After taking three of four games against the rebuild Detroit Tigers, the New York Yankees (60-54) will look to keep the momentum going against the Cleveland Indians (57-57). After Thursday’s victory, the Yankees moved within one game of the American League’s second Wildcard berth and moved into a second place tie in the American League East. The Yankees trail the first place Baltimore Orioles by five games. The Indians split a four-game set against the Cincinnati Reds earlier this week, but only sit four games out of the American League’s second Wildcard spot. 

If the Yankees want to keep their winning ways up, they’ll need a strong start from RHP Esmil Rogers (0-0, 5.84 ERA). Rogers has made two appearances out of the bullpen since joining the Yankees. Friday night will mark his first start in pinstripes. Cleveland will counter with RHP Trevor Bauer (4-6, 4.20 ERA). Bauer, who was once a highly touted prospect with the Arizona Diamondback, has had an up-and-down career. Bauer is only 23-years-old and has shown flashes of brilliance. Bauer has given up at least three earned runs in his last four starts. Bauer pitched seven innings and gave up only two runs a month ago against the Bombers.

Current MLB Odds slot the Yankees as a slight home favorite. The Yankee offense is coming through with timely hits and I expect that to continue. Take the Yankees with your MLB picks this evening!

MLB Pick: NY Yankees -ML

 

Even if you have the urge to place a bet on the NFL, a little hesitation is understandable if you’re not familiar with how it works. Whether you’re new to betting or new to the entire game of American Football, a little guidance wouldn’t go amiss, right? Let’s take a look at the ins and outs of NFL betting.

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The Yankees sorely miss the presence of their aces, RHP Masahiro Tanaka and LHP CC Sabathia. However, ace-like performances have become common for one of their most recent acquisitions. RHP Brandon McCarthy is 2-0 with a 1.45 ERA as a member of the Yankees. Even though opponents are hitting .260 against McCarthy, he’s been excellent in generating outs in high leverage situations. McCarthy’s will look to duplicate his most recent victory, a home win against the Texas Rangers, tonight in Arlington. 

While McCarthy’s performances have been impressive, the Yankee offense has staked McCarthy with early leads. The Yankee offense has averaged seven runs per start while McCarthy’s old club, Arizona, only scored three runs per start. Despite his recent string of strong starts, McCarthy has struggled in Arlington. McCarthy is 0-2 with a 7.65 ERA in four starts. 

The Yankees have dropped three straight games including a 4-2 decision on Monday. The Yankees currently sit 4.5 games behind the first place Baltimore Orioles. Texas hasn’t won back-to-back games since June 28-29. Texas RHP Nick Martinez won’t make things easy. Martinez is winless in eight starts with a 0-5 record and 6.98 ERA. Martinez did hold the Yankees scoreless over 5 1/3 innings in his start. 

The Yankees are a road favorite according to MLB Odds. Take the hot pitcher on a team desperate for a road win. Take the Yankees with your MLB picks.

Official Pick: New York Yankees 

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! 

Eli Manning, Shaun O'Hara Interview

Eli Manning tells former teammate that surgery has made him faster because “I can’t get any slower.”

Ex-Giant Shaun O’Hara took the stage to introduce former teammate Eli Manning.

The pair were promoting a recent “FinDD Eli” contest where a lucky fan would get to join Eli in an upcoming Dunkin Donuts commercial.

With Eli’s track record for commercials being arguably as great as his two-time Super Bowl MVP career, that’s quite a prize for DD to be giving away. (“Football Cops”, “Football On Your Phone”)

When O’Hara brought Eli up to the stage for a brief Q&A, Eli’s first question to him was, “How many munchkins did you eat today?” in which O’Hara, without hesitation, answered “27, does that sound familiar?”

A quick dig at Eli’s 27 interceptions in 2013.

Eli took it in stride and got his payback when asked about his ankle surgery. Asked if there were any truth to the rumors that the procedure would actually make Eli faster, he responded, “Yes, definitely, because I can’t get any slower.” He also explained that because he’s a traditional pocket passer, it’s more about elusiveness in the pocket and his ability to slide around tacklers like “after O’Hara would miss his blocking assignments.”

O’Hara 1, Eli 1

Manning made it clear he has no reservations about the ankle at all effecting him in the upcoming season. One he believes will see them back in the playoffs and hopefully winning another championship.

“Last year we got off to such a rough start, but the way the team finished and stuck with each other, we grew up as a team last year. We gotta remember that and bring it into this season to get back to the playoffs and win another championship.”

After just 12 practices at OTA’s, Manning says the team should come into training camp ready to go.

The New Giants Offensive System

“If anyone mastered a new offense in 12 practices, it would be a pretty simple offense.”

This year will be the first that Eli is playing without offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride (retired), who has been replaced with Ben McAdoo.

Ten years in one offensive system certainly allowed Eli to get more and more advanced throughout his career and become a leader for the offense. The biggest change for Manning is the verbiage of the new system. He noted that when making quick decisions, knowing what to yell out to his teammates is key. With Cruz, now the veteran of the receiving corps, it’s easy for the two to communicate with the language they’ve both become accustomed to. Look for this to increase Cruz’s targets in games where adjustments need to be made on the fly.

With so many new guys, they’re all learning this new system and studying together. Old and new players alike have been putting in the work during OTAs to get the team chemistry going and learning each other’s personalities and on-field communication routines.

Manning feels good about where the team is now and knows the preseason games this year will be highly beneficial in solidifying that chemistry.

Potential For The Giants Receivers

The Giants have a lot of new receivers, and offensive players across the board. Along with the new system, that gives potential to see some different faces rise (and fall) to the spotlight.

Manning spoke about his receiving corps:

Rueben Randle

Rueben Randle’s gotta step up and have a great year, and has the potential to do so in his third NFL season. According to Manning, it’s time for Randle to be consistent week in and week out.

Victor Cruz

Manning will continue to look to get to Victor Cruz quickly and let him make plays with the ball.

Odell Beckham Jr.

Rookie Odell Beckham Jr has got a lot of speed and talent. Beckham’s only been out there a few times (sore hamstring), but for a rookie he’s very polished with his route running and his sticks. Manning can see that he was obviously well coached at LSU and in high school.  His knack and feel for getting open, and seeing his bursts and his route running have Eli excited.

Jerrel Jernigan & Mario Manningham

With Jernigan showing some talent last season, and bringing back Super Bowl teammate Manningham after his brief stint with the 49’ers, Eli Manning says the offense has plenty of weapons.

The 2014 season should show the New York Football Giants, when fine-tuned, playing very fast. Manning will be getting the ball out quickly letting the receivers be athletic and make plays.

Going into their eleventh season together, Coach Coughlin still always talks about being a professional and taking care of your business. Everyone knows Coughlin stresses being prepared, and Eli is no different. Sticking to the Coughlin school of work hard, be passionate and dedicated, Eli has clearly left last season in the past and ready to take on 2014 with the clarity and focus that you hear promised in commercials for energy drinks.

Manning is focused on making the players around him the best that they can be, and says he’ll have the offensive team prepared to play every week.

Dunkin Donuts “FinDD Eli” Contest

FinDD Eli event in Ramsey,N.J., Thursday, June 19, 2014. (Photo/Stuart Ramson)

FinDD Eli winner with Shaun O’Hara and Eli Manning (Photo/Stuart Ramson)

In May, Dunkin’ Donuts launched the “FinDD Eli” on-the-cup promotion, where specially marked medium or large beverage offered guests the chance to “find” the New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning via an exciting on-the-cup peel and reveal game and online scavenger hunt.

Thirty-one winners were invited to meet Eli Manning on Thursday, June 19th at a Dunkin’ Donuts in Ramsey, NJ, where the ultimate grand prize was announced – the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to appear alongside New York Giants Superstar QB Eli Manning in an upcoming Dunkin’ Donuts commercial.

After enjoying a Q&A between Eli Manning and his former teammate Shaun O’Hara, the thirty-one attendees each received a sealed envelope. After counting down from the number ten in honor of Manning’s jersey number, the guests all ripped open their envelopes and the grand prize winner was revealed. David Driscoll of Springfield, NJ was the lucky recipient of the “FinDD Eli” cutout, and will be preparing for his television debut in a Dunkin’ Donuts commercial with Eli Manning. All attendees received a Dunkin’ Donuts gift card, tickets to 2014 New York Giants training camp, and a photograph with Eli Manning.

Eli Manning And I Are Actually Twins

In a non-football related discovery, this was my first time meeting Eli Manning in person.

Most people will say that Eli and Peyton look very similar, which they do. Eli even told a (questionably true) story where he was in a local Dunkin Donuts one morning and some guys in the store were debating with him (not realizing who he was) whether he looked more like Eli Manning or Michael Phelps.

I was as shocked as anyone to find out that Eli Manning and I are actually twins, created from a combination of the greatest men on earth as an experiment a la Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny Devito . Like they say, you learn something new every day.

Eli Manning Twins