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September 30, 2016

There are 2 picks tonight. Please scroll down for details.

In addition, three NCAA football selections have been posted a day in advance, for Saturday!
 

1: Take San Francisco Giants (-125) on the ML against LA Dodgers risking 3.75% to win 3%.
(Bumgarner and Hill must start for wager to have action)

The MLB regular season is 162 games but if there was 'one' game that would decide the fate of a team, it is this one for the hosts! That's because the Giants are only one game ahead of the Cardinals in that final Wild Card spot. The fact that St. Louis got a controversial walk-off 'W' last night has mounted extra pressure on Bruce Bochy's side and makes this a must-win game!

When you consider that San Francisco is set to go up against Clayton Kershaw and Kenta Maeda in the next two days in what is their final two games of the regular season, the importance of a victory tonight becomes even more apparent. The Giants had Johnny Cueto go for them last night and won't have his reliable services available unless they head to the post-season. Luckily for them, they have their perennial ace, Madison Bumgarner on the mound tonight. Nonetheless, with question marks surrounding over who'll even pitch for them in the next 2 days against Kershaw and Maeda, it's fair to say this matchup tonight, is their best chance for a victory. The passionate crowd at AT&T Park will be fully behind their team in their quest to keep Mike Matheny's Cardinals in the rearview. However, that won't be easy given that St. Louis hosts the eliminated Pirates at home, in a matchup that they are set as heavy favorites. The Giants know that they have to win this game to realistically have a chance at the playoffs and we believe they'll do so.

Rich Hill is having a great season but he's still not at the same level as a bonafide ace like Bumgarner. Pitching in a game like this has a lot of added pressure and certain personality types are better able to handle it than others. 'Mad-Bum' as he's known by some has already pitched in huge games like the World Series and has thrived in such situations. He relishes the responsibility of putting his team on his shoulders and has the opportunithy to do so again, in what is an absolutely critical contest tonight. It should also be mentioned that he's mostly kept the Dodgers at bay throughout his career, holding them to just a .230 batting average! He's not one to issue many 'walks' either and has limited them to a .272 on-base percentage. He recently got the better of LA again, on September 19th, when he pitched 7 scoreless innings against them! Unfortunately for him and the club, the bullpen threw away the lead in that game as San Francisco went on to lose a heart-breaker. He and the relievers haven't forgotten that and will want to be at their best tonight.

Rich Hill deserves credit for having rejuvenated his career this year but he last pitched on September 20th and could be rusty tonight. Starting pitchers are used to 4 days of rest and pitching on the 5th day. Sometimes even the smallest changes to their routine and schedule can throw off their rhythm and sharpness. The fact that Hill hasn't been on the mound in a competitive game for 10 days means we don't expect to see him at his best tonight. It'd surprise us if he lasted more than 5 or 6 innings. A poor performance and a relatively short outing is a definite possibility here, especially considering he's been dealing with some troublesome blisters. Whether they get to the veteran lefty or the relievers that follow, expect the SF offense to find a way to win this game. This is a game that means much more to the hosts than the visitors.

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Giants have won 5 of 7 against the Dodgers at AT&T Park this season.
  • Dodgers have won only one of 11 games as a small road underdog this season!
  • Giants are 10-3 as a small home favorite in the -100 to -125 range this season!
     

2: Take Toledo +4 spread (buy half a point) against BYU for 3% of the bankroll.

Tonight’s matchup between the BYU Cougars and Toledo Rockets is seemingly a battle of teams heading in opposite directions. There is no question that the Cougars are the more well-known and 'bigger' team in this matchup and the fact that they are 4-0 ATS to start the season is just another caveat to focal point that is likely to sway the average sports bettor. It's important to note that even though BYU has been perfect for their backers ATS this season, they have been the underdogs in all 4 matchups! This will be the first time this season that they have been listed as the favorites and that often comes with a lot of pressure.

The Cougars have had issues on the offensive side of the ball all season long. Taysom Hill is not the dynamic playmaker that he was years ago and it is starting to show. He is not a very proficient passer as he has completed just over 50% of his passing attempts on the season. The offense has also had issues holding onto the football, as they have already had 8 turnovers in just 4 games this season! It is one thing to fall behind on the scoreboard as BYU has done in almost every matchup this season and managed to rally late in order to keep games close on the scoreboard, however the Cougars were thoroughly outplayed in all but one of their games this season. Now listed as the favorites, if BYU doesn't start strong out of the gate and falls behind early on the scoreboard, it will be difficult for them to not only rally from behind to win the game, but that makes covering the spread extremely difficult especially considering that the Rockets are currently 3rd in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 10 points per game.

Toledo may not be a household name for the average fan of college football, but this is a quality program and capable of hanging with nearly any team in a Power 5 conference. Anytime a 'smaller' school is matchup up with a more well-known program, the motivation factor intensifies as the smaller school typically comes into the contest with a point to prove. Given the fact that the Rockets had a week off to prepare for this contest; we fully expect them to be ready when they step on the field. While the Cougars defense has been physical to start the season, the Toledo offense will certainly test them tonight. The Rockets are 15th in the FBS in passing offense averaging 333.7 yards through the air and 28th in rushing with 230 yards per game. The offense is putting up 42.7 points a game, which is also tied for 19th in the country. The O-line has yet to allow a sack and their D-line has only allowed a single touchdown and already has 31 tackles for a loss this season!

What we really like about this Toledo team is that they are team that plays very fundamentally sound football, both on offense and defense. This is not a team that makes a lot of mistakes and beats themselves. We have seen BYU play some sloppy football already this season, despite their 4-0 ATS record and even though they have shown their ability to keep games close in the later stages, things become a whole lot different when teams are listed as the favorite. Toledo has shown their ability to not only hang with but also defeat larger programs (Arkansas last year). This will likely be a close game and BYU has yet to prove they can win these types of matchups. The Cougars have the advantage with this game being played in Provo, however Toledo is no stranger to winning high profile games on the road and we expect them to pull off the mild upset in this one. BYU will be fortunate to come away with a win in this contest and if they do, it likely will be by the narrowest of margins with the points likely coming into play. 




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