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September 15, 2016

Three big underdogs present value on the MLB diamond tonight! Please scroll down for full details.

In addition, 3 college football selections were released earlier this week for Saturday.

Take LA Angels (+155) on the ML against Toronto Blue Jays risking 3% to win 4.65%.
(Happ must start for Toronto for wager to have action)

The Toronto bullpen has been their achilles heel over the last couple of years and that has led to them not faring well in close games that are decided by 1 or 2 runs or in extra innings. Their run differential indicates they are a top level team but their record does not. That's because all too often, relievers have come in and thrown away leads with the only real reliable arm being young closer Roberto Osuna. The fact that they once again needed 6 different pitchers to record the 27 outs leaves them vulnerable in the next game (this one), especially considering they flew from Toronto to Los Angeles, coast to coast and across the border! Jetlag is a factor and some Blue Jays may be a bit disoriented.

JA Happ may well have a quality start tonight but that doesn't guarantee the birds a victory. Having said that, we don't believe the veteran southpaw will be at his best. Kole Calhoun, Mike Trout and Albert Pujols all have solid career numbers against him in the past and follow each other in the batting order! Navigating that portion of the lineup is a tough task for any pitcher and Happ is no different. The fact that he's been around the Majors for awhile gives him composure and confidence to get out of jams but it also means opposing hitters have seen him in action before and generally nkow what to expect. The scouting report on him is pretty extensive and there's also no substitute for previous at-bats against a pitcher.

Daniel Wright, meanwhile, is still an unknown commodity and brings with him a certain level of unfamiliarity for opposing hitters. It may take the Toronto lineup a couple of orders through to get used to his pitching style and by then, it may be too late. While Wright doesn't have great stuff, he does have a couple of things going for him. One is the unfamiliarity factor which often helps the pitcher more than the batters and the second is the fact that he'll lack no motivation. He's auditioning for a spot in the rotation next season and will no doubt want to impress Mike Scioscia. The young hurler is looking for his first Major League win and it wouldn't surprise us if Trout and company found a way to get him a 'W' tonight!

The Blue Jays are stuttering at the worst time in the season, having lost a series to direct rivals Boston Red Sox before also losing 2 out of 3 to the lowly Tampa Bay Rays, in Toronto! In what is the tighest division in baseball, those defeats have been costly. The absence of reigning MVP, Josh Donaldson has been sorely felt and with him out of the lineup, John Gibbons hasn't had one of his biggest bats. Donaldson is also a great two-way player, meaning he's excellent with the glove, a fact that is sometimes overlooked. Rumor has it that he'll be DHing tonight, which means he'll still be missing on the defensive side of the ball. Having missed the last 3 games, we don't expect to see him at 100% even if he does play.

The Halos are coming off an embarrassing sweep at the hands of the Seattle Mariners and will be keen to bounce back. They won't want to let their crowd down even more and with them having stayed home while the Blue Jays had to fly across the continent, it gives them a big edge tonight. If Albert Pujols can avoid hitting into double-plays, we believe they are the more likely team to win this game. The odds indicate this is a mismatch but that's not true. Toronto is the better team but in this particular situation, certain intangibles favor the home side there's great value in backing them at such a generous price.

Take Arizona Diamondbacks (+179) on the ML against LA Dodgers risking 3% to win 5.37%.
(Hill must start for LA for wager to have action)

The odds indicate this is a complete mismatch but we disagree. The Dodgers had to fly across the country from NY to go up against a division team that has been tearing the cover off the ball! The Diamondbacks are a streaky team and after losing 6 in a row, they've suddenly taken the last 3 thanks to excellent hitting. They actually boast one of the best offenses in the league with a 4.7 run average! They also have 123 stolen bags on the year which ranks second in the Majors! Crossing home plate therefore has usually not been a problem for this side and while Rich Hill has been dominant as a Dodger so far this season, we do expect them to get to him tonight.

Arizona batters are seeing the ball extremely well at the moment and scored in double-digits (12, 11 and 11 runs) in each of the games on their way to an impressive 3-game sweep of the Rockies! While we don't expect them to light up the fireworks again to that extent tonight, we do believe they will pose problems for Rich Hill and LA relievers. Keep in mind that Brian Roberts had to use 5 different pitchers to get through yesterday's game against the Yankees as Clayton Kershaw lasted only 5 innings! This is a bullpen that has been used far too often recently and there are some tired arms among them. Even if Rich Hill records a quality start, it wouldn't surprise us if the Snakes got to the Dodger 'pen.

Archie Bradley is not a bad pitcher. He was a highly touted prospect a few years ago and while he's failed to live up to the hype, he's starting to grow more comfortable with his status as a major league starter. He has a lot to prove given that he's essentially auditioninng for a spot in the rotation next season and that makes him very motivated. He has good career numbers against the Dodgers with a 3.06 ERA and a 2-1 team start record! We believe he and the Diamondbacks have been disrespected by being installed as a huge underdog at home and will be looking for payback against a team that has beaten them 4 times in a row. They also had revenge in mind against Colorado and while they won't be making the playoffs, beating up a division giant is always enticing. This should be a closely contested game that could go either way and with Chip Hale stacking the lineup full of righties to go up against the southpaw Rich Hill, they may just edge it.

Take Milwaukee Brewers (+188) on the ML against Chicago Cubs risking 3% to win 5.64%.
(Montgomery must start for Chicago for wager to have action)

There is no question that the Chicago Cubs are one of the top teams in the league and are an eventual shoe-in to make the playoffs with their magic number being down to 1. Chicago needs one more victory to ensure they clinch the division and while many believe that it should come easy against a team like the Milwaukee Brewers; we are not completely convinced. This is a tougher game for them than it looks at first glance.

All of the pressure is on the Chicago Cubs at the moment to clinch the division. They are the ones that need to perform in order to punch their tickets and because of that pressure; it often comes with mistakes. Baseball is all about individual matchups and situations and we have seen a number of times this season where 'lesser' teams have risen to the occasion in order to play the role of spoiler against the 'better' team and we believe this is one of those situations. The Cubs will likely be somewhat apprehensive while the Brewers will play loose and free. It's also worth noting that this is a let-down spot for the Cubbies given their shutout of the Cardinals in St. Louis yesterday. The Cubs, despite their outstanding overall season actually have a losing record in this type of situation in recent years, in the sense that they are just 50-59 at home after pitching a shutout.

For as poor of a season as Milwaukee has had, they have shown flashes of brilliance at various points this year. They do have power in their lineup that has been on display, however consistency and pitching have been a major downfall. Jimmy Nelson started off the season sensational and was arguably the Brew Crew's most reliable pitcher. Hard times have fallen on the right hander as he has struggled in the second half but has shown an ability to come up big on a moment’s notice. This will also be Nelson's chance at redemption in this contest as he has struggled mightily against the Cubs in his career losing all 3 starts this season, despite pitching rather well in two of the three.

Mike Montgomery, will be pitching in the biggest game of his career in this contest as his team is overwhelming favorites to clinch a playoff berth. It is unknown whether he can rise to the occasion and in fact, we believe he will struggle. He had a successful outing against the Brewers on September 7th, however we don't expect him to have a repeat performance tonight. That was the first time the Brewers' lineup had a chance to see Montgomery and with that outing being just a week ago, we expect Milwaukee to be much more prepared and ready for his delivery. Having a couple of extra days of rest between starts also might not be the best thing for Montgomery and we wouldn’t be surprised if he came to the mound and was just a little bit rusty in the few first innings. While the Cubs will soon clinch the division, we believe the Brewers will cause what many including public money considers a big upset tonight. Keep in mind that they are 28-16 against left-handed starters this season! At these attractive odds, Craig Counsell's side show great value.

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