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August 16, 2016

There are 2 picks tonight.

#1: Take Colorado Rockies (+111) on the ML against Washington Nationals risking 3% to win 3.33%.
(Bettis and Gonzalez must start for wager to have action)

The Nationals and Rockies continue their series tonight from Coors Field. The Nationals managed to come away with a win in Game 1, albeit a close one. The Rockies were able to get to Max Scherzer early and even held a 4-2 lead in the 4th before the Nationals rallied and scored 3 unanswered runs to take the 5-4 lead. The Nationals have been one of the top teams in the league for much of the season which is why we find it somewhat strange to see them listed as such a short favorite in this contest. Looking back at the Nationals recent matchups, they have been listed as not only the favorites, but heavy favorites in a majority of them, simply because how well they have played, that being said, we feel that the oddsmakers have made the odds on this particular matchup much less for good reason.

Gio Gonzalez is not necessarily the pitcher that he once was a few seasons ago. He has been struggling with his velocity and delivery and opposing batter have been able to catch up with him. He is just 8-9 on the season with a 4.24 ERA. He has particularly struggled on the road where he is just 3-5 on the season. The Nationals have managed to win just 3 out of his 8 trips to the mound on the highway and in this particular venue, we expect him to struggle.  

The Colorado Rockies have one of the best offenses in the league, averaging over 6 runs per game at Coors Field this season. Gonzalez is coming off a rough start against another high powered offensive team in the Cleveland Indians where he gave up 7 hits and 4 earned runs in just 5 innings of work. We expect that it will be extremely tough for Gonzalez to bounce back from that poor outing, especially now pitching in one of the most dangerous place in the league for opposing pitchers.

The Rox pitching staff has been terrible this season and a big reason why they continue to struggle. Chad Bettis will take the mound tonight and in this venue, he has actually been the Rockies most productive and reliable pitcher. His ERA is nothing to write home about, but he is 5-2 in this venue, while the Rockies themselves are 8-2 in his 10 home games this season. The Nats don't have a lot of experience against the right hander, which could give Bettis the advantage on the mound in this matchup.

Despite not being able to hang on for the victory, the Rockies did manage to get to the Nationals' Ace, Max Scherzer, last night. We expect that they will have a much easier time tonight with Gonzalez on the mound. The oddsmakers have listed this game with a high total which means that they expect a lot of runs to be scored in this game. If that is indeed the case, we believe that plays precisely into the style of play that the Rockies prefer. The 'interesting' odds on this matchup point to the Rockies coming away with the victory and at plus-money at home, the value is certainly there.

#2: Take Pittsburgh Pirates (-107) on the ML against San Francisco Giants risking 3.21% to win 3%.
(Taillon and Samardzija must start for wager to have action)

The Pirates are rolling at the moment having won 4 of their last 5 games, which includes an 8-5 victory last night in Game 1 against these same San Francisco Giants. The Bucs pounded Giants' starter Matt Moore for 5 runs on 6 hits and piled on another 3 against the bullpen in the 7th and 8th. It was an impressive performance by the Pirates and we expect that momentum to carry over into this game as they face a struggling Jeff Samardzija tonight.

Samardzija has struggled somewhat this season going just 10-8 with a 4.23 ERA. He's coming off what was arguably his best start of the season his last trip to the mound where he went 5.7 innings giving up just 3 hits and 0 earned runs against the Miami Marlins. That being said, he had struggled in his previous two trips to the mound, giving up a combined 9 earned runs in just 13 innings of work. Pittsburgh hammered the right hander earlier in the season in what was his shortest start of the year, lasting just 3 innings enroute to serving up 6 hits and 6 earned runs (3 home runs). We don't expect the Bucs to do as much damage against him tonight, but given that Samardzija's team is just 4-7 lifetime against Pitt when he takes the mound, we wouldn't be surprised if the Bucs do have a fair amount of success against him again tonight.

The Bucs will send Jameson Taillon to the mound tonight for his 11th start of the year. Taillon has been having himself a great season this year, despite only having a 3-2 record. He has an impressive 3.00 ERA on the year and has surrendered just 3 earned run over his last 20 innings of work, while striking out 20! The Pirates have strongly backed the youngster this season having won 7 of his 10 starts this season. We believe that Taillon will have the edge on the mound and outduel his counterpart in this contest.

The Pirates will also have the edge when it comes to bullpens tonight. The Bucs' pen has a combined 2.88 ERA on the road this season and an 85% save rate. Meanwhile the Giants pen has been less than reliable this season with a combined 4.45 ERA and 1.394 WHIP and coverts just 61.5% of their save opportunities at home. Even if Samaradzija has a strong showing tonight, the Pittsburgh bats should be able to keep them in the game once the bullpen takes over. The Pirates should have a decisive advantage in nearly all areas of the game and at these short odds, they certainly have value.

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