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June 21, 2015 (Posted at 12:00 PM ET)

Take San Diego Padres (-102) on the Money Line against Arizona Diamondbacks risking 3% of bankroll.
(Cashner and Hellickson must start for wager to have action)

This is an interesting matchup this afternoon as the Padres and Dbacks square off in their series finale. Looking at the individual breakdown of this particular contest, we believe the oddsmakers made a mistake by listing Arizona as the favorites in this rubber match. We feel that the Friars have quite a few advantages that they can exploit which should give them a better than average opportunity to pull off the win and clinch the series. San Diego has an opportunity to overtake the D-Backs in the NL West with a win this afternoon. That in itself should be a motivating factor to come out and give it their all in this game. We also feel that the Friars will have an edge on the mound as Andrew Cashner pitches opposite of Jeremy Hellickson. 

Even though Cashner hasn't been at his best in recent starts, there is no doubt that he is a much better pitcher than his current 2-8 record dictates. He is a quality hurler but we believe he's allowed his frustrations to get the better of him recently. As with most strikeout / top tier pitchers, Cashner has been a victim of some unfortunate luck and often deals with a lack of quality run support. While a lot of pitchers in the league are "bailed out" from under their mistakes, he has unfortunately has had to pay for nearly all of his. Around 1/3 of the runs he has given up this season have been 'unearned'! With the Padres coming off a big win yesterday, we expect Cashner and his teammates to have the proper mindset looking to build on the momentum his team generated yesterday. He's had quite a bit of success against Arizona's lineup in his career with an ERA of 2.93 and a WHIP of 1.084 in 10 career starts. 

For Jeremy Hellickson, he is also having a down year as well and has found it tough in his new surroundings in Arizona. The former Tampa Bay pitcher is still getting used to pitching at this hitter friendly ballpark and has an ERA of nearly 6 at home this year! He's struggled at time keep the ball inside the park and the Padres have a powerful lineup that could make things tough for his this afternoon. San Diego has hit Hellickson hard already this season. They have a collective OBP of .338 against Hellickson. In 11 innings this season, he's given up 15 hits and 10 earned runs over his two starts against the Friars! During those outings he's also given up 3 home runs while walking 5 batters! 

There's no question that he will be thinking about his two previous outings against San Diego this season and that may not be a good place for him to be mentally. If he begins to overthink things too much and tries to hard not to make a mistake; that is when mistakes usually happen and he can't afford to make many mistakes with this lineup. The Padres' outfield (Matt Kemp, Will Vennable and Justin Upton) as well as utility infielder and former Yankee Solarte have posted huge numbers against Jeremy Hellickson in their careers and should have more success tonight. 

We expect Cashner to outduel Hellickson on the mound but even if that doesn't happen and this game is decided by the bullpens, we believe the Friars have the advantage there as well. The Diamondbacks bullpen has been inconsistent this season as it is, while the Padres’ pen has been solid away from Petco Park this season. Tyson Ross had a complete game yesterday which allowed the San Diego bullpen to rest their arms. Maurer, Kimbrel and co should be fresh and ready to go for today's contest when called upon. Arizona on the other hand had to use 5 pitchers in yesterday's game loss so fatigue could certainly play a role for the DBacks pen this afternoon. 

This is a situation where we believe the Diamondbacks are "false favorites". San Diego has been struggling as of late so Vegas couldn't make them the favorites in this particular situation but they made them small underdogs and the odds are moving the other way which says a lot. Given the numerous advantages the Friars should have in this contest, this is great value to back a team that we feel should find a way to edge a close game.

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Diamondbacks have a collective .269 OBP against Andrew Cashner.
  • Hellickson is just 2-12 against division opponents over the last 2 seasons!
  • Diamondbacks are 3-13 after a game where they had 4 or less hits over the past few seasons!

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