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July 20, 2016

There is one pick tonight.

Take Miami Marlins (-131) on the ML against Philadelphia Phillies risking 3.93% to win 3%.
(Chen and Hellickson must both start for wager to have action)

The Marlins went into the All-Star break by sweeping the Cincinnati Reds and haven't slowed down since. They came out of the gate after the 4-day break, winning a road series in St. Louis before opening the 4-game series in Philadelphia with two straight wins! Now they have the chance to clinch a series win with a 'W' tonight, regardless of what happens tomorrow in the finale of this 4-game set and we believe they are set to walk away with another victory.

The Fish have overtaken the Mets for the #2 spot in the NL East division and are also occupying one of the two Wild Card spots that could give them a rare post-season berth. They face stiff competition for those positions however and need to continue piling up wins to keep ahold of that. Given that they have a crucial series against direct rivals NY Mets coming up on Friday, it is imperative that they go into the weekend a game or two above the New Yorkers in the standings. This is a ballclub that is firing on all cylinders right now and has won 7 of its last 8 games! Don Mattingly has instilled a winning mentality in what is an ambitious squad.

The Phillies were always going to be in rebuilding mode this season after what was a disastrous 2015 and are unsurprisingly among National League bottomfeeders. Early in the season, this team won a lot of games by 1-run and that gave them a better position in the standings than they deserved. They're still in fact 20-11 in games decided by 1-run, which is abnormal and unlikely to improve. That is a figure that is due to regress and that may already have begun, given that they've lost each of the first two games of this series by a single run and in extra innings! Those defeats are the toughest to take as the team battled and gave it everything it had, and yet still fell short. We believe Philadelphia players will be the more frustrated bunch tonight and that won't bode well for their chances.

Miami, on the other hand, has learned that moving up in the standings has as much to do with winning games via blowouts as it does by the smallest margins. Now that they've finally put together consecutive narrow wins, their confidence will be high! Winning games in 'ugly' fashion, as some call it, is a pre-requisite for any successful team as it shows the players find a way to get the job done, even on days where they're not at their sharpest, or when certain things go against them. We believe this game won't be as close as the previous ones and the psychological edge and momentum that the Fish have, will see them secure an easier victory than the last two nights!

Wei-Yin Chen gets the ball for the Floridans tonight. The veteran southpaw has not performed as well as he's capable of and his MLB career averages will tell you that he's likely to fare better in the second half of the season, given that he's now fully accustomed to his new team, clubhouse and pitching in the National League. His career numbers are quite a bit better than this season's YTD numbers and that's despite pitching in the tougher American League with Baltimore Orioles, where he had to also face DH's (designated-hitters) instead of pitchers! We expect him to right the ship and be solid but not spectacular while Jeremy Hellickson could find it tough to be fully focused on the task at hand right now, since he's a prime trade candidate for the Phillies. At 29-years old and with his contract set to expire soon, he's rumored to be on the trading block with several clubs interested and Philadelphia willing to move him on for the right price. Hellickson is a decent pitcher but this could be his final appearance at Citizens Bank Park as a Phillie and we believe that is the type of 'distraction' that he doesn't need. Look for the hot swinging Miami bats to keep rolling against a hittable pitcher who may not be at his best tonight.

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Phillies are 5-12 after three or more consecutive losses.
  • Chen is 45-24 when the total is set at 8 or 8.5 runs in his lengthy MLB career!
  • Miami is a perfect 6-0 against teams with losing records in the second half of the season!

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