July 7, 2018
There are two picks today.
#1: Take Cincinnati Reds (+137) on the ML against Chicago Cubs risking 3% to win 4.11%
(Harvey and Chatwood must start for wager to have action.)
After starting the season off poorly, the Cincinnati Reds have really turned things around in the middle part of the season having won 17 of their last 23 games, including the series opener last night against Chicago, winning that contest 3-2. With that victory the Reds have now won 5 straight against the Cubs and believe they will have a great opportunity to extend their winning streak in this matchup.
Over his last few outings, Matt Harvey has been showing signs of regaining the form he showed early in his career. He comes into this contest off three straight wins, including a dominating performance against the first place Milwaukee Brewers in his most recent start. During that span, Harvey has given up just 3 earned runs in his last 18 innings of work and has really shown an immense amount of control on his pitches, as evidenced by his 14-to-2 K:BB ratio. He has had success against the Cubs in his career, going 3-1 with a 3.82 ERA over 6 career starts.
Harvey should have the advantage on the mound this afternoon as Chicago will send Tyler Chatwood to the mound. Chatwood endured a rocky outing in his first start since coming off the paternity list, as he allowed seven runs over five innings in a no-decision against Minnesota. Control has been an issue for Chatwood all season long as he has issued a major league high 66 free passes in 73 1/3 frames. Given the way that Cincinnati has been seeing the ball recently, too many free passes could spell disaster for Chatwood. It's also certainly worth mentioning that he has struggled against the Reds in his career, going 0-4 with a 4.18 ERA and WHIP of 1.901 in five career starts against Cincinnati.
This is a much more even matchup than the oddsmakers are suggesting and that places the value firmly of the Reds as underdogs. We expect Chatwood to make more mistakes than Harvey on the mound and that should lead to a solid win by the Reds.
#2: Take Oakland Athletics (+230) on the ML against Cleveland Indians risking 3% to win 6.90%
(Jackson and Kluber must start for wager to have action.)
The Oakland Athletics are a team that we still don't believe is getting the respect that they deserve from the oddsmakers and that is especially true in this matchup. The perception of this Oakland team is poor, simply by comparison to the other teams in their division. Seattle and Houston are two of the top teams in the league, and Oakland is 10 games back within their division, but are currently 8 games above .500. They have nearly an identical record to the Cleveland Indians, yet are wildly overlooked in this matchup, which is where we believe the value comes into play.
Corey Kluber is the unquestioned Ace of the Indians once again this season and is always an odds-on favorite against nearly any team he steps on the mound against. That being said, Kluber has shown signs of struggle in his last few starts and has been much more hittable and we have been accustomed to seeing. Over his last 3 starts, his ERA is 5.52. That could work towards Oakland's advantage in this contest as they are a team that has shown their ability to take advantage of mistakes and string hits (and runs) together. Kluber also hasn't had a ton of success against this lineup, going just 2-4 in 7 career appearances. If Kluber is off this afternoon, expect the A's to make him pay.
Oakland will be sending Edwin Jackson to the mound who we believe is being overlooked in this matchup as well, simply due to his opposition. Jackson has bounced around the league quite a bit but has been stellar since being called up by the A's. He settled for a no-decision despite tossing six innings of one-run ball in his debut but followed that up by earning the win last time out, limiting this same Indian's team to two runs over 6 2/3 innings. Jackson has dominated the Indians in his career as well, going an impressive 10-1 with a 2.80 ERA in 14 career starts! Those numbers alone should indicate how much value is currently present.
Even if Kluber does produce a quality showing this afternoon, the Cleveland bullpen has been shaky at best this season. If Oakland can keep this game close throughout and get into the bullpen, they should have an opportunity to do damage late in the game and potentially steal a victory. Even if they happen to fall short, the reward far outweighs the risk in this matchup.
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