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October 10, 2016

There is one pick tonight.

Take San Francisco Giants (-130) on the ML against Chicago Cubs risking 3.9% to win 3%.
(Bumgarner must start for wager to have action)

Madison Bumgarner will take the hill for the Giants tonight and gives them their best chance of getting a 'W'. The 27-year old southpaw has already made postseason history with some outstanding performances and will look to keep it rolling. Going back to Game 2 of the 2012 World Series, he's 5-1 with a miniscule 0.79 ERA in just under 60 innings! To say he's been dominant in the playoffs would be an understatement. He's a pitcher that likes putting his team on his shoulders and has been excellent in these situations, especially when playing 'stopper', in elimination games. His Wednesday shutout of the Mets in the NL Wild Card game was already the 6th time that he's kept opponents scoreless in his post-season career! We don't expect him to throw a shutout or a complete game tonight but we do believe he's the man for the big occasions and will deliver another clutch quality start to give his team a great chance for victory.

Jake Arrieta is an incredible pitcher in his own right but his playoffs CV is much shorter and less impressive than the San Francisco lefty. What might really hurt him in this contest however is the fact that he last pitched on September 28th! That is nearly a two-week layoff for a pitcher who normally gets the ball every fifth day! It wouldn't surprise us if he was rusty tonight and didn't possess his usual command. Bruce Bochy's bats are good at working the count and staying patient. If that's the case, they may earn a few walks, especially in the first few innings as Arrieta tries to regain his form. It's also worth noting that the former Oriole has been nothing special for a few months now. He owns a 4.44 ERA over his past 16 starts, dating back to late June and got roughed up by the Pirates in his last outing, giving up 7 runs! His second half of the season has been mediocre at best and that combined with the likely 'rust' factor will make him more hittable than Bumgarner tonight.

The San Francisco Giants haven't lost a playoff series in over a decade! When they head to the post-season, which has happened on an almost every other year basis, they are all business. Their last series loss in the post-season came in the 2003 ALDS to the Miami Marlins. This is a tenacious and resilient squad that has come up big in clutch situations and could do so again. The likes of Buster Posey and Hunter Pence for example have not had their typical strong season but they are still veteran pros that know how to perform on the big stage.

Don't be surprised if SF bats come alive and stave off elimination. After all, this is a team that has won 9 games in a row over the last few years when facing elimination! They refuse to lay down and while we believe the Cubs will likely get the better of them ultimately in this series, we don't see it happening tonight. This is an absolute must-win game for the Giants and behind the arm of their 'Ace', Madison Bumgarner and playing in the friendly confines of AT&T Park, we expect them to force a 'Game 4' where John Lackey and Matt Moore will battle. Bruce Bochy is a mastermind at managing his bullpen and motivating his clubhouse in matchups like this and we believe he'll pull the right strings to live to fight another day. The Cubs are in a good position, even if they lose this game, and that often gives a team a false sense of security. There is no real 'urgency' for them to win this game and that gives the desperate hosts an edge. 

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