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Marlins vs. Phillies Pick MLB – July 18th

Johnny Cueto wasn’t sharp yesterday – perhaps the All Star hangover I projected – but either way, the heavily favored Giants dropped a second straight game to the Padres.  I didn’t get on top of the heavy underdog like we did the day before, but we did cash a winner on the OVER wager, despite Edwin Jackson making his MLB return by taking an improbably NO HITTER into the sixth inning.  He promptly allowed a three-run shot to ruin the no-no (obviously a few walks were allowed), but still outdueled the All Star Game starting pitcher in his return to the majors.

Baseball, right??  Crazy sport.

Elsewhere, pitchers ruled the day in the National League with two games ending in 1-0 scores and a third, the Pirates and Nationals ending in a 2-1 victory for the Bucs after 18 innings of pitching and defense domination.  We will see if the bats can regain the upper hand this week with a fresh slate of series kicking off tonight.

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Today’s Free Pick:

Miami Marlins -190 at Philadelphia Phillies +180 (Total: 7)

Jose Fernandez (11-4, 2.52 ERA) vs. Aaron Nola (5-8, 4.69 ERA)

A month ago, Aaron Nola looked like an All Star pitcher, leading the Phillies to a surprising winning record with an ERA right in the middle-twos.  A month later, you can infer from his season statline above how things have gone.  He has dropped four straight starts, the Phillies have lost his last five outings, and he has allowed a staggering 27 runs in just 18 innings spread thinly over five starts.  The bottom has completely fell out for Nola, and both he and the Phillies are hoping the two weeks of personal rest from a skipped start plus the All Star Break will help reset his season.

Meanwhile, no reset is needed for Fernandez.  The Marlins phenom is showing no ill-effects from last season’s injury and enters tonight with eight starts allowing zero or one run in his last ten outings.  He had the bizarre shelling at the hands of the lowly Braves two weeks ago, but aside from that, he has been nearly perfect.  He has struck out 96 batters and walked just 11 over his last ten outings and opponent batting average is down to just .206 with a WHIP of just 1.02.  He has been straight-up dominant, and there is no reason to expect him to allow more than one run tonight.

It all adds up to a big favorite line for the Marlins, but a great opportunity on the runline at an affordable price of just -125.  I think the Fish win big today.  I am also not opposed to a wager on Aaron Nola getting some of his sharpness back and this game staying well UNDER the run total of 7, but my favorite play is the Fish laying the run and a half.

Free Pick:  Miami Marlins RUNLINE -1.5 (-125)