September 4, 2016
There are two picks today.
#1: Take Pittsburgh Pirates (-143) on the ML against Milwaukee Brewers risking 4.29% to win 3%.
(Brault and Anderson must start for wager to have action)
This is a game that the hosts need a lot more than the visitors! Pittsburgh is still hopeful of clinching a Wild Card spot, something that they've done over the last few years and find themselves only 2.5 games behind. Despite dropping 5 in a row, they are still very much alive in the NL Wild Card chase then while the season is all but over for Milwaukee. The Brew Crew is simply going through the motions right now and management is also experimenting with different lineups and giving prospects playing time. Quite simply put, the Bucs are in 'win mon' right now while the Brewers are planning for the future. From a motivational standpoint, the Pirates have a big edge in this contest and will be determined to bounce back and avoid a humiliating home sweep at the hands of their lowly division rivals!
Pittsburgh will not only be hungrier for the 'W', they have more talent in their side. With one of MLB's leading base-stealers, Jonathan Villar banged up and unlikely to feature, Milwaukee aren't putting out their strongest team. Their best bat, Ryan Braun, is also likely to get the day off! Clint Hurdle is bringing his best outfield in the impressive trip of Startlin Marte, Andrew McCutchen and Gregory Polanco to the table however and will do whatever is necessary to get a much-needed win. Given that the Pirates have lost 5 in a row, inclduing the first two games of this series, we believe they are undervalued here and the odds should be closer to -165! This is a reduced price on a good team against a pitcher whom they've had great success against in the past.
Chase Anderson is having a poor season with only 5 of his 25 starts being tabbed 'quality' ones! His ERA is nearly 5 and he's been hit hard by many of these Pirates in the past. David Freese, who is unlikely to be in the lineup is the only member of Pittsburgh that is hitless in 10 at-bats against Anderson. The rest have seen the ball well coming out of his hands and could trouble him further this afternoon. As a whole, the Bucs have an outstanding .341 batting average against the veteran pitcher and an on-base percentage of .407! And when they have made contact, they've often gone for extra bases with their slugging percentage sitting at .611!
Steven Brault gets the ball for the home side and while not overpowering, he is a crafty left-handed pitcher. He was solid in a previous start against the Brewers back in July and will take confidence from that, as a young pitcher that's trying to cement his position in the big leagues. Milwaukee hasn't had an easy time against southpaws this season and without two of their best bats, Villar and Braun, we believe they'll struggle again. Look for the home side to snap their 5-game losing streak and remain in the Wild Card hunt, with Cardinals coming to town tomorrow!
#2: Take Texas +3.5 spread against Notre Dame for 3% of the bankroll.
Entering his third year at the helm, this is a make or break season for Charlie Strong. He took over the head coaching job after turning the Louisville Cardinals into BCS Bowl contenders and with Mack Brown finally stepping down, Strong was expected to bring the Texas program back to prominence. That hasn't happened and Strong has actually fallen severely short of expectations having gone 11-14 over the past 2 seasons. Strong's job is no doubt in jeopardy this season and we believe he knows it. He needs his team to perform and we believe they will do just that. Texas is very underrated this season, but after the first few weeks, we believe people will be surprised by what they see.
The Longhorns will be experimenting with a new, quick-strike offense as Strong has brought in former Tulsa Golden Hurricane OC, Sterling Gilbert. Gilbert is known for an up-tempo offense that resembles that of the Baylor Bears and will look to add something different to the Texas offense. This is also beneficial as Texas will be looking to break in a couple of different QBs this season in Tyron Swoopes and Shane Buechele and the up temp style offense will allow the QBs to get the ball out of their hands early to negate the pressure of a pass rush. While there may be some growing pains and kinks early, there is a lot of upside to this Texas offense.
This is also (arguably) the best O-line the Longhorns have seen in the Charlie Strong Era and with the size they have up font, it should set up nicely against the Irish. Running backs, D’Onta Foreman and Chris Warren III should be able to get the team in good enough positions to take the heat off the QB on third downs and not only that, keep drives alive and make this a four quarter game, unlike last season.
The Longhorns will not only be playing with the motivation of helping their head coach to keep his job, but will also be playing with revenge in mind. These two teams met just a season ago with the Irish coming away with a 35-point victory. The Longhorns were embarrassed in that game and you can expect that they will be looking for revenge in this contest. With this game now being played in their home stadium, we expect that they will do everything that they can to defend their home field.
Notre Dame is always a team that everyone seems to be extremely high on, especially the media. They are ranked extremely high in the AP polls and we believe that it is fairly unjustified. The Irish lost a ton of talent in the offseason including possibly their most dangerous weapon in WR will Fuller. While they do have stability at the QB position with Kizer and Zaire, with there being a lot of new pieces on offense, it could take the Irish some time to gel and be able to move the ball on what should be a much improved Texas defense.
This has all of the makings of a close game and we believe with the motivational edge, that Texas will be looking to come out and punch the Irish right in the mouth from the onset. If both Buechele and Swoopes can limit the turnovers and avoid costly mistakes, we feel that the Longhorns will come out of this game with a win. Even if the Longhorns don't pull off the outright win, we believe they will keep the game close enough to where the points will come into play.
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