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April 10, 2016

There is an NBA and an MLB pick today.

1: Take Philadelphia 76ers +3 spread against Milwaukee Bucks for 3% of the bankroll.

This is a false favorite situation in our opinion as the oddsmakers know 76ers are capable of winning this game but have no choice but to install them as underdogs given their awful record! So they have tabbed them as small underdogs against a team with a far superior record and that it self says a lot because Philadelphia is normally a double-digit underdog or at least a sizeable one around the 7-8 points range. Vegas has laid a trap for the betting public with such a short price on Jason Kidd's squad and the majority are taking the bait. This is a big public fade as Milwaukee is the most publicly bet on team in today's NBA schedule but hardly the only reason we're backing Philly tonight.

The 76ers organization NEEDS this win a lot more than the Bucks! There is great pressure on everyone involved from ownership to front office to the coaching staff and then players on the court and rightfully so. The 76ers have been atrocious but need to tank no more as they've already secured the worst record in NBA which will help their draft opportunities. From here on out, they could use a win or two to get fans back on their side and while it'll be very difficult to win on the road in Chicago and Toronto in what will be a back-to-back schedule, this is their final remaining 'winnable' game! That makes this an important one as it is their final contest at Wells Fargo Center this season and a chance to redeem themselves in front of their passionate but dwindling fanbase. Attendances have been shrinking and the front office understands that the best way to get them interested is to win a game or two! They need these fans to purchase season tickets next year and attract new ones and finishing the year with just 10 wins won't cut it. Look for the 76ers to be the hungrier team in this matchup as their urgency and desire brings them a rare 'W'.

The Bucks on the other hand have no real need to win this game. In fact it would help their draft position if they took a loss here since they are very close to the Knicks and Nuggets in the standings and could improve their odds. They won't be making the playoffs and have no real incentive to blow out the opposition here. They've already beaten the 76ers twice this season and may in fact overlook them. Milwaukee will probably be up for its final home game of the season as they themselves will want to give the fans something to get excited for next year but this game tonight is a fairly meaningless one for them especially since they have another game scheduled for tomorrow and need to save energy for that as well.

Milwaukee is shorthanded right now in the guard positions and will likely feature an extremely inexperienced backcourt tandem in Rashad Vaughn and Tyler Ennis! The 76ers have Ish Smith and Nik Stauskas as their starting guards and should own a matchup advantage there. Vaughn is a rookie who was not really part of the rotation until Jerryd Bayless, OJ Mayo, Michael Carter-Williams and Khris Middleton all got sidelined. He's got a lot to learn at this level. Tyler Ennis is a bit more ready given that he's in his 2nd year in the NBA but he himself did not much playing time in the first half of the season as he was buried deep in the PG chart. Injuries have decimated this squad and brought playing time to those players and Damien Inglis but they just aren't ready yet. If Philadelphia can find a way to somewhat limit Giannis Antetokounmpo, they will have a very good chance of winning this game. Containing the athletic Greek will not be easy but the 76ers do have some athletic shot-blockers in the likes of Nerlens Noel and Jerami Grant! In addition, veterans Carl Landry and Elton Brand have been playing well and providing this young team with some much needed leadership.

The Sam Hinkie era is over in Philadelphia and with a new General Manager in town, Brett Brown and his players need to start impressing their new boss. While the appointment of the younger Colangelo has not yet officially been confirmed, it is only a matter of time and puts a healthy amount of pressure on the current players to perform. We believe the 76ers have a lot more to gain or lose from this than the Bucks and will challenge for the outright win and likely get it. If they somehow do lose, it may come via a buzzerbeater in which case the extra 3 points are extremely precious. Milwaukee has another game to worry about tomorrow and that means they may decide to limit the minutes of some key players tonight. The Philadelphia squad meanwhile only has one thing on its mind and that is to end a brutal season with a rare win and give the home fans something to look forward to next year! Grab the points with the home underdog.

2: Take Washington Nationals (-150) on the ML against Miami Marlins risking 4.5% to win 3%.
(Ross and Koehler must start for wager to have action)

The Miami Marlins managed to take the opener of this series back on Thursday as they led from start to finish, handing the Nationals their first loss of the season! Game 2 was postponed due to inclement weather which makes this the final meeting between these two NL East teams until later in the season. Over the last 3 seasons, the Nationals have shown that they are a team that often bounces back after a defeat as they are 80-66 in this situation! They will come out motivated in this contest to prevent being swept at home by the Marlins.

Washington will send second-year pitcher, Joe Ross to the mound this afternoon. Joe Ross, the younger brother of Padres’ Tyson Ross is a talented hurler who has already shown a lot of potential. His breakthrough season last year, coupled with the work put in during spring training forced management to give him a starting rotation spot right from the get-go this season. Ross pitched in 16 games (started 13), as a rookie last season. He owned a 3.64 ERA and a 1.109 WHIP in over 76 innings of work! He made two brief appearances against the Marlins last year but both came out of the bullpen which means only a handful of Marlins have ever faced him and even then they've only had one or two at-bats against him at best.

The fact that the Miami lineup has not seen much of Ross at all gives him an advantage, at least in the first few innings of this contest. It will take the Miami bats a couple times through the order to become adjusted with his release and delivery in order to make solid contact. This should allow the Nationals to limit the amount of runs Miami scores in the early going before the bullpen takes over. Ross has also shown that he is comfortable pitching in Nationals Park, having pitched there nine times, starting seven of those contests. He went 4-2 with a 2.44 ERA and a 0.902 WHIP over 44.2 innings in those contests. His poise and composure is impressive for such a young pitcher!

Meanwhile, the Nationals have seen quite a bit of Marlins pitcher Tom Koehler in recent years. Koehler has faced the Nationals nine times in his career and has struggled when facing this lineup. He’s 3-6 with a 4.64 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP over 54.1 innings of work in those contests. He's struggled even more pitching in this venue where he is just 1-4 with an ugly 6.21 ERA plus a 1.345 WHIP over 29 innings in five starts at Nationals Park! Koehler has also given up 12 homeruns in his career against the Nationals which is twice as many as any other team in the league! The Nats have incredibly strong bats in their lineup in the likes of lefties Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy which should be able to capitalize on Koehler's mistakes this afternoon. Ryan Zimmerman also has an active 13 game hit streak dating back to last season which is tied for the second longest streak in the Majors and might make an appearance as a pinch-hitter in this game.

Washington's pitching rotation; both starting and bullpen have been good at limiting the long ball and keeping things inside the park which could prove to be crucial in this game. We all know that the Washington lineup has homerun capability, but if their pitchers can once again limit the Marlins’ ability to ‘go yard’, they should be able to come away with the victory in this contest. This won’t be an easy game for them and may be closely contested but the home side has numerous advantages and should find a way to edge this contest.

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