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July 1, 2015 (Posted at 5:00 PM ET)

At the beginning of 2015, we set ourselves the goal of profiting 60 units this year and are well on our way to achieving that. The first half of the year has come and gone and as always, despite the inevitable ups and downs, it's been a lucrative period for those that have played all suggested picks at the recommended percentages of the bankroll. We're not only on track with our initial goal but in fact believe that we're capable of earning 65-70 units this year gven that we've historically profited more in the second half of MLB and given that our best sport (football) is now just two months away! 

The second half of June was disappointing but that doesn't change the fact that it was another winning month (6.45 units) and added to our annual profit. Slow and steady wins the race. Those that are in it for the long haul have always reaped the rewards and will continue to do so with SPS as seasonal results are all that we and experienced bettors are concerned with.

Take KC Royals as underdogs (+108) on the Money Line against Houston Astros risking 3% of bankroll.
(Volquez and Velasquez must start for wager to have action)

We are going to start off by saying that the Kansas City Royals, in our opinion, are the best team in the American league and probably in the Majors! This is a club that has great balance and plays a fundamentally sound brand of baseball. They proved just how good of a team they were last season and are well on their way to proving it again this year. This matchup has been built up as AL Showdown and tonight, they risk being swept by their main American League rivals, the Houston Astros. This is a team that has a lot of pride and having already dropped the first two games of this series, which includes being shutout yesterday, we expect an inspired and motivated effort from them tonight. The last thing they will want to do is drop 3 out of 3 in Houston and go back home with their tails between their legs. 

They faced Houston's southpaw ace Dallas Keuchel last night and that is a much different experience than they will face tonight in Vincent Velasquez, a rookie who has less than 1 full month experience up in "The Show". Before being called up, he was playing Triple A ball and we expect him to be just a bit out of his depth here against a desperate Royals lineup. The Royals have struggled against lefties but have absolutely crushed right-handed starters this season! Velasquez still finding his confidence in the big leagues and has showed his inexperience at time on the mound. The Royals have made their bones in the league and are one of the best teams at stealing bases. With all of the pressure of performing on the big stage, and on top of that having to worry about each and every runner on base potentially swiping the next, we feel this is an area that we feel the Royals can exploit with inexperience on the mound. 

For Kansas City, they have a veteran and reliable starter in Edinson Volquez taking the mound tonight. Volquez has a great track record against Astros in his career including in games played in Houston. He is 6-0 with an impressive 2.09 ERA in 8 career starts against them! Three of those starts came in Houston.  He has the experience and the stuff to baffle this lineup as he has in the past and will not be short on confidence as his counterpart might be. He's having a good season and the Royals feel good with him on the mound too since they've won 10 of his last 11 starts! There is no doubt that Volquez is the better and more experienced pitcher, so we expect the Royals to hold the edge when it comes to starting pitchers. 

Even when the starting pitchers come out, Royals have best bullpen in Majors but Astros haven't seen them yet but are likely to tonight. That's because Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Gregg Holland did not appear in either of the first 2 games of this series. We do expect them to make an appearance tonight are arguably the league's best shut-down unit. The edge in the bullpen will also go to Kansas City in this one. KC will have the motivation to avoid the sweep in this contest and also have the better pitchers in every phase of this contest. This has created somewhat of a "false favorite" in the eyes of the oddsmakers. With the Astros having won the first 2 games of this series rather convincingly, the odds makers couldn’t make them home underdogs in this situation. Their hands were literally forced to install Houston as the favorites here tonight and we plan on taking advantage of this situation. 

Carlos Correa has already made an impact as short-stop for the Astros this season and unfortunately for them, he has the night off tonight and it will be Marwin Gonzalez who'll be starting in his place tonight. We also like the fact that Evan Gattis is starting in left field for the Astros. Yes, he's capable of playing in that position but his strength is as a catcher and power hitter, he's not the type of player that is built to cover a large area of the field due to his lack of mobility. This certainly is a situation that favors the Royals at the plate.  

Having already clinched this series even if they lose tonight, the Astros will not be as motivated as their opponents. Teams also tend to have a tendency to look forward to their rest and that's what the Houston players are facing tomorrow since it's a day off. They may not be mentally as sharp/ready as Royals and one fielding error is all it takes to decide what should be a close game. Houston has won 3 in a row overall, has clinched this series and has the day off tomorrow. Some of the players may already feel pleased with what they've accomplished while Royals will likely be hungry tonight. Let’s not forget, this is a team that can win anywhere and tends to bounce back from losses. They're a confident bunch and a tenacious group. Good pitching will almost always trump good hitting and that's what we are likely to see tonight. After all, no club has allowed less runs in the American League than the Royals who've only give up 268 runs all season! KC has also proven their worth on the offensive end as well as they are 2nd in batting average in the AL while the Astros are 13th out of 15!

This is a situation where we believe we are getting the better team at the much better price. Perception has certainly skewed how the fair-weather fans view this Royals team after just a few performances but this is certainly the situation where we expect this team to remind everyone exactly who they are. We predict the Royals win a close one and salvage the series. 

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Royals are 32-16 against right-handed starters!
  • Royals are 18-10 after a loss this season and have rarely dropped 3 in a row.
  • When Edinson Volquez has taken the mound, his team is 7-1 against the Astros!

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