ranks 6th in the entire National League but unfortunately, and through no fault of his own, he has not come away with the winning decision in any of his last 15 starts! The Braves’ ace has been a victim all season long and his 2.54 average runs support per game ranks him dead last among all qualified starters in the majors! To say, he's been unlucky would be an understatement. He has somehow lost four games this season while allowing only one earned run and has received zero runs of support seven times in his last 10 games! Those types of anomalies are rare and are unlikely to continue; we expect this afternoon's game to change things for the talented hurler. Miller is certainly a quality pitcher and has put his team in a position to win in nearly each and every start this season and we feel that his teammates know they owe him one and will do their best to provide some offense against a pitcher that has been somewhat fortunate this season.

In comparison to Miller, Arizona pitcher Rubby De La Rosa's season has been nearly an exact opposite. He has been fairly fortunate in most of his appearances, consistently getting the run support needed to pick up the win and has received a combined 25 runs in his last five starts. His 10 wins tops the rotation, despite a less than flattering 4.55 ERA. While he has had some good performances on the mound, he is also known for having those outings where he quickly implodes. He is not a mentally strong pitcher and has showed periods where he has gotten completely unraveled when things aren't going is way. His ERA has fluctuated dramatically this season caused by four occasions in which he has given up six earned runs or more, including the last time he squared off against the Braves! Back on June 3rd, the right-hander surrendered seven earned runs on nine hits in only five innings of work. De La Rosa avoided picking up the loss due to his teams late game rally where they ultimately stole one from the Braves in a 9-8 come from behind victory. We don't believe the Braves have forgotten the ending of that game and will likely be out to ensure that doesn't happen again.

Turner Field has been an incredibly difficult place for visiting teams to play over the years. Even though the Braves are obviously going through a transitional period this season, they still have shown their mettle by defending their home field. They are 31-24 at home this season and when they have been listed as home underdogs, they have been kind to their backers and proven the oddsmakers wrong. Miller has also been lights out at Turner Field this season, posting a 2.09 home ERA in 11 starts. Given the fact that the Diamondbacks are now too far behind to seriously consider post-season contention, this is an ideal opportunity to back the underdogs and watch them finally reward their Ace with the run support that he deserves. 

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Braves are 16-7 in home games after a loss this season.
  • Diamondbacks are winless in 7 attempts when listed as small road favorites!
  • Braves are 28-17 as home underdogs of +100 to +125 over the last 3 seasons!
  • Diamondbacks have won just 3 in their last 15 visits to Atlanta.

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