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July 22, 2016

There are 2 picks tonight.

1: Take Seattle Mariners (+159) on the ML against Toronto Blue Jays risking 3% to win 4.77%.
(Estrada and Paxton must start for wager to have action)

Marco Estrada is having an excellent season but he's unlikely to be at his sharpest tonight for a couple of different reasons. For one, this is his first start since July 2nd! There is a very good chance that he'll be rusty and not as accurate with his pitches as he normally is. The other issue is, despite his return from the D/L, the Jays have admitted that he's still battling 'back soreness' and isn't 100%. To not have him fully healthy against a powerful lefty-heavy lineup like Seattle's, presents the visitors with a chance to come away with a victory.

Estrada has been much better against right-handed hitters than left-handed ones. The problem for him is that the M's feature only 2 right-handed batters, 6 lefties and one switch-hitter who'll also be batting from the left side of the plate against him. The list of lefties includes the likes of Adam Lind, Kyle Seager and Robinson Cano, not to mention Leonys Martin who's having an excellent year! The righties are Nelson Cruz and catcher Mike Zunino who has previously had success against Estrada. This is a dangerous lineup for the 33-year old to navigate in what is his first start after 20 days off and a stint on the disabled list! And with all the pressure on him and the Blue Jays as big favorites, we believe the underdogs are capable of an upset here.

Both teams had the day off yesterday but it benefitted one much more than the other. Seattle's game against the White Sox on Wednesday had gone to extra innings, meaning the bullpen arms could really use a day of rest. As for Toronto, they flew from a West coast trip that had taken them to Oakland and then Arizona back East and it is no secret that first game back at home is often tricky as players will have been away from their families for some time and tend to get a bit side-tracked upon their return. The Blue Jays are a very good team but this isn't the easiest matchup or scheduling spot for them. It's the type that looks easy on surface but will be quite challenging.

James Paxton is a Canadian lefty who has an upper 90's fast-ball and can also be crafty with his curveball. As a Canuck, he'll have some support in the stands despite being a British Columbia native and it's worth remembering that Toronto has not fared well against left-handed starters. They have a losing record against southpaws and could find this matchup difficult. Another factor that makes Seattle a live underdog in this game is the fact that Toronto is currently dealing with injuries. They are playing Darwing Barney (normally a backup infielder) and Junior Lake in the outfield with Jose Bautista still out and his normal replacement, Ezequiel Carrera banged up as well. Michael Saunders who normally plays in the outfield is also hurt which is why he'll be the DH tonight instead of play defense. Finally at the catcher spot, Russell Martin is pn the bench with Josh Thole getting the start. Thole is very limited as a hitter and is R.A. Dickey's personal catcher, so it's a surprise to see him in the lineup.

The Mariners, however, have all of their main weapons at their disposal except starting short-stop Ketel Marte and have done very well over the last 3 years in this type of situation, (27-15) following a day of rest! They also have an excellent record on the road against right-handed starters. It wouldn't surprise us if Paxton out-dueled Estrada tonight but even if he doesn't, the Toronto bullpen is vulnerable and leaves a lot to be desired! Only closer Roberto Osuna has been a reliable reliever this season and for them to bridge the gap to the 9th inning could once again prove challenging. This should be a tightly contested game that either team can win but at these odds, clearly all the value is with the big underdogs as they are capable of causing an upset and cashing in high payoff tickets.

2: Take Cincinnati Reds (-115) on the ML against Arizona D-backs risking 3.45% to win 3%.
(Straily and Bradley must start for wager to have action)

The Arizona Diamondbacks may have the better overall record in this matchup with the Cincinnati Reds but they are in the midst of a violent tailspin. They are just 4-15 in their last 19 games and are struggling to score runners across homeplate.

Meanwhile, after a rocky start to the season, the Reds have started to come alive in the second half , managing to win 4 of their last 6 games. The pulled off a come from behind victory on Wednesday which saw them score 4 times in the sixth in and 2 in the seventh to erase a 2-0 deficit and hand the Atlanta Braves yet another loss. The Reds are the team with all of the momentum in this contest and we expect them to use that to their advantage tonight.

This is also a big time revenge situation for Cincinnati who has dropped 5 straight games at Great American Ballpark to the Snakes! There is no question that Bryan Price would like nothing more than gain a bit of revenge and protect their home stadium tonight and given the way that Arizona has been struggling, this could be the ideal situation to do so, especially with the likes of David Peralta, AJ Pollock, Chris Herrmann and Chris Owings still out of the Arizona lineup.

Dan Straily will take the mound for the Reds tonight and behind Anthony DeSclafani, he is the Reds best starter. He has been somewhat of a hard-luck pitcher as he has not recorded a decision in his last 6 appearances; however that has not necessarily been due to how he has pitched. In his first start after the All-Star break he was outstanding, shutting out the Brewers and he should be able to keep Arizona hitters guessing tonight given that they've never faced him before. If the Reds bullpen doesn't throw away the lead in the final innings, we believe they will get the monkey off their back and finally beat the lowly Snakes.

While both teams are having less than desirable seasons, the expectations were much higher in Arizona this year after a big spending off-season! That makes the disappointment of this 'lost season' that much tougher to deal with for the coaching staff and the players. The Cincinnati Reds were always going to be in rebuilding mode this year and because of that reason, they aren't as dejected given their overall standings. They are also largely veteran players who've been through it all before and know how to handle wins and losses in a professional manner unlike the Diamondbacks. At such a reasonable price, the value is on the home team tonight. 

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Reds are 6-2 in Straily's last 8 home starts.
  • Archie Bradley has a 1.53 WHIP in road starts!
  • Reds are 5-1 as a short home favorite this season!
  • Arizona is 10-18 when the total is set at 9 or 9.5 runs this season.

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