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April 19, 2016

There are 2 picks tonight.

1: Take LA Angels (+108) on the ML against Chicago White Sox risking 3% to win 3.24%.

Mats Latos will get the ball for the White Sox and they really need him to give them at the very least 6 innings but ideally more after their bullpen was taxed last night. The Pale Hose relievers were overworked big time in the last contest. After starter Carlos Rodon got only 1 out before exiting, it was the relief core that had to get the other 26 outs! That means their best arms in the 'pen such as Petricka, Putnam and Jennings each had to go at least 2 innings and will likely not be available tonight. The coaching staff will want to give them a night off to rest as using them again could cause injuries but even if they don't exercise caution, those tired arms aren't likely to pay dividends. The best relievers in LA's bullpen on the other hand got the day off yesterday and will be ready to be called into action.

Therefore not only do the Halos have a big advantage in the latter innings against the hosts then but they might just have an edge in the starting pitching matchup as well. For one thing, Latos will have a lot of pressure on him tonight given that Robin Ventura needs him to go deep in the ball game. On the other hand, and perhaps more importantly, is the fact that the veteran pitcher has been playing over his head and is likely to regress. He's been excellent in his first two starts of the season but we believe it is only a matter of time before he comes back down to earth and there's good value going up against him right now. Especially since he's going up against a ball club that he spent a bit of time with in 2015 and they may well have noted a tendency or two of his to inform the batters about. The Angels are capable of getting on base against the former Cincinnati Red and are swinging a hot bat right now after scoring 7 runs last night! They went 8 for 15 with runners in scoring position which was much needed for their psyche after 'choking' in similar spots in recent past. They'll be feeling confident tonight.

Another factor that gives the visitors an edge is the fact that Mike Scioscia's club is coming off a shutout victory. The Anaheim club is 17-9 over the last 3 years after not allowing a single run in their previous game! This is a team that takes pride in its defense and the acquisition of Andrelton Simmons in the off-season was a signal of that as Simmons is the very best defensive short-stop in MLB! It just so happens that he and some of the other Angel hitters have had previous success against Mats Latos when stepping up to the plate as well.

With Chris Sale on deck tomorrow afternoon, don't expect Mike Trout and company to be complacent tonight. They know that realistically, they have a much better chance of winning this game than Wednesday's matchup and will want to capitalize on it! This is a false favorite situation in our opinion as the wrong team has been installed as chalk. The Halos have numerous advantanges in this contest and are more than capable of riding last night's momentum into another 'W' tonight. Shoemaker could very well out-duel Latos but even if he doesn't, the bats and the bullpen of LA is in a much better spot than Chicago's and should help secure the win.

2: Take Atlanta Hawks -6 spread (buy half a point) against Boston Celtics for 3% of the bankroll. 

The Boston Celtics once again travel to Atlanta to take on the Hawks in Game 2 of their 7 game series. Atlanta blew a 19-point lead before ultimately recovering and holding on for the 102-101 victory in Game 1. While Boston managed to overcome a disastrous first half and rallied in the second, we don't believe Game 2 will be nearly as competitive as Boston will be without a key piece of their rotation with Avery Bradley scheduled to miss the remainder of the series.

Bradley is an essential piece of this Celtic's rotation and Boston could be in serious trouble in this series without him. Next to Isaiah Thomas, Bradley is the second leading scorer on the team, averaging 15.2 points per game. He also contributes much more than just on the offensive end as he is a lockdown defender and was tasked with defending Hawk's PG Jeff Teague in this series. When Bradley went down with the hamstring injury in Game 1, Teague took full advantage and contributed with either a score or an assist on 7 of the Hawks final 12 field goals. Teague finished Game 1 with an impressive 23 points and 12 assists and could be in for a much bigger showing tonight with rookie guards Terry Rozier and RJ Hunter possibly guarding him. As if the loss of Bradley was not enough, big man Kelly Olynyk also missed practice on Monday and is listed as questionable for tonight's matchup.

As if missing a couple of key contributors isn't enough for the Celtics, Atlanta was one of the premier defensive teams in the Eastern Conference this year and poses numerous matchup problems on both the offensive and defensive end for the Celtics. Atlanta held Boston to just 23.1 percent shooting in the first half of Game 1. They attempted 16 more free throws and outscored the Celtics 52-36 in the paint. Strong forward Kent Bazemore had a playoff career high 23 points on 7 of 13 shooting. Al Horford was also a near unstoppable force coming away with 23 points and 12 rebounds. This is a Hawks team that is loaded with talent and may be too much for the shorthanded Celtics to contain. It's certainly worth mentioning that Atlanta took three of the four meeting between these teams during the regular season.

The Celtics have overcome deficits of 26 and 19 points in their last two games. There is no question that these Celtics players have a ton of heart; however comebacks like that certainly take a lot out of a team. Boston could come into this contest a bit letdown that the let Game 1 slip away from them after their ferocious comeback. Meanwhile, Atlanta survived a scare but should come into this contest motivated to prove that they are the better all-around team. They can't afford to let an opportunity like this go to waste and we believe they will come out of the gate fast in this contest and look to put it away early to prevent another potential Celtics comeback.

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Celtics are just 4-9 ATS this season when playing on 2 days rest!
  • Hawks are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games as a home favorite of 5 to 10 points!
  • Celtics are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games when listed as an underdog!
  • Hawks won 6 of 8 games this season after 2 full days of rest and preparation!

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