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August 21, 2016

There are 2 underdog picks today.

#1: Take Cincinnati Reds (+136) on the ML against LA Dodgers risking 3% to win 4.08%.
(DeSclafani and Urias must start for wager to have action)

Over the last week, the Cincinnati Reds have been playing their best baseball of the season. They are currently in the midst of a 5 game winning streak and are averaging over 6 runs per game during this span. They have completely exploded on the offensive end against the NL West leading LA Dodgers and are seeing the ball extremely well at the moment. There is no question that the Dodgers are the better overall team in the wider scope of the season, however at the moment, the Reds are the team that is playing the better baseball.

A big reason for the Reds success during this stretch has been two-fold. First they are getting quality innings from both their starting rotation and their bullpen. Their pitching has been on point and we expect it to continue that course this afternoon when their most reliable starter, Anthony DeSclafani takes the mound. DeSclafani has been nearly lights out at home this season and should present an interesting challenge to the somewhat inconsistent offense of the Dodgers. He is undefeated at home this season with a perfect 4-0 record in 5 contests with an impressive 2.12 ERA. The Reds have also won all of his starts at the Great American Ballpark this season. He has also had some success against the Dodgers in his career, holding a 2.32 ERA through 19 innings of work! We expect that he will hold the edge on the mound this afternoon. The second has been the fact that their offense is now starting to play loose and free. The Reds have a lot of young talent that is starting to see playing time and are making the most of their opportunities. We expect that their offense will continue their great play and put runs on the board in this contest.

The Dodgers will send their pitcher of the future, Julio Urias to the mound this afternoon. Urias has been a welcome addition to the Dodgers' rotation this season, but he is still somewhat of an unproven commodity. He has struggled on the road this season, going just 1-2 with an ugly 5.09 ERA through 5 contests. Despite his struggles, the Dodgers do seem to give him quite a bit of run support as they are 7-3 in his 10 starts this season, including winning his last 6 straight. That being said, he will be up against it in this contest against a young Reds lineup who happens to be tearing the cover off the ball at the moment. The one advantage that Urias may have is that the Reds have not seen him before, but with all of the young and up and coming talent on the Reds roster this afternoon, we expect that the hitters will be out to prove themselves in this contest and look to do some damage against him once they have gone through the rotation.

There is certainly no question that the Dodgers have more to play for at the moment, however Cincinnati has the ability to simply go out there and play loose and free. They are a team that is building for the future and simply has no pressure whatsoever on themselves. They have seemingly braced the role of playing spoiler to potential playoff teams, having already somewhat derailed the Miami Marlins, so we wouldn't be surprised if they continue to play with that type of confidence as they look to build momentum heading into the offseason. The Reds have all of the momentum and we believe they'll keep thing going and come away with yet another underdog victory in this contest.

#2: Take Baltimore Orioles (+105) on the ML against Houston Astros risking 3% to win 3.15%.
(Gallardo and Keuchel must start for wager to have action)

The Orioles have the best home record of any team in the league and have been in an extremely tight, three-way race for the AL East division over the past couple of weeks so it's been somewhat surprising that the O's have not only dropped two straight home games to the Houston Astros, but have been essentially dominated in those matchups. The O's have allowed Houston to score a total of 27 runs in the first two games of this series and are now in danger of being swept at home, a place where they are 40-21 on the season; we simply don't see that happening.

The oddsmakers continue to list the Houston Astros as the favorites anytime Dallas Keuchel takes the mound and we find that somewhat interesting. There is no question that the former CY Young winner has been Houston's 'Ace', however he simply does not have it this season. The oddsmakers continue to believe that he will revert back to last season's form and that simply has not happened. Keuchel has struggled mightily recently, especially on the road where his ERA is an ugly 5.85 through 13 contests. He served up 7 earned runs in his most recent road start against the Detroit Tigers and while this is not officially on record due to a postponement, he did serve up 5 earned runs in his previous road outing against the Minnesota Twins. He has simply turned into a hittable pitcher this season with more than 2/3 of his earned runs having come on the highway. With the Orioles desperately needing this win, we expect their bats to come alive in this contest and get to Keuchel early and often.

While Baltimore pitcher Yovanni Gallardo hasn't been great this season, he has given the O’s some solid innings. He's pitched well at home, going 2-0 with a 3.66 ERA through 6 contests in which Baltimore has won 5 of the 6 outings when he has taken the mound. Gallardo has also had quite a bit of success against the 'Stros in his career, going an impressive 13-4 with a 3.11 ERA in 21 career contests. Gallardo should be able to give his team some quality innings in this contest and we'll look for him to cool down the red-hot Houston bats.

Baltimore now finds themselves 2.5 games back of the division leading Toronto Blue Jays and they hold just a 1 game lead against the Seattle Mariners for the second Wild Card spot. Seattle has been playing extremely well and is in the midst of a winnable series with the lowly Milwaukee Brewers at the moment. The Orioles desperately need this game to hang on to their place in the standings and we don't believe they will allow themselves to get swept at home by losing this contest. Baltimore has dropped 4 of their last 5 games and after this afternoon's matchup, they have to gear up for what will likely be a very tough series against the Washington Nationals. The O's need this victory to give themselves a little bit of momentum and stop the bleeding, otherwise things could start to spiral out of control for this team.

Given the way that Houston has lit up the scoreboard in this series, it would be easy to back them with their 'Ace' on the mound and we expect that a majority of the public will do just that. With that being said, this has opened up value on a team who is not only an extremely strong home team, but will now be in desperation mode to avoid being swept. The value is on Baltimore in this contest and we believe they'll do what is needed to pick up the victory.

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