Five to Follow MLB Betting: Friday, June 27, 2014 Opening Line Report
by Alan Matthews - 6/27/2014
So here's an interesting prop idea for the sportsbooks: From which division will the next no-hitter in baseball come? There have been three this season and all from the NL West: two for the Dodgers (Josh Beckett and Clayton Kershaw) and then on Wednesday night San Francisco's Tim Lincecum threw his second career no-no, both against San Diego. Alas, no NL West aces are pitching Friday, so don't look for No. 4. Here's a look at five interesting games on the schedule.
Nationals at Cubs (-102, TBA)
Chicago traded starting pitcher Scott Feldman last year on July 2. The Cubs are going to trade Jason Hammel soon as they want to get that done before they concentrate on dealing Jeff Samardzija. Thus, it's quite possible Friday is Hammel's final start in a Cubs uniform. If he's scratched beforehand for some reason, that means a trade likely has happened. Hammel (6-5, 2.99) hasn't won this month despite a solid 3.60 ERA as the Cubs just don't score for him. He is 3-1 with a 2.27 ERA at home this year. Washington's Ryan Zimmerman is a career .360 hitter off him with a homer and four RBIs. Tanner Roark, an Illinois native, starts for the Nats. Roark (7-4, 2.79) is 4-0 with a 1.44 ERA this month. Few Cubs have faced him.
Key trends: The Cubs are 4-0 in Hammel's past four against teams with a winning record. The "over" has hit in five of Roark's past seven road starts. The "over" is 5-1 in Chicago's past six Friday games.
Early lean: I'm guessing this total will be set at 7, maybe 7.5, barring gusts toward the Wrigley Field bleachers. Go "under" regardless.
Red Sox at Yankees (-103, 9)
I guess I'm obligated to touch on Red Sox-Yankees whenever they start a series, although there's not a ton of excitement this time with neither club looking like a very good team. Naturally, all three games will be nationally televised. Want more proof this series isn't what it used to be? Check out the starting pitchers Friday: Brandon Workman for Boston and Vidal Nuno for New York. Workman (1-0, 2.88) hasn't pitched since June 15 as he had to serve a six-game suspension. He has been solid since entering the rotation in late May and is likely to stick there a bit longer. The lefty Nuno (1-4, 5.88) is likely pitching for his job. He has one of the worst ERAs in the majors and has allowed 15 home runs already. He has been bombed for 12 earned runs over 9.1 innings his past two starts.
Key trends: Boston is 1-6 in its past seven against lefties and 0-4 in its past four following an off day. The Yankees are 0-5 in Nuno's past five against teams with a losing record. Boston is 1-4 in the past five in New York.
Early lean: No opinion on the side, although a slight lean to Boston, but huge on the "over" at +100. Boston may score that much itself off Nuno.
Angels at Royals (-110, 8.5)
Los Angeles is playing good ball, and I still think it is great value at +250 to win the AL West over Oakland (-300). Especially if the Halos can add some bullpen help, which I believe they will. L.A. faces old mate Jason Vargas in Friday's series opener. Vargas (7-3, 3.16) was 9-8 with a 4.02 ERA last year for the Angels, but they didn't make any effort to re-sign him. The lefty has been solid this month, going 2-1 with a 2.59 ERA. He pitched in Anaheim on May 25, allowing a run and three hits over 6.1 innings. Surprising Matt Shoemaker (5-1, 3.42) starts for L.A. He is 2-0 with a 1.72 ERA and 16 punchouts his past two starts. He faced the Royals May 24, allowing two earned runs over five innings in a no-decision.
Key trends: The Angels are 4-0 in Shoemaker's past four starts. Kansas City has lost seven straight against the AL West. The "over" is 5-0-1 in Shoemaker's past six starts. The "over" is 5-0 in the Royals' past five series openers.
Early lean: "Under" 8.5 at -115.
Tigers at Astros (+133, 8.5)
Detroit backers had to be encouraged by the last outing of Justin Verlander (6-7, 4.82). He had been off for seven straight starts, leading some to worry if he was healthy. He made some mechanical changes before his last start and allowed two runs and five hits, striking out eight, over seven innings in a win over Cleveland. That tied his season high for Ks. Brad Peacock (2-4, 4.50) starts for Houston after missing a start due to food poisoning. Houston has lost his past two outings and he has a 5.12 ERA at home. Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez each have a homer off Peacock in three at-bats.
Key trends: The Tigers have won six straight road games. They are 1-4 in Verlander's past five against teams with a losing record. Houston has lost four straight series openers. The "under" is 7-1 in Houston's past eight against right-handers.
Early lean: A month or so ago, Verlander would have been about -180 against Houston. Take advantage of that short -143 price -- and it's likely to keep rising -- while you can get it.
Indians at Mariners (-106, 8)
Seattle is expected to get a starter back on Friday in outfielder/first baseman Michael Saunders (.265, 23 RBIs). He has been out since June 10 with a shoulder injury. He hit .450 in five rehab starts. The Mariners look like legit wild-card contenders, having won five of six and now five games over .500. They start Chris Young in Friday's series opener. Young (6-4, 3.23) has been terrific his past two starts, both Seattle wins, allowing just a run and seven hits over 13 innings. He is 4-1 with a 2.23 ERA at home this year. Nick Swisher is 4-for-10 career off him with two doubles and a homer. Trevor Bauer (2-3, 4.4) goes for the Tribe. He is 1-1 with a 5.11 ERA this month and 0-2 with a 6.19 ERA in three road starts this season.
Key trends: Cleveland is 1-5 in its past six series openers. The Mariners are 4-1 in their past five at home against righty starters. The "under" is 7-0 in Young's past seven starts. Cleveland is 1-5 in its past six in Seattle.
Early lean: I have no earthly idea why Seattle isn't a bigger favorite, although I'm sure it will be by game-time. Take the M's with how good Young has been at home.
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