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July 8, 2016

There are two underdog picks tonight.

1: Take Kansas City Royals (+101) on the ML against Seattle Mariners risking 3% to win 3.03%.

The opener of this 4-game series was a heartbreaker for the slumping Mariners. After being swept in Houston to division rivals Astros, the M's were looking for better fortune elsewhere on the road trip but instead saw their losing streak reach 4 games after a late meltdown. James Paxton was cruising for 7 2/3 innings before the final out of the 8th inning proved real difficult to get. Having passed up on a chance to get a double-play by throwing to 1st base without any real pressure to do so, Scott Servais watched his team give the Royals an extra out that would come back to bite them. Because 2-out RBIs have been a killer and reared their ugly head again. Paulo Orlando stepped up to the plate with 2-outs and hit a 2-run double to give Kansas City life. Suddenly, a 3-0 shutout had turned into a 3-2 lead and in the 9th inning, the come-from-behind victory was sealed when Seattle closer Steve Cishek blew the save by giving up a 2-run double! In a game that the Mariners easily led from nearly start to finish, the final 4 outs proved probelmatic and sent them crashing down. For a team with a fragile mindset like Seattle, this was a tough loss to take and it wouldn't surprise us if they were a bit deflated and dejected tonight.

On the other hand, Salvador Perez and the Royals will be in an upbeat mood, having snapped their winless streak of 4 games with another impressive rally! Ned Yost's squad has had that kind of magic with frequency at Kauffman stadium over the past few years and this season has been no different. The Royals are 28-11 at home and know they need to continue piling up the W's to keep their post-season hopes alive. After all, the defending World Series champs are not in a playoff position at the moment and have their work cut out for them. They know there's no room for complacency given the competition they face in the division and for the Wild Card spots this season. We expect them to take full advantage of the momentum shift that took place at the end of last night's dramatic game and clinch another victory.

Seattle has lost 10 straight games on the road and is short on confidence right now! When a team doubts itself, bad things happen, including when they have the lead. It wouldn't surprise us if they threw away another lead especially since the bullpen has been shaky in recent weeks. Joaquin Benoit is having a poor season by his high standards while closer Steve Cishek has a handful of blown saves. Nick Vincent has perhaps been the only consistent reliever for the M's but even he hasn't been without his faults.

Look for Eric Hosmer and Kansas City to move a closer to a Wild Card spot, as they find themselves in a tight race with several other clubs. And as the defending champions, they believe they're not out of the division race either. If that's true, they're gonna have to prove it by going on a big winning streak as they currently find themselves 7 games behind the Cleveland Indians! We expect the M's to lose another game while the Royals continue their dominant ways at 'The K'.

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Royals are 13-4 at home when the total is set at 8 or 8.5 runs!
  • Royals are 74-37 at home over the last 3 seasons in the +125 to -125 range!
  • Mariners are 0-4 when playing against a team with a winning record in the second half of the season!

2: Take LA Angels (+115) on the ML against Baltimore Orioles risking 3% to win 3.45%.
(Shoemaker and Jimenez must both start for wager to have action)

This is a pitching mismatch tonight as LA Angels starter Matt Shoemaker squares off against Baltimore's Ubaldo Jimenez. Shoemaker should have a decisive advantage tonight and is 1-1 when starting against the O's with an ERA of 2.25 and a WHIP of 0.550! Shoemaker has been unfortunate this season as he has often pitched but has consistently been letdown by his offense and/or bullpen. With the Angels’ offense now having found its rhythm on the East coast, after winning their last 3 games against Tampa and exploding for a bunch of runs, we believe they can finally give him some run support.

Meanwhile, Jimenez is having one of the worst seasons of his career this year with only 4 of his 16 appearances on the mound being quality starts. He has shown his ability to implode and struggle with command. His 6.58 ERA on the season is poor but his 1.9 WHIP tells an even more accurate tale of how wild he has been, having allowed nearly 2 baserunners per inning! He has also struggled against the Halos in his career as he is 1-6 with a 4.93 lifetime ERA! This current group of Angels have a .394 on-base percentage against Jimenez in over 120 previous at-bats! Not only is he a pitcher they've seen plenty of over the years but one that they've hit very hard.

This is also a tough scheduling spot for Baltimore and their first game back at home after a lengthy West coast road trip that saw them have series in 3 different cities! It's well known that the very first game back at home is always the toughest on a team, especially if it requires extensive coast to coast travel. It's also important to note that Baltimore's final game of that road trip was a 14-inning one that used up their entire bullpen. Fatigue and jetlag could certainly play a factor in this contest tonight.

This matchup is a false favorite situation as even though Orioles are the better team, this particular pitching matchup and occasion, certainly favors the visitors. This could be a close game because of the Orioles' offense and bullpen but it's one that the Halos should win if they can hang onto the lead and at these odds, all the value is on the underdogs!

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