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July 21, 2015 (Posted at 5:00 PM ET)

Take Baltimore Orioles (+112) as underdogs against NY Yankees risking 3% of the bankroll. 
(Chen and Eovaldi must start for wager to have action)

With the MLB season now firmly in the second half, this is the time where teams ultimately make their push into contention for the postseason. In an ultra-competitive AL East division, the Baltimore Orioles find themselves 4 games back of their opponents, the New York Yankees and at this point in the season, can't afford to fall even further behind. This is an extremely important series for the O's and there is no doubt that manager Buck Showalter will be reminding his squad of that and emphasize the importance that now is the time when they need to make up ground in the standings. 

Wei-Yin Chen will take the mound for Baltimore tonight and by far he has been his team’s most consistent starter on the year and has performed far better than his 4-5 record indicates. His overall ERA and other metrics are much more indicative of how he has performed. The same can't be said for Yankees starter Nathan Eovaldi. Eovaldi is actually the complete opposite of Chen as his impressive 9-2 overall record is not truly indicative of how he has performed this season. Despite his record, he has a mediocre 4.50 ERA and only has as many wins as he does on the season because of some very good fortune and plenty of run support. While the All-Star break with have messed with the rhythms of both pitchers heading into this contest, Chen is a veteran and has shown his ability to not be phased by situations such as this. We believe the added days off will affect the young Yankee hurler more in this contest. It's also worth mentioning that today is Chen's birthday. He turns 30 which is a real milestone. He will no doubt be looking to have a solid showing and what better present could his teammates give him than plenty of runs support to help him get the W. 

The Orioles have been dominant against division opponents over the last few years and will display more of the same tonight as they fight for the AL East lead. Although this could be a closely contested affair, we believe it is a false favorite situation as the Orioles are in fact more likely to win this game than Yankees but find themselves priced as underdogs because this game is at Yankee Stadium and because of Eovaldi's win loss record. Public perception has certainly played a role in this line and we feel that many who take the bait will be disappointed at the end of the game. 

The Yankees roster also hasn't had much success against Chen in their careers. Starting second baseman tonight, Brendan Ryan is hitless against Chen while both A-Rod and Mark Teixeira who are Yankees' 2 biggest bats have really struggled in their careers against the crafty southpaw. Yankees as a whole have just a .220 batting average against Chen in 118 at-bats so there is no question that we believe Baltimore will have the pitching edge in this one. O's have shown they can win on the road as they took 2 out of 3 in Detroit and will be even more motivated to make up ground in this series against direct AL East rivals. Another motivating factor will be that they do not want to drop back to a .500 record. The Orioles are much too good of a team to be close to a losing record. 

The O's will also have the defensive and fielding edge tonight. As a team they have been one of the most fundamentally sound teams when it comes to defense. They've committed only 39 errors on the season which is by far the lowest in the American League! Their opponents, NY has 64 on the year. In this series Baltimore will have to face both Nova and Tanaka next and have Gausmann on the mound tomorrow. Tonight's contest is arguably their most winnable one of the series and we believe they know that and will want to take advantage all while giving Chen a great birthday night! The motivation, urgency and desire should be the difference in this matchup and what allows Baltimore to ultimately come away with the victory. 

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Orioles are 30-20 over the last 3 years after a day of rest.
  • Chen is 38-17 in his career when the total has been set at 8 or 8.5 runs!
  • Orioles are 110-85 against right-handed starters over the last 2 seasons.
  • O's bullpen has converted 84.6% of it’s save opportunities on the road this season!

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