September 14, 2015 (Posted at 4:00 PM ET)
There is one MLB and one NFL pick tonight.
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1) Take Baltimore Orioles on the Money Line (-122) against Red Sox risking 3.66% of bankroll to win 3%.
(Gausman and Rodriguez must start for wager to have action)
The Baltimore Orioles have not been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, but if they want to make a move towards a potential playoff berth, they need to start compiling wins. That will be their focus tonight as they are going up against an opponent whom they have had quite a bit of success against in recent meetings. The Orioles have taken 7 of the last 8 meetings with the Sox, including 5 straight at home in Camden Yards.
The Orioles have been playing much better as of late after a 6 game losing streak and managed to take two of three over the weekend against the Kansas City Royals. Chris Davis hit his league leading 42nd home run and is batting .444 with seven homers and 14 RBIs in 11 games this month. Adam Jones is 4 for 8 with two home runs and seven RBIs in his last two. They are playing extremely well at the moment and have the potential to keep their hot hitting alive as they face a pitcher who hasn't exactly had the best track record on the road this season.
Eduardo Rodriguez has been pitching well recently, but has shown his propensity to have meltdowns on the mound. In his last start against Baltimore back on June 25, the southpaw gave up six runs and seven hits in just 3 2/3 innings. He's 0-1 with a 5.59 ERA in two starts against the O's this season with J.J. Hardy going 2 for 4 and Matt Wieters 2 for 5 with a homerun. Rodriguez is also coming off three straight road losses which has seen him give up 17 runs in his last 13 2/3 innings on the highway.
The Red Sox had a 13-inning battle yesterday in a game in which they had to use 7 different pitchers! They then had to take a delayed flight to Baltimore. It wouldn't surprise us if they were more fatigued than their opponents. The Red Sox are playing solid baseball at the moment, but we expect them to run into a buzzsaw tonight. The Red Sox, Rays and Orioles are currently the 3 basement dwelling teams of the AL East and we don't believe Buck Showalter will allow his team to drop this particular contest. With Joe Kelly on the mound tomorrow, we expect the O's to put in a solid effort tonight as Baltimore could potentially be facing an 0-2 start to the series with a loss tonight. This is a solid price to back the home team.
Other notable facts to consider:
- Orioles are 37-15 against a team with a losing record.
- Red Sox are just 5-11 in their last 16 on the road against a team with a winning home record.
- Gausman is 1-0 with a 2.66 ERA in three career starts and five relief appearances against the Red Sox.
2) Take Minnesota Vikings on the Money Line (-124) against SF 49ers risking 3.72% of bankroll to win 3%.
In what could be a tight low-scoring battle, this is one of the very few occasions when it is wise to back a team to simply win.
There is no doubt this will be a very important game for Minnesota fans as it will be the first game back for superstar Adrian Peterson. Peterson last played on Sept 7th, 2014 and fans have been waiting for his chance to get back on the field. After such a tumultuous off-season there is no doubt AP is looking to get back on the field and pick up right where he left off! He could be in line for a big night tonight against a defense that has plenty of new holes.
The 49ers had 3 defensive players earn PFF grades above 20.0 last season and all three are gone this year. Linebacker Chris Borland and defensive lineman Justin Smith retired, as did veteran LB Patrick Willis. Ray Macdonald and the 49ers best pass rusher, Aldon Smith were dismissed from the team. Also gone are San Francisco's top two cornerbacks in Chris Culliver and Perish Cox. That leaves this 49er defense extremely young and inexperienced, and could certainly be a liability for this team, especially tonight, having to go up against arguably the best RB in the league and an accurate and composed QB in Teddy Bridgewater.
Even though Teddy Bridgewater wasn't in the spotlight during his rookie campaign, he quietly put together an impressive season. He had a 64.4 completion percentage which was the third highest mark for any rookie in NFL history. He also completed 73.1% of his passes in the red-zone which led the entire league by nearly 8%. He was a 68.2% passer on third down, which again led the league. Bridgewater threw for an average of 7.3 yards per attempt. He is obviously a skilled passer and now with the Vikings getting back their workhorse in Adrian Peterson, that should take a lot of the burden off Bridgewater's shoulders and make their offense that much more dynamic.
For the last couple of seasons the 49ers are no doubt a team that has regressed. They were a Super Bowl caliber and perennial playoff participant under former coach Jim Harbaugh but they have slowly lost the luster that once made them great. Numerous players have moved on, Colin Kaepernick, who started out shredding opposing defense both through the air and with his feet has struggled. He had the second highest sack rate in the league (23.7) last season. Now missing his best interior lineman, Mike Lupati and right tackle Anthony Davis who also retired; Kaepernick could be in for another year of poor protections. He also lost a top receiver in Michael Crabtree and franchise RB Frank Gore from a season ago. They have lost some major pieces on both sides of the ball and that will likely be tough for them to overcome in the very first game of the season.
These are two teams that are currently heading in the opposite direction. The 49ers are rebuilding, while the Vikings are certainly a team on the rise. This is Mike Zimmer's second season in charge and that helps them against a team that has a new coach trying to stamp his authority. Home field advantage is likely the only edge that the 49ers will have in this contest and we don't feel that will be enough. The Vikings should handle San Fran and come away with the victory. There is a reason they are favored on the road for the first time since 2012!
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