October 23, 2015 (2:00 PM ET)
There is one baseball and one NCAA pick tonight.
In addition, 3 college football plays are being released a day in advance for Saturday.
Please check back tomorrow at 11:00 AM ET to view the detailed write-ups as well as one potential additional pick.
1: Take Toronto Blue Jays on the Money Line (-130) against KC Royals risking 3.9% of bankroll to win 3%.
(Price and Ventura must start for wager to have action)
David Price is no doubt an elite pitcher in the league. He has proven himself as one of the top pitchers which is why the Blue Jays had gone after him in the first place and still much is being made about his poor playoff record in the media. It's absolute nonsense. He is still a big game pitcher and capable of putting in quality outings. He is the undoubted 'Ace' of this team and gives his squad the very best chance to win each and every time he steps on the mound. It's worth mentioning that Hall of Famer Randy Johnson, one of the all-time greats lost his first 7 playoff games before winning the next 5! Price has already proven capable of leading his team on the mound; he has simply struggled to pick up the wins due to some very unfortunate and unlikely set of events.
Let's take his last game as an example. David Price had completely handcuffed this Royal lineup completing 6 shutout innings with just 68 pitches! A defensive error on a missed pop-out started the 7th inning and everything unraveled and snowballed from there. That no doubt affected his confidence and he ended up trying 'too hard' to be perfect as he admitted after that. Had that routine defensive play which had nothing to do with him get made by Goins, he and Blue Jays were absolutely cruising and would probably have won that game (Game 2 of ALCS). Not only was David Price acquired for big games and moments like this but he wants to prove to everyone that he can win in the postseason. In that sense, it is not only his teammates that face elimination and it's once again all hands on deck, but he too, as he needs to record a postseason on his resume since he'll soon be a free-agent. He's no doubt motivated and determined to succeed and we expect him to outduel and Ventura and have a quality start. Let's not forget that as good as this KC lineup is; they were mediocre against left-handed starters all season long. They are just 33-28 against southpaws this season and David Price is certainly one of the best.
With all that being said and given that David Price is 0-7 in playoffs and Royals topped the American League and are playing at home, the question has to be asked; why they are underdogs!? Why are the Blue Jays -130 road favorites against a team with a superior record? There are good reasons for it, numerous ones really and it all begins with the starting pitching matchup which we believe favors David Price.
Yordano Ventura can throw very hard but he's still young and his emotions get the best of him at times. He's not as experienced or mentally as strong and still has growing up and maturing to do. One or two bad calls, walks or homers has been shown to throw him off his game as then ends up trying to throw even harder, leading to a loss in command. Walking a batter is a very dangerous thing against this Toronto lineup and he was 2nd on the Royal pitching staff in free bases issued. It’s also worth noting that he's not been that sharp in playoffs this season, having not made past the 5th inning in his starts!
Toronto had a good amount of success against Ventura last Saturday when they hit him for 3 runs in just over 5 innings. Now they face him again being even more familiar to his release point and pitching style and we believe they can hit him well again. Ventura, being young and not the most humble of pitchers did not admit that it is tough to face the same lineup in less than a week but his numbers tell a different story since his .OPS mark rises dramatically through the 3rd order when facing a lineup. He's more likely to make mistakes than Price tonight in our opinion and Blue Jays have the offense to punish such mistakes.
The Royals do certainly have a good bullpen but they still need a quality start from Ventura and we're not so sure they'll get that. On top of that, Wade Davis has now had 5 full days of rest and that may in fact be too much time spent on the sidelines. He may be a bit rusty when introduced in this game and let's not forget that as dominant as he is, 'closing' is still new to him since he was the setup man for Gregg Holland last playoff season and in recent years.
The Blue Jays are 4-0 in elimination games this season and seem to play their best game when their back is against the wall! They staved off elimination 3 times against the Rangers and now have done it once against the Royals by winning Game 5 easily. This is something that we believe has renewed hope and has given them their swagger back. With this game being in Kansas City, the pressure is actually not on them anymore, the pressure is on Ned Yost's team to close things out and yet this isn't an easy situation for Royals to be in mentally because although they'd like to do that, they know that they also can do it in Game 7 which is another home game for them. The fact that they know they have another opportunity should they drop this game makes it different than Blue Jays that know it’s now or never for them.
This has been a competitive and entertaining series between the two best teams in baseball in our opinion. It would be befitting if it went the full distance and was decided in an ultra-pressure packed Game 7 tomorrow as opposed to tonight. With Game 7 being played once again in Kauffman Stadium, the Royals still realize they have a leg up, even if they aren't able to win this particular game. Toronto continues to make this a series and forces a dramatic Game 7 tomorrow!
Other notable facts to consider:
- Blue Jays have won 18 of 25 games this season after a day of rest!
- Blue Jays are 74-56 against right-handed starters this season.
- Blue Jays are 29-13 against teams with winning records in the second half of the season!
2: Take Tulsa at +10.5 spread against Memphis for 3% of the bankroll.
The Memphis Tigers are coming off arguably the biggest upset in school history as they managed to claw themselves out of a 14-0 hole and took down the #13th ranked Ole Miss Rebels this past weekend and that sets them up for a potential letdown in this contest. There was no doubt that was a trap game for the Rebels with them overlooking a capable opponent and the Tigers took full advantage as we easily cashed out. Now, we feel that Tulsa can use that same tactic in this contest against the Tigers.
The Tulsa Golden Hurricanes aren't a team that many can afford to overlook. While there is something left to be desired in their defense, they are more than capable on the offensive side of the ball. They have averaged 550 yards of offense per game while also averaging 33 points per contest and have hung season high yards on 5 of their 6 opponents this season. They are coming off somewhat of a poor performances against the East Carolina Pirates but that performance is not truly indicative of how the Hurricanes have played this season. They are a much better team than that matchup showed, yet perception has been skewed because of it.
The contest against the Rebels was their proverbial 'Superbowl' this season and they accomplished what few thought they could do. They are no longer the underrated team and have been cast into the limelight and now expectations are high, both on themselves as a team and also with the betting public. They are currently undefeated, have won 13 straight games dating back to last season, are about to crack the top 25 and have the potential to play in a BCS Bowl this season. The sports betting world has a way of building these teams up, having the public take notice and then ripping the rug right out from under them and we feel that is what is poised to happen in this matchup.
Laying double digits on the road in a conference game against an offensively efficient opponent is a dangerous proposition, especially in the letdown spot that Memphis finds itself in! Tulsa has the ability to move the ball and put points on the board which could make it difficult for the Tigers to create any kind of separation on the scoreboard, especially if they happen to get off to a slow start. Even if there are no lingering effects and the Tigers play a well-executed game, with an offense as capable as Tulsa's, the chance to come from behind a get a backdoor cover is always a possibility. When a team is leading by a big margin late in the game (2 possessions) it's almost common place for the opposing defense to be more laxed and allow a bigger cushion for the offense to move the ball down the field for a potential late score. After all, most teams don't care how much they win by late in the game, they only care that they win and that is dangerous when laying double digits.
Much like last week was Memphis' opportunity to make a statement, this could be Tulsa's! To be in the position to play spoiler to a Memphis team that has so much to lose at the moment should be a motivating factor. Even if they fall short of their goal of knocking them from the ranks of the undefeated, they should at least come in and make this a contest. At the end of the game they will find a way to stay competitive and keep with this general number.
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