Five to Follow MLB Betting: Thursday May 1, 2014 Opening Line Report
by Alan Matthews - 4/30/2014
It's a bit unusual Thursday in that it's a getaway day for most clubs, yet the only matinee is the L.A. Dodgers at Minnesota, which is the first of a day-night interleague twinbill. That game will be offeredfor live betting at Bovada as will Mariners at Yankees. Here's a look at five interesting matchups from the schedule.
Pirates at Orioles (-135, 8.5)
Baltimore third base phenom Manny Machado was set to be activated from the disabled list quite ahead of schedule on Tuesday, but that game was rained out. Thus, he was to debut Wednesday against Pittsburgh. It's huge for the O's as Machado hit .283 with 14 home runs, 51 doubles and 71 knocked in last year. He also plays third base better than anyone maybe this century. The O's could use the offense being without the injured Chris Davis. Machado or no Orioles have faced Pirates scheduled starter Thursday, Brandon Cumpton (0-1, 2.57). The rookie was sharp in his 2014 debut by holding the Reds to two runs and four hits over seven innings. The Orioles start righty Bud Norris (1-2, 4.44). A handful of Pirates have faced the former Astro. Pedro Alvarez is 2-for-14 with a home run and 10 strikeouts. Andrew McCutchen is 7-for-30 with four RBIs. Neil Walker 9-for-21 with a home run.
Key trends: The Orioles are 5-1 in Norris' past six home starts. The "under" is 4-0-1 in Cumpton's past five starts dating to last year.
Early lean: Norris has been nothing special, and the O's don't know Cumpton, so Pittsburgh is solid value.
Mariners at Yankees (+107, 7)
This is something you don't see often: the Yankees are home underdogs. But you can understand why considering Mariners ace Felix Hernandez (3-1, 2.40) is starting the series finale. Hernandez is 8-5 with a 2.19 ERA career against the Yankees and 4-1 with a 1.18 ERA all time at the new Yankee Stadium. One guy Hernandez likely won't have to worry about is Yankee outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury. He has a hand injury and is expected to miss a couple of games. Too bad as he was a career .320 hitter with two homers off Hernandez. Brian Roberts is 12-for-33 career off King Felix with six walks and five doubles. Mark Teixeira has five homers and nine RBIs off him in 64 at-bats. New York starts Hiroki Kuroda (2-2, 5.28). His ERA is inflated thanks to giving up six earned runs in 4.2 innings last time out against the Angels. He didn't fare well in his lone 2013 start against Seattle, allowing four runs and eight hits in 6.1 innings of a loss.
Key trends: The Mariners are 4-11 in Hernandez's past 15 road starts against teams with a winning record. The Yankees are 11-2 in Kuroda's past 12 at home against teams with a losing record. The under is 5-2-1 in Hernandez's past eight at New York.
Early lean: Yankees are great value as a home dog because the Mariners still can't hit much. New York wins a low-scoring game.
Brewers at Reds (-119, 7.5)
Up to this point, one of the best deals for any team this offseason was Milwaukee brining back Francisco Rodriguez on a one-year, $3.25 million deal. K-Rod wasn't supposed to be the closer -- Jim Henderson was. But Rodriguez won the job this spring and has been unhittable. He got save No. 13 on Tuesday, tying the most for any player through April. Of course, he had a chance to break that Wednesday. Rodriguez, who has an ERA of 0.00, holds the big-league record with 62 saves in 2008 with the Angels. The Brewers start righty Marco Estrada (2-1, 2.87) in Thursday's series opener in Cincinnati. He has been great on the road, going 1-0 with a 2.04 ERA in three starts. Jay Bruce lights him up, going 6-for-17 with four home runs and eight knocked in. The Reds start Homer Bailey (1-2, 6.15), perhaps the most overpaid pitcher in baseball. He has allowed at least four runs in four of his five starts, and the Reds lost those four. Ryan Braun is a career .360 hitter off him but continues to deal with an oblique strain and probably will sit again. Khris Davis has two homers in eight at-bats off Bailey.
Key trends: Milwaukee is 10-2 in Estrada's past 12 series openers. The Reds are 0-5 in Bailey's past five openers. The under is 7-1 in Estrada's past eight road starts.
Early lean: Normally I'd jump on the Brewers here, but Braun, Jean Segura and Aramis Ramirez all sat out again Wednesday. Thus, I'd wait here. If they play Thursday -- it looks like Segura and Ramirez will return -- take Milwaukee. If not then the Reds.
Rays at Red Sox (-149, 8.5)
Boston is the biggest favorite on the board Thursday behind Jake Peavy (1-0, 2.87). Other than a start against Baltimore on April 20, Peavy has been excellent, although he has given up exactly one home run in all five starts. Peavy started twice against Tampa Bay last year, going 1-0 with a 4.26 ERA. James Loney is a career .323 hitter off Peavy with two home runs and five RBIS in 31 at-bats. Ben Zobrist is a .308 hitter off him. The Rays start lefty Cesar Ramos (1-1, 3.38). He hasn't been good on the road with a 5.00 ERA in nine innings. He pitched eight innings of relief last year against the Red Sox with a 0-1 record and 2.25 ERA.
Key trends: The Rays are 0-5 in their past five road games against righty starters. The over is 9-0 in Tampa Bay's past nine against right-handers. The under is 4-1-1 in Peavy's past six home starts.
Early lean: The Rays are skidding and last in the AL East. Take the Sox, also on the runline at +150.
Braves at Marlins (+123, 7)
Miami is the largest home dog on the board, and I think very good value here behind Henderson Alvarez (1-2, 2.73). He has allowed just two earned runs over his past two starts and is 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA at home this season. True, he did struggle against the Braves in 2013, going 0-2 with a 6.86 ERA in four starts. Freddie Freeman is 5-for-9 with three doubles, a home run and five knocked in off him. Alvarez might pitch around him. Atlanta starts Ervin Santana (3-0, 1.95), and he's simply not as good as his numbers. Santana might be coming back to earth as he allowed a season-high four runs and nine hits last time out against the Reds.
Key trends: Miami is 1-8 in Alvarez's past nine against teams with a winning record. The under has hit in seven of Alvarez's past 11 starts against the NL East.
Take the Fish, who have been very good at home, and the under.
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