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July 28, 2016

There are 2 picks tonight.

#1: Take Baltimore Orioles (+102) on the ML against Minnesota Twins risking 3% to win 3.06%.

This is an interesting matchup as it is not the start of a series, but is a 1 game makeup that was supposed to be played back on May 9th. The Minnesota Twins had made some strides last week coming away with series wins against both Detroit and Boston; however that momentum was halted as they threw up an absolute dud in their series with the league worst, Atlanta Braves, losing the final two games of the series. Minnesota currently has the worst record in the American League at 37-63.

The Baltimore Orioles come into this game struggling just a bit having dropped two straight to the Colorado Rockies. Despite their recent stumble, they still remain in 1st place in the competitive AL East and will no doubt be motivated to pick up the victory with both the Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox breathing down their necks.

There is no question that Ubaldo Jimenez has been a liability for the O's this season. He has been nothing short of awful on the mound, consistently giving up multiple runs per game. That being said, the O's did almost part ways with the former Rockie in a deal to potentially acquire Melvin Upton; however that deal did not come to fruition. It will be interesting to see how Jimenez responds to the potential trade as it could potentially provide motivation to the right hander knowing that he could lose his job at a moment's notice unless his performance starts to pick up. Even though he has struggled this year, he has had tremendous success against the Twins in his career as he is 5-3 with a very respectable 2.11 ERA in 9 starts. In his most recent start against Minnesota, he went 7 strong innings giving up a single earned run while striking out 9 and wouldn't be surprised to see a similar performance tonight.

Kyle Gibson will get the start for the Twins and while Gibson pitched well in his last start against the Boston Red Sox, he had struggled in his previous two starts, giving up 8 earned run and 17 hits in his previous 11 innings. Gibson also struggled the last time he faced off against the Orioles, lasting just 5 innings while surrendering 7 hits, 4 earned runs and 5 walks! While we don't expect him to have another showing like that tonight, we wouldn't be surprised if he did have issues with what should be a motivated offense.

Baltimore is hands down the better overall team in this contest. If Jimenez can limit the damage and contain the Twins offense to 2 or 3 runs, the Baltimore offense should do enough damage against Gibson to come away with the win in what is a one game series.

#2: Take Philadephia Phillies (-121) on the ML against Atlanta Braves risking 3.63% to win 3%.
(Nola and Wisler must start for wager to have action)

The Phillies have had somewhat of a rough go the last two games, having been outscored 16-1 in the finale two games of their series with the Miami Marlins. Lack of offense has been a serious issue for Philadelphia this season, but we expect their fortunes to change as they enter Game 1 of a series with the struggling Atlanta Braves.

If there is one team in the league who has struggled more on offense than the Phillies, it's the Braves. Atlanta enters this game ranked 30th in the league in scoring averaging just 3.37 runs per game. They also rank 29th in hitting with a combined .237 average and are 30th in homers with just 62 on the season. As bad as those statistics seem, they get even worse as they have hit just .234 overall at home, including .225 vs right handed pitchers. As inconsistent as the Phillies offense has been, we believe they should hold the edge offensively tonight as they have scored an average of 4.16 runs on the highway this season.

The Atlanta braves have been one of the few teams in the league who have really struggled at home this season. They are just 14-36 at Turner Field and a big reason for their struggles has been their pitching.  At home Atlanta starters have an ERA of 4.12, while their pen has a combined ERA of 4.57. Tonight the Braves will send out Matt Wisler who has gone 4-10 with a 4.92 ERA in 20 games (19 starts) this year. He has certainly struggled recently having gone just 1-2 with a 9.98 ERA in his last three starts. At Turner Field this season, Wisler is just 1-6 with a 4.33 ERA in 11 starts. He also hasn't had much success against the Phillies having gone 1-2 with a 5.12 ERA in three career starts. The Braves are just 8-21 in Wisler's last 29 starts.

The Phillies will counter as they send Aaron Nola to the mound tonight. Nola started the season off well, but has been struggling over the past few weeks. Nola is now 6-4 with a 4.38 ERA in 17 career starts on the road however he has been phenomenal against the Braves having gone 2-1 with a 1.73 ERA in four career starts, including sporting an impressive 1.29 ERA in one start at Turner Field. While neither team has been playing well recently, the Phillies should have an edge both on the mound and at the plate. That being said, there is certainly value backing them at this price, even on the road.

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