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Giants vs. Reds Pick MLB – July 1st

The Yankees and Orioles stayed well under the total last night, with the O’s completing the series sweep and a 4-2 win.  Chris Davis and Manny Machado both went yard, and the Yankees offense continued to sputter.  They are now in 4th place, just two games ahead of the Blue Jays and 6 ½ back of Boston, and with the A-Rod fiasco, Jeter still hurt and Texieria out for the season, it is looking like a realistic scenario that the Yanks will miss the playoffs for just the second time in twenty years…

Meanwhile, it was a good weekend for me personally, capping off a 4-1 ATS weekend, most of the wins coming via over/under selections.  That made it a pretty profitable three days with no easy “fat” on heavy favorites (which can greatly influence a baseball betting record – wins don’t always equal big profits).

Tonight’s pick is also a run total, so let’s look at ESPN’S featured Monday Night Baseball matchup.

San Francisco Giants at Cincinnati Reds (Total: 9)

Michael Kickham (0-2, 10.47 ERA) vs. Bronson Arroyo (6-6, 3.61 ERA)

Last time these two teams met in Cincinnati, the Giants capped off an improbably three wins in three days to come back from an 0-2 deficit and advance to the NLCS.  They were dead and buried… and we all know how last year’s story ended for the Giants… They meet again tonight for the first time since that epic comeback (or collapse, depending upon your perspective, I suppose), and the Giants are indeed of a little resurrection this season as well.  Their entire pitching staff is struggling; Barry Zito, Tim Lincecum, and even Matt Cain all have ERA’s over four, and they’ve been forced to turn to youngster Michael Kickham tonight, who has had his own struggles in the majors so far.

It’s been a disappointing first half of the season for the defending champs, but don’t be surprised if their pitching comes around and gets them back into the thick of the wacky NL West.  For the Reds, it’s a different story.  They also find themselves six and a half games out of first place, but it is through little fault of their own.  They have their second best record through 81 games in the last twenty years, and have the fourth best record in the National League, it is just the Cardinals, and now the Pirates, have played phenomenal baseball.  They will try to erase the taste of a tough 2-6 West Coast road trip with Bronson Arroyo on the mound tonight.

Arroyo got rocked in his last outing.  The crafty veteran is usually good for two or three absolute bombs a season, which always drags his ERA near four, but in terms of bankable reliability (frequency of a “quality start”), he has been one of the better NL hurlers over the last eight season.  I like him to bounce back tonight and give the Reds what they need.

I also find it hard to believe that Kickham will continue to get absolutely hammered around the yard.  This is his first time facing Cincinnati’s powerful lineup, but aside from Choo and Votto, the rest are strikeout prone, especially facing a pitcher for the first time.

I lean towards Cincy tonight at home, but the -175 line isn’t a great value.  However, I do like the total to stay UNDER the big 9 run line tonight.

Free Pick:  Run TOTAL UNDER 9