Browsing Posts published by Matthew Vereb

The New York Yankees (50-47) and Texas Rangers (39-59) have dealt with injuries to their starting rotation. Whenever teams deal with injuries, young pitchers must step-up. Two younger pitchers will square off on Monday evening. Texas will send out RHP Miles Mikolas (0-2, 10.05), who has struggled recently, while New York will counter with RHP Shane Greene (2-0, 1.32 ERA). Greene will make his Yankee Stadium debut looking for his third straight victory. Greene dominated during his last start, tossing seven scoreless innings while striking out nine as the Yankees topped Baltimore, 3-0. Unlike Greene, Mikolas hasn’t found his groove. Mikolas gave up four earned runs over 5 2/3 innings against the Angels during his last start. 

The Yankees are coming off an impressive three-game sweep of the Cincinnati Reds. Jacoby Ellsbury went 4-for-4 to help complete the sweep. Ellsbury has five extra base hits over his last eight games and went 8-for-19 against Texas as a member of the Red Sox last season. Record-wise, Texas is baseball’s worst team. The Rangers are 4-24 since June 17th. Texas’ biggest free agent acquisition, Shin Soo Choo, is on an 0-for-21 slide. 

Current MLB betting odds list the Yankees as an overwhelming -160 home favorite. Baseball is a game based on trends and momentum. I’m rolling with the young New York RHP and the Yankee offense that has shown signs of waking up. Take the Bombers today with your MLB Picks!

Free MLB Pick: NY Yankees -160

Major League Baseball’s top player will squad off in the 85th annual All-Star. The game will begin at 8:00PM EST in Minnesota. The American League won last year’s Mid-Summer classic, but the National League notched wins in the three prior years. The American League’s victory ensured home field advantage for the eventual World Series champion Boston Red Sox. Needless to say, a lot will be on the line when these two star-studded clubs square off tonight.

The American League will start Seattle Mariners RHP Felix Hernandez (11-2, 2.12 ERA) while the National League will counter with St. Louis Cardinals RHP Adam Wainwright (12-4, 1.83 ERA). Expect both of these aces to pitch 2-3 innings. Both squads boast an impressive bullpen arms, but the National League carries a sizable advantage. The National League can give the ball the LHP Clayton Kershaw and RHP Zack Greinke during the middle innings while handing it over to RHP Craig Kimbrel and LHP Aroldis Chapman to close it out. The American League can trot out RHP Yu Darvish, RHP Max Scherzer, and LHP Chris Sale, but it’s back end of the bullpen isn’t as strong as the National League’s. RHP Fernando Rodney and RHP Koji Uehara could be late game options.

Both lineups feature power and speed. The National League lineup consists of Andrew McCutchen, Yasei Puig, Troy Tulowitzki, Paul Goldschmidt, Mike Stanton, Aramis Ramirez, Chase Utley, Jon Lucroy, and Carlos Gomez. The American League lineup consists of Derek Jeter, Mike Trout, Robbie Cano, Miggy Cabrera, Joey Bats, Nelson Cruz, Adam Jones, Josh Donaldson, and Sal Perez. 

The American League has some serious pop and speed on its bench. Jose Abreu, HR Derby Champ Yoenis Cespedes, and Adrian Beltre are just three options while ML hit leader Jose Altuve is also an option. 

Current MLB All-Star game odds have the American League as a small -108 favorite. Take the AL as a small home favorite for your MLB picks.

Official Pick: American League -108

Germany crushed host country Brazil, 7-1 in the first World Cup Semi-Final. Expect a much more competitive Semi-Final when Argentina squares off against the Netherlands. Argentina and the Netherlands have only faced each other once in the 1978 World Cup final. Argentina prevailed 3-1 to win their first and only World Cup title. The Netherlands reached the World Cup final in 2010, but dropped the match to the heavily favored Spanish club. Thursday’s clash marks the fourth time Argentina has reached the Semi-Finals. 

Argentina will play without one of their star players, Angel Di Mara. Argentina only notched one goal and sorely missed Di Mara in their quarterfinal win over Belgium. Still, Argentina has the lethal Lionel Messi, who is arguably the best player in the world. Argentina went a perfect 3-0-0 during the group stage, but were tested in the knockout round. Argentina was able to prevail over the Swiss squad, but had to work hard to earn the victory in extra time. Messi set-up Di Mara’s game winning goal, but the match nearly went to penalty kicks. Argentina notched an early goal against Belgium, but the game was a grind. 

The Netherlands started the World Cup off with a bang by thrashing defending champion Spain, 5-1. The Netherlands finished the group stage by beating Australia, 3-2 and Chile, 2-0. In the knockout round, the Netherlands notched two very late goals to escape a scare from Mexico. The Netherlands needed penalty kicks to put away a very pesky Costa Rica club in the quarterfinals. The Netherlands have excelled in high leverage situations, but will that be enough to beat a World Class Argentina club?

Current World Cup odds have Argentina installed as a +140 outright winner while the Netherlands are slotted as a +240 outright winner. For either bet to cash, clubs will need to win the game in regulation. This game will be tightly contested, so I’m going to side with the Orange Crush as a value bet in this showdown. I’m worried about Di Mara’s absence and the Orange Crush have been great in high leverage situations. Lionel Messi is the pivotal player in this showdown, but the Netherlands pressure should somewhat slow down Messi. Take the Orange Crush at a discount for your World Cup picks.

Pick: The Netherlands +240 

Carlos Beltran’s fifth inning, three-run home run proved to be the difference as the New York Yankees (41-42) edged the Minnesota Twins (37-45) in the first game of a four-game set, 7-4. The fifth inning blast was Beltran’s 367th career home run, placing him fourth all-time among switch hitters. With 367, he’s behind Mickey Mantle (536), Eddie Murray (504), and Chipper Jones (468). Beltran’s home run gave RHP Masahiro Tanaka (12-3, 2.82 ERA) his major league leading 12th win. Tanaka has been worth every dollar so far this season.

Rookie RHP Chase Whitley (3-2, 4.70 ERA) will look to follow Tanaka and add another win. This will be Whitley’s tenth start of his rookie season. Whitley will be opposed by RHP Kyle Gibson (7-6, 3.77 ERA). On the surface, Gibson’s numbers aren’t very good, but after reviewing his splits, he has dominated at home. In six home starts, Gibson is 4-1 with a 1.54 ERA. Opposing hitters are hitting just .213 against him at home. 

Current MLB odds have the Twins posted as a small -115 home favorite. Given Gibson’s dominance at home, I like his chances against a struggling Yankee lineup. Whitley is 2-1 with a 4.50 ERA away from Yankee Stadium. Expect a bounce back performance from the Twins as they even this series.

MLB Pick: Minnesota Twins -115

 

Runs should be plentiful as the Yankees (40-37) open a three-game set at home against the Red Sox (36-43). Boston starter, Bob Workman (1-0, 2.88 ERA) has not pitched since June 15th. Workman was suspended for six games for throwing near the head of Rays’ third baseman, Evan Longoria on May 30th. Workman’s last start was respectable when he allowed only two runs over six innings against the Cleveland Indians. Workman will be opposed by struggling LHP Vidal Nuno (1-4, 5.88 ERA). Nuno is 0-3 over eight appearance with an unsightly 7.09 ERA. He has surrendered five home runs and 13 runs over 9 1/3 innings in consecutive losses. Nuno has allowed a major league worst 13 home runs at home.

Boston is just 2-5 on their current ten game road trip. Neither of these starters have started in the storied Red Sox-Yankees rivalry. Carlos Beltran has welcomed the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry by homering three times thus far. Birthday boy Derek Jeter is 7-for-21 against the Red Sox this season. David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia are hitting just .227 and .188 against the Yankees this season.

Workman hasn’t pitched in nearly two weeks while Nuno has been terrible at home. I’m expecting a high scoring game. Current MLB odds have the game total set at nine.  I like seeing high totals and I’m expecting a lot of runs. Take the over for your MLB Picks!

MLB Pick: Red Sox/Yankees Over 9

There’s no rationale reason for the U.S. and Germany to play for anything other than a draw during Thursday’s highly anticipated World Cup showdown. There is not a hotly contested rivalry between the two clubs and the U.S. head coach, Jurgen Klinsmann, coached the German team ten years ago. His assistant coach, Joachim Low, is now the head coach of the German team. Still, egos and reputations are at stake, so expect a tightly played contest. Both clubs want to win and lock up the Group G crown before advancing to the Round of 16. 

The U.S. Club is coming off a heart-breaking 2-2 tie against Portugal. Portuguese forward, Cristiano Ronaldo, sent a deadly cross into the U.S. box during stoppage time. The ball was perfectly headed into the goal to keep Portugal alive. The U.S. was a mere 15 seconds away from a 2-0 group record which would have put them into the next round. Instead, the U.S. will need to play a third great game against one of the world’s best club. 

Going into this match, both the U.S. and Germany are 1-0-1 with four total points. The Germans have a four goal differential, which the U.S. only has a one goal differential. Both Ghana and Portugal are 0-1-1 with one point each. Ghana has a -1 goal differential while Portugal has been seemingly eliminated with a -4 goal differential. Ghana and Portugal will face off this morning as well, so expect an aggressive effort from both sides. A win will give either team a slight chance of advancing should Germany blow out the U.S. 

You can check out all of the World Cup odds and sports odds at AllPro. NFL and World Cup odds are available. Enjoy today’s World Cup games and may the best team win! 

The Miami Marlins (36-35) suffered a big blow when their ace RHP Jose Fernandez went down with a season ending arm injury. Now, Miami will turn to another young phenom to fill the void. 23-year-old LHP Andrew Heaney will make his major league debut at home against a punchless New York lineup. Heaney was the ninth overall pick of the 2012 MLB draft. Heaney attended Oklahoma State. Earlier this season, Heaney went 3-0 with a 2.74 ERA in four starts for Triple-A New Orleans.

The New York Mets (32-40) have dropped 11 of their 15 games which included losses in two of their last three games to the St. Louis Cardinals. Eric Young had two RBIs to help the Mets end an eight-game road losing streak. Zack Wheeler (2-7, 4.38 ERA) will take the ball for the Mets. Wheeler has lost his last two starts, giving up four runs in 3 2/3 innings of work at San Francisco. Wheeler had the same line in a 5-0 defeat to the San Diego Padres. Wheeler has had some success against the Marlins, striking out 17 hitters in 13 innings of work. Wheeler has issued eight walks in these two starts, so if he can control his pitches, he’ll have a chance of winning.

Keep an eye on the status of Miami’s RF, Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton banged his wrist into the outfield wall yesterday and had to leave the game. Stanton expects to be in the lineup for Thursday’s tilt.

Current MLB Odds slate the Miami Marlins as a slim -120 money line favorite. I’ll take the young pitcher at home in his major league debut against a New York team that is struggling on the road. Take the Fish as your MLB Pick.

Official MLB Pick: Miami Marlins -120

It’s Deja Vu all over again. The San Antonio Spurs lead the Miami Heat two games to one heading into a pivotal Game 4 of the NBA Finals. The Spurs put on an offensive clinic in Game 3, making 19 of its first 21 shots and shot an NBA Finals record, 76 percent from the field in the first half. The Heat went on a small third quarter run, but the Spurs cruised to a comfortable 111-92 victory. This outcome may feel familiar since the Spurs won Game 3 in blowout fashion last year, toasting the Heat 113-77. Miami ultimately came back to win the series in seven games, so both teams will look to impose their will in Game 4.

Several Heat players, including Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Mario Chalmers, must step up after woeful Game 3 performances. After scoring 18 points in Games 1 and 2, Bosh only had four shot attempts in Game 3. James was responsible for seven of Miami’s 20 turnovers while Chalmers missed all of his shots in Game 3. All three players must bounce back in Game 4.

In typical Spurs’ fashion, Spurs’ coach Greg Poppovich made a strategic move by starting power forward, Boris Diaw. Diaw, who boasted an impressive +30 during Game 1 and -5 during Game 2, was +20 during Game 3. Diaw has a total plus-minus of +45, which is the second highest in NBA history through three NBA Finals games. Diaw’s game isn’t flashy or exciting, but it is effective. 

The Spurs will look to put a vice grip type lock on the series by winning Game 4. If the Spurs do win Game 4, they’ll have a chance to win the championship on their home floor and avenge last year’s tough loss. 

Current NBA Odds have the Heat installed as 5.5 point home favorites. The Heat haven’t lost back-to-back games this season, but I think that may change in Game 4. The Heat have no answer on the defensive side of the ball and the Spurs are on a mission to win a championship. I’ll take the Spurs and the points while laying a little on the money line. It’s a contrarian play, but sometimes you need to go with your gut.

Pick: Spurs +5.5 and -ML

The Los Angeles Kings took Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals by virtue of an overtime goal from Justin Williams. The Rangers took an early 2-0 first period lead, silencing Los Angeles’ home crowd. However, the Kings quickly rallied back with a goal from Kyle Clifford and knotted the score 2-2 with a second period goal from Drew Doughty. The Kings outshot the Rangers, 43-27. The Kings dominated the third period, out shooting the Rangers 20-3. 

Facing a 1-0 deficit, the Rangers must win Game 2 to even this series. Thus far, the Rangers have scored more goals on the road (3.1 goals per game) compared to just 2.3 GPP at home. The Rangers also had a losing record at home during the regular season. Winning Game 2 will alleviate some of the pressure before they head home to New York.

Expect the Kings to play with a lot of confidence heading into Game 2. They were able to erase a two goal deficit against Henrik Lundqvist, which will only boost their confidence. The Kings went scoreless on the power play, which has been their biggest weapon so far this postseason. If the Kings can fire another 40+ shots at Lundqvist, expect a few to go in on the power play.

The Kings came out a little nervous in Game 1, but slowly settled those nerves over the course of Game 1. Current NHL odds have the Kings installed as a -148 money line favorite. Expect a more relaxed effort in Game 2 as they take a 2-0 series lead.

The Pick: LA Kings -148

The San Antonio Spurs easily won the first two games of the Western Conference Finals, but a strong Game 3 showing from the Oklahoma City Thunder put them right back into the series. That strong showing was helped by the return of their defensive superstar. Power forward and rim protector, Serge Ibaka, returned for Game 3 after missing the first two games. Ibaka contributed 15 points, seven rebounds, and four blocks en-route to season saving, 106-97 victory on Sunday night. Ibaka, who injured his calf in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals against the Los Angeles Clippers, was believed to miss the rest of the playoffs. However, Ibaka gutted through 30 minutes and slowed the Spurs from driving into the lane at will. Ibaka’s presence slowed down San Antonio’s dynastic point guard, Tony Parker. Parker only managed to score nine points on 4-of-13 shooting. He committed four turnovers.

While Ibaka’s presence alone gave the Thunder life, OKC made several adjustments that helped erase bad memories from Games 1 and 2. OKC’s coach, Scott Brooks, opted to start back-up point guard, Reggie Jackson, alongside Russell Westbrook and relegate Thabo Sefelosha, who did not score in Games 1 or 2, to the bench. Jackson chipped in with 15 points and took some of the scoring onus off Kevin Durant and Westbrook. Unlike Games 1 and 2, Durant and Westbrook were aggressive and got to the basketball at will. Both players made all eight of their free throw attempts. Rookie center, Steven Adams was injected into the starting lineup and helped OKC out-rebound the Spurs, 52-36. 

After running like a well-oiled machine in Games 1 and 2, San Antonio’s offense sputtered in Game 3. After making over 50 percent of their shots in the first two games, the Spurs made just 40 percent of their shots in Game 3. Manu Ginobili, who left with a foot injury and Tim Duncan were the only two Spurs in double figures.

OKC, according to NBA odds, is pegged as a 2.5 point home favorite in Game 4. I have a hard time believing the Spurs will drop two straight games, but I think OKC is hitting its stride at the right time. Ibaka’s mere presence is critical and I fully expected another emotional effort. Lay the points with the home team and get ready for a must-watch Game 5 Thursday night in San Antonio. 

Pick: Oklahoma City Thunder -2.5