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June 26, 2016

There are two picks today.

1: Take Tampa Bay Rays (+122) on the ML against Baltimore Orioles risking 3% to win 3.66%.
(Smyly must start for wager to have action)

Tampa Bay is currently the coldest team in the Majors, having lost 10 straight games! To say they'll be motivated to stop the bleeding and snap this ugly skid would be an understatement. They'll give it their all against a team that might just be a bit complacent after winning the first 3 contests of this 4-game series, including a double-header yesterday. We believe the Rays will be in a foul mood this afternoon and will want to prove this is no laughing matter. They've been beat up recently and that won't sit well with some of the proud veterans in the clubhouse.

The Orioles are the better team but on this particular day, they are at a disadvantage. There are several reasons for that but the primary one is that they are going up against Drew Smyly, a pitcher that has dominated them. The left-handed starter has held this current group of O's to just 12 hits in 85 previous at-bats, equating to an abysmal .141 batting average! Adam Jones, Chris Davis and Jonathan Schoop in particular are 3 ever-present members of the lineup that don't see the ball well coming out of Smyly's hand. They have all been baffled by his pitch selection and are batting less than .167 against him! They aren't getting on base via 'walks' either. All in all, Baltimore has had difficulties against him and we believe he might just be the right man to salvage a game for the hungry Rays and play the role of 'stopper'.

Tyler Wilson has had its ups an downs this season and has been a feast or famine type pitcher. He's looked solid in certain starters and been hit hard in others. Going up against a Tampa lineup that has had its own inconsistencies but is actually 4th in the Majors in hitting the long ball, he may struggle. The Rays offense finally woke up last night in the second game of the double-header and scored 6 runs and while that wasn't enough to win the game, it gives the hitters some much needed confidence going into this game. Furthermore, Buck Showalter had used his best two relievers (Brad Brach and closer Zach Britton) on consecutive days and may elect to give them the day off, even if a save situation arises.

Losing streaks are bound to end at some point and for Tampa, there's no better time to snap it than today. They not only have the edge in the starting pitching matchup, but they want to avoid what would be en embarrassing 4-game sweep at the hands of a division opponent. And with Orioles suddenly having a comfortable lead atop the AL East division, don't be surprised if they temporarily slip up today. Mark Trumbo is likely to get a very rare start at 1st-base and that won't help Baltimore's defense. He normally occupies the DH spot or plays in the outfield. That gives the Tampa bullpen an edge over their opponents that they normally wouldn't have. All in all, the Rays are a live underdog in this contest and more than capable of winning this game. At these generous underdog odds, there's great value backing them.

2: Take Cincinnati Reds (-125) on the ML against San Diego Padres risking 3.75% to win 3%.
(DeSclafani and Perdomo must both start for wager to have action)

There is no question that the Cincinnati Reds are one of the worst teams in the league this season. Their 28-47 is the second worse in the NL, right behind the Atlanta Braves and their ability to go on lengthy losing streaks have certainly skewed perception and deterred the betting public from backing this team. That being said, when a team is arguably at their lowest point, which the Reds could certainly be, that is when the most value usually presents itself. The Reds will not lose every game for the remainder of the season and there is a ton of value to be had in picking the exact spots where the Reds are set up for success. This is one of those matchups where we feel that they are.

Despite their losing streak, this is a unique situation for the Reds as they are in danger of being swept at home in a 4-game series to another struggling club, the San Diego Padres! As bad as the Reds have been, we don't believe that they will allow themselves to be embarrassed like that at home. It's hard for any team in baseball to win three in a row against the same opponent and even more so to sweep a 4-game series. This is Cincy's last chance to show some pride and determination in front of their loyal faithful and we believe they will do just that as they have come up big in such situations in the past.

This fourth game is also likely the Reds best chance at pulling off the victory. The Padres are likely over-confident having won the first 3 meetings and could come into this finale just a bit apathetic and uninterested. Matt Kemp will also be getting the day off to rest this afternoon which will surely affect the Friars' power in their lineup. Alexi Amarista who normally plays in the infield will be making a spot start in left field this afternoon which could affect plays in both the infield and outfield this afternoon, possibly causing errors.

The Reds should also have the edge on the mound this afternoon as Anthony DeScalafini will take the mound opposite a struggling Luis Perdomo. DeScalafini had spent some time in the DL in the first half of the season, but made his seasonal debut earlier this month and has been a welcomed addition back to the rotation, going 1-0 with a respectable 2.30 ERA over his last 3 starts. Meanwhile, Perdomo has struggled this season and is extremely close to losing his spot in the rotation. In 17.3 innings of work this season, he has given up 25 hits and 17 earned runs, along with 4 homers to account for an unimpressive 8.83 ERA. As if those statistics weren't bad enough, Perdomo has struggled even more on the road where his ERA balloons up to a staggering 10.29!

The Reds certainly have numerous advantages in this particular contest and if there was one game in the series that they should win; it should be this one. Guys like Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Adam Duvall should be licking their chops heading into this contest and should be poised to do some damage against Perdomo. Behind arguably their best pitcher, look for Cincinnati to stop the bleeding for the time being and avoid being swept at home by picking up a the with this afternoon.

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