The month of July has been good to us as we are cruising right along with 70% winners since July 1st. And most of those wins have come on teams that were either even money or underdogs. We picked up another money line underdog winner last night when we backed the Atlanta Braves as road dogs in Milwaukee, against the Brewers. The Braves have been on fire for the last month, while the Brewers have been in freefall. So, when I saw the opportunity to back Atlanta, a team that was eleven games better than Milwaukee entering play yesterday, as underdogs, I jumped all over it.
Max fried had stumbled into the All-tar break on a rough patch of results. I figured that was just the young man hitting the rookie wall, as this was his first season as a full-time part of the Braves rotation and thought that the All-Star break was going to be enough to let this guy rest up. And I was right. Fried tossed five strong innings, allowing no runs on just three hits.
Fried could have lasted longer as he threw just seventy-eight pitches on the evening, but the Braves were happy to see him back on his A-game, so they didn’t want to tire him out again and were content with turning the game over to their bullpen to close things out. The bullpen made us sweat just a little bit, but in the end, the Braves held on for the 4-2 victory, and we cashed another ticket.
For Atlanta, the Braves continue to mow through the competition in the National League and are hot on the heels of the Los Angeles Dodgers for the best record in the league. The Braves are now twenty-one games over .500 and have opened up a seven and a half game lead over the Washington Nationals for first place in the NL East Division.
For Milwaukee, they continue to free fall. They have now lost eight out of their last ten games. It feels like the Brewers will get things turned around at some point as this team is very talented, but right now they are a third-place team.
And they are only three games ahead of the Reds and Pirates who are tied for last place in the NL Central. If this slump lasts another week, we could see the Brewers in last place. Who would have guessed that coming into this season? For today’s pick, we will head to Coors Field in Colorado as the Rockies host the Giants.
The San Francisco Giants are in Colorado Tuesday looking for the rare series win over their division rivals, the Rockies. The Giants took both sides of a double-header yesterday and are hoping to make it three straight wins tonight. Despite a very slow start to the season that has seen them in last place all year long, the Giants are getting hot at the right time as they are 9-2 in the month of July and are getting very close to getting back to .500 on the year.
For the Rockies, they have struggled to stay consistent all season long, and are just one game ahead of the Giants in the NL West Division. If the season were to end today, the west would get just one team into the playoffs, the front running Los Angeles Dodgers. That makes this series even more important as both teams badly need a win.
Starting for the Giants is Drew Pomeranz (2-9 6.42 ERA), and for the Rockies, it is Peter Lambert (2-1 6.67 ERA). The game total over-under is set at fourteen and a half runs. The Rockies are -130 home favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 5:40 PM PST from Coors Field in Denver.
The San Francisco Giants have somehow figured out how to string some wins together recently, and find themselves in contention, just three games back of the second wild card in the NL. And they have gotten the job done by scoring a bunch of runs. The Giants have scored double-digit runs in a game four times already this month.
And when you look at how this team has hit the ball all year long, you have to wonder where this is coming from? The Giants are 27th in home runs, 28th in slugging, and 29th in batting average. This team flat out can’t hit. But that didn’t stop them from posting a season-high nineteen runs yesterday in game one of the double-header. And when you look at who the Rockies are starting tonight in rookie Peter Lambert, it makes you think the runs should be easy to come by again tonight.
Lambert joined the Rockies rotation in early June and has made six starts. His ERA is 6.67. But when you look at the teams this poor guy has had to face it kinda-sorta explains why he has been so bad. He has faced the Dodgers twice, the Cubs twice, and the Astros. Nobody is going to look great against those teams, so while I am not giving him a pass, I also know that the Giants aren’t the Cubs or the Dodgers.
Drew Pomeranz was awful in the month of May. Like really, really bad. He posted an ERA of nearly twenty in four starts. Yeah, that’s not a typo, twenty runs. But since then he hasn’t really been that bad. Since June 1st, he has made six starts. And in half of those six starts, he did not allow even a single run. Now in the other three starts, he has gotten blasted for thirteen runs, so his ERA still remains high at 6.42, but his results have been more inconsistent rather than just bad.
When I first moved to Vegas over fifteen years ago if I would have seen this game total, I would have taken the over and felt like I was stealing. Two bad pitchers in the toughest to pitch park in the entire game? It HAS to go over, right? Not so fast. Nowadays, I do a lot better job of controlling my emotions and not overreacting to short sample sizes. The books are begging you to take the over in this one, and most of the public likely will, and the bookies will be laughing at you when you do. Don’t fall for the trap.
Yeah, the Giants have been swinging a better bat as of late. But they are still dreadfully bad at the dish most of the time. After they exploded for nineteen runs in game one yesterday, they followed that up by scoring just two in the nightcap. The public sees the nineteen and tends to forget about the two. Don’t be the public.
Make no mistake, runs will go up on the board tonight. But to see a total like fourteen and a half is just too high. To go over a number like that, you need both teams scoring early and often. If one team slows down for even a couple of innings, your over is blown. The vast percentage of major league games score fewer than fourteen and a half runs. I don’t have the exact percentages handy, but I am going to guess its well over 90% that don’t hit fifteen or more runs. Even at Coors Field.
So, I am going to go with a long-term view and think this game comes in under. It could easily end up with double digits on the board, and one team may even post a ten spot all by themselves. But in the end, the under is just the much sharper play. So, I will take the under fourteen and a half runs and hope Pomeranz and Lambert are just bad and not awful and win what would be my fifth straight bet.