Philadelphia Phillies -130 @ Milwaukee Brewers +120 (Total: 7.5)
C. Hamels (13-7, 2.63) vs. C. Narveson (10-6, 4.26)
I admit, as a baseball fan even more than a wagerer I am looking forward to this series, which very well could be a preview of an amazing NLCS to come. Philly enters as the pretty clear best team in baseball, while since the All-Star break, no one has been better (or seeming to have more fun) than the Brew Crew.
Milwaukee has been devastating at home all year, posting the best record in MLB at 50-19. Meanwhile Philly has been devastating everywhere, sitting at 91-48 and are 43 games over .500 for the first time in their storied franchise history. This series has all the earmarks of a great Fall classic preview.
Hamels has been excellent all year, though he has been a bit more pedestrian in his last three outings. He has posted a 3.50 ERA and an 0-1 record (the team going just 1-2 in his starts.) Meanwhile the young lefty Narveson has been pleasantly solid, earning a 3-0 record and keeping his ERA in the low-threes.
The difference between the two starters is most evident in their WHIP. Narveson is respectable at 1.39, while Hamels is spectacular at 0.97. Keeping the Brewers off base will be vital with their powerful middle of the order. This should be a good pitching matchup, but I still like the OVER 7.5. Nine of their last twelve games head-to-head have gone over and tonight’s line seems a little tight considering the potency of Milwaukee’s offense at home.
FREE PICK: Run TOTAL OVER 7.5 (-110)
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Boston Red Sox +130 @ Toronto Blue Jays -140 (TOTAL: 9.5)
A. Miller (6-2, 5.27) R. Romero (13-10, 2.97)
Boston heads on the road for a six-game swing beginning tonight with what appears to be a pitching disadvantage in Toronto. However, don’t let some of the elevated Boston ERA’s fool you, they might be giving up runs but they don’t give away too many wins. Boston scores runs in bunches and generally with stand 4 or 5 runs allowed over 6 or 7 innings by their starter.
Such has been the case with Andrew Miller. His ERA is close to five and a half, and his WHIP is nearly two, yet his record is a tidy 6-2 and the Sox are an even more impressive 9-2 in games Miller starts. It may not be pretty, but he hasn’t buried his team under an avalanche of defecit. He has been effective enough to keep his team in games, and sometimes that is enough to earn a W.
Romero on the other hand has an ERA nearly 2.50 lower, a WHIP over 0.60 lower, yet the Jays are just 15-13 in games he takes the hill. Such is life in the AL East where mega-offenses roam in Boston and New York. The reason I point this interesting statistical anomaly out, is that is makes getting plus-money tonight backing Boston a much better proposition than the pitching line first indicates.
I like Boston being able to score enough runs off Romero to allow Miller to give up three or four runs over five or six innings and escape with yet another Boston victory.