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May 6, 2016

There are two picks tonight.

1: Take Cincinnati Reds (-125) on the ML against Milwaukee Brewers risking 3.75% to win 3%.
(Adleman and Cravy must start for wager to have action)

The pitching staff of the Brew Crew has been terrible as of late and has allowed 16 runs in their last two games and four or more runs in 22 straight contests. They have a collective ERA of 5.58 and have lost nine of their last 13 games when allowing more than three runs. As if the Brewers needed any more issues with their starting pitching, they now find themselves in an even less desirable position tonight as Tyler Cravy will be getting a late replacement start in place of Wily Peralta.

Cravy has terrible numbers at the big league level, both in his starts as well as in relief appearances. He was 0-6 with a 5.91 ERA in seven starts last season with the Brewers and on top of that, this is his first start since he's been working out of the bullpen! He's only had one start at Triple-A level this season prior to being tabbed as today's 'emergency' starter! Given his late call to the mound, he will likely not be both as physically or mentally prepared as he should be and this will likely force Brewers Manager Craig Counsell's hand to limit the pitch count of his short-notice starter which will put a ton of pressure on an already shaky and fatigued Milwaukee bullpen. This whole situation could be a recipe for disaster for the Brew Crew tonight.

On the other, the Cincinnati Reds have enjoyed back to back quality starts by their starting rotation which has allowed their bullpen to get some much needed rest. That means their best arms are fresh and ready to be called upon when needed in this contest. Starting pitcher Tim Adleman will be making just his 2nd career big-league start and looked fairly impressive in his debut. He allowed just 2 runs and 3 hits on the road in Pittsburgh while also striking out 6. The Brewers offense is not nearly as dangerous as the Pirates and if he has a good a showing as his first start, he should be able to navigate through the lineup in the first few innings with limited damage.

Besides the edge in pitching, we believe the Reds have the stronger batting lineup in this contest as well. Milwaukee is still without Domingo Santana and Scooter Gennett and we now find out that every-day catcher, Jonathan Lucroy, is also getting the night off to rest. The Reds are a prideful team and we expect them to continue their momentum from yesterday's series opener of this 4-game set and create some separation in the standings! Failure to win this game would see Milwaukee overtake them, sending the Reds back to the 5th and final position in the NL Central and that's something that we simply believe will not happen. This is a small price to pay for a Reds team that should have an edge in nearly every part of the diamond tonight.

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Brewers have won only 3 of 11 on the road!
  • Reds are a perfect 4-0 as a small home favorite!
  • Reds are 5-1 in their last 6 vs. a team with a losing record!

2: Take Atlanta Hawks +3 spread (buy half a point) against Cleveland Cavaliers for 3% of bankroll.

It certainly hasn't been the start to the series that the Atlanta Hawks had hoped for as they find themselves down 0-2 in the series. Not only were the Hawks beaten in Game 2, they were completely dominated as the Cavaliers' players simply outplayed them in every facet of the game on Wednesday. They hustled more, they shot better and most importantly; they defended better. Cleveland shot 47 percent from the field, 56 percent from deep and dropped 123 total points in what should have been a good spot for the Atlanta Hawks to bounce back and even up the series.

With their most recent loss, the Hawks have now dropped 10 straight games to the Cavaliers. They have been beaten and beaten soundly by double digits in the first two contests. The way the first two results have played out, there is already talks of a potential sweep in the making. It was, of course, the Cavaliers who sent the Hawks packing last season, sweeping them in the process. The public perception is no doubt low on the Hawks at the moment; however that is where we see the value.

From a motivational standpoint, the Hawks should be the team that comes out of the gate firing in this contest. Not only are they are back at home, but they were just completely embarrassed on the defensive end. They have lost 10 straight to this team and are in danger of falling 0-3 in the series. It is a dire situation for Atlanta, but this is a team that has shown resiliency all season long. When their backs have been against the wall, they have risen up and delivered. They are not the type of team that is subject to cracking under the pressure and we believe that is going to show in this contest. They are the ones who need this victory more and will come out with a point to prove.

Meanwhile, as good as the Cavaliers played in the last contest and as impressive as it was, we don't expect a repeat performance tonight. They are no doubt an elite team who are capable of completely taking a game over, however we feel that they peaked with their Game 2 performance. They broke records, slapped each other on the back and no doubt celebrated going up 2-0 in the series and are likely already looking forward to playing in the Eastern Conference Finals. Their Game 2 performance and aftermath sets them up for what we believe will be a very big letdown.

The key to seven game series is all about the ability to make adjustments. We have seen teams get blown out in one game of the series, only to bounce back a few nights later and win the game outright. With the Cavaliers playing a near-perfect game in Game 2, there are really no adjustments that can be made on their part. If anything, the adjustments made would not be ones that would necessarily improve their performance for this meeting. Meanwhile, we expect Mike Budenholzer to have watched the tapes on the first two games of the series and come up with a much improved game plan for his players in tonight.

With their backs against the wall and desperately needing a victory, we expect the Hawks to put in a strong performance tonight and leave everything on the court. We fully expect them to win this game outright, in front of their home crowd in order to claw their way back into this series, but even if they fall short we expect this will be a closely contested matchup which could make the points extremely valuable. Atlanta is in a prime position to bounce back and we believe they will do just that in Game 3.

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