It’s the first Sunday of the NFL season, so the attention of the sports world will shift there so heavily, it will be almost as if baseball isn’t even being played today. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some really nice profit opportunities on the board, so hopefully I can help add one to the pigskin bounty.
The Jays have become the latest team to get a big opportunity to face their nearest rival and subsequently obliterate them. Toronto has piled up runs all weekend and has an opportunity today to cap off the four game sweep and put the division all but out of reach. That news is pretty well-disseminated. But the three-game sweep that has my attention so far is the one the Reds are putting on the Cardinals. It’s not a huge news story, as the Cards still have the best record in baseball. But it is a sign of something I’ve been alluding to for weeks; the Cards are the most vulnerable “best team in the league” as far as playoff expectations that I can recall. It would be hard to favor them against the Dodgers should they meet, and frankly, it’d be reasonable to pick the Pirates, Mets and especially the Cubs over the Cardinals.
Especially if the Pirates, who are now as close as they have been all summer, at just 2 ½ games back…
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Today’s Free Pick:
Kansas City Royals -102 at Baltimore Orioles +108 (Total: 8)
Johnny Cueto vs. Wei-Yun Chen
To say things have not gone well for Johnny Cueto this past month would be a major understatement. A more appropriate adjective would be “abject disaster.” He has lasted just 14 innings in his past three starts and has an ERA just under ten. In his entire Royals tenure he is just 2-5 with a 4.86 ERA and every quality start came in his first four appearances. Everything since then has been brutal. He faced this same Orioles team two weeks ago and allowed six runs in five innings.
On the opposing mound is Chen, who enters tonight having posted a 6.61 ERA and a WHIP near two in his last three starts. So neither pitcher enters tonight with any semblance of positive momentum. The good news for these two guys is that most of their normal ESPN Sunday Night Baseball audience will probably be watching the Cowboys and Giants. The bad news is that based on recent performance, neither is looking at a prolonged outing.
I am surprised this run total isn’t at least a half run higher, but the relatively low number makes tonight’s pick a very simple one. Take the OVER and enjoy the struggles of two pitchers rather than rooting for one or the other to make a remarkable turn of fortune.