My three-game winning streak was snapped last night on a tough beat with the Angels beating the Indians 7-2 to push the run total a half run over the 8.5 runline. Making the loss frustrating is the fact that both starting pitchers did their job, but the Cleveland defense was abominable, committing four errors and giving up several unearned runs. Perhaps it was the wagering karmic powers trying to even the slate for the miracle cover on Thursday night…
Let’s try to wrap up the week in winning fashion with a nice Sunday Night Baseball winner.
Tampa Bay Rays +172 at Los Angeles Dodgers -181 (Total: 6.5)
Jeremy Helickson vs. Clayton Kershaw
Clayton Kershaw gets the ball tonight trying to complete the sweep of one of the hottest teams in baseball, the Tampa Bay Rays. Kershaw took the loss last time he went to the mound (and I lost along with him), despite allowing only two runs. He was the July Pitcher of the Month, and looks to be off to the same kind of start to August. His 1.91 ERA is the lowest in the majors, and his 174 1/3 innings pitched rank second.
The Rays weren’t just playing “good” baseball over the last month and a half, they were playing GREAT baseball. Their record of 28-13 since June 22nd is the second best mark in all of baseball. Perhaps that properly puts into context what the Los Angeles Dodgers are doing. Over that same span, they are an other-worldly 36-8, which translates to a .818 winning percentage! So, wagering against them tonight with Kershaw on the mound would seem like a fool’s errand.
Of course, there is the huge juice to consider tonight. The Dodgers are -181 tonight, which means you are paying a pretty steep price to back them against a pretty good Rays teams with a potentially challenging pitcher in Jeremy Hellickson. He enters tonight with a 4.75 ERA, 6.00 in his last three starts, as he has yet to live up to his former rookie-of-the year type performance. If he isn’t sharp today, the Dodgers have the lineup to light him up pretty badly.
That is where the best value is on tonight’s game. The run total is either 6 or 6.5 depending on where you wager, and it seems perfectly plausible that it could go under if Kershaw blanks them, but if he allows even two runs, it is also easy to see the Dodgers tallying five. I’m staying off the total, and instead taking the Dodgers on the -1.5 runline at a good value price of +125.
Free Pick: Los Angeles Dodgers -1.5 (+125)