Five to Follow MLB Betting: Wednesday, July 2, 2014 Opening Line Report
by Alan Matthews - 7/1/2014
At Sportsbook.ag , the Oakland Athletics (+160) and Detroit Tigers (+300) are the two American League pennant favorites. Of course, they have met in each of the past two ALDS, with the Tigers winning each series in Game 5. Wednesday's matchup will be the last time they play in 2014 unless there's a postseason rematch. Here's a look at that matchup and four other interesting games.
A's at Tigers (-133, 8.5)
The guy who totally dominated and beat the A's in those two Game 5s of the ALDS? That would be Justin Verlander, who didn't allow a run in either over 17 combined innings with 21 strikeouts and only six hits. He starts the finale, and it looks like Verlander (6-7, 4.80) is close to back to normal after a rough month or so. He has had two straight quality starts, striking out eight in each. He hadn't had a game with eight punchouts since mid-April. Verlander missed the A's when the Tigers were out there earlier this season. Yoenis Cespedes is 3-for-6 career off him but not a lock to play after leaving Monday's game with a hamstring injury. The A's say it's minor, but with this a getaway day game it wouldn't be surprising to see Cespedes sit or simply pinch-hit. Jesse Chavez (6-4, 2.94) starts for Oakland. He lost to the Tigers on May 29, allowing three runs and eight hits over six innings.
Key trends: The A's have won six straight Wednesday games. The Tigers are 1-5 in Verlander's past six on Wednesday. Detroit is 7-2 in Verlander's past nine against Oakland.
Early lean: Verlander at only -133 at home? This line is going to be at least -140 by first pitch in my opinion. Take it now against a team he has owned.
Mariners at Astros (-102, 8.5)
Not like Houston is going to win anything this season -- 2017 it will, according to Sports Illustrated -- but they avoided disaster when expected All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve was hit in the elbow with a pitch on Monday. He had some swelling but said he didn't expect to miss much if any time. Again, though, this is a getaway day game, so you might see Bo Porter sit Altuve, the AL leader in average and steals. Altuve is 0-for-4 career off Seattle starter Chris Young (7-4, 3.15). The M's have won his past three starts, with Young allowing just two combined runs. He has been a godsend. Young faced the Astros in April, allowing three runs over seven innings. Brad Peacock (2-4, 4.21) goes for Houston. He faced the Mariners on May 2, allowing four runs over six innings. Kyle Seager is 5-for-14 with a homer and five RBIs off him.
Key trends: The Mariners are 0-4 in Young's past four road starts against teams with a losing record. The Astros are 4-1 in Peacock's past five at home. The "under" is 10-1 in Young's past 11.
Early lean: "Under" at +100.
Indians at Dodgers (-161, 7)
Here's another getaway day game where a handful of regulars could get the day off. One is surely going to be L.A. shortstop Hanley Ramirez. He has only pinch-hit a few times in the past week or so with a calf injury, yet the Dodgers aren't planning on putting him on the DL. Lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu (9-4, 3.12) starts for the Dodgers here. He has had three straight quality starts, but L.A. lost the last one. Ryu has never faced the Tribe or any Indians hitters. Trevor Bauer starts for Cleveland. Bauer (2-4, 4.39) is from North Hollywood and pitched at UCLA, so this will be a big start for him. The Tribe have lost his past two outings. Bauer has never faced the Dodgers.
Key trends: The Indians are 3-13 in the past 16 against lefties. The Dodgers have won four straight Game 3s of a series. The "under" is 4-0-1 in Ryu's past five.
Early lean: I like a Tribe upset here, with Bauer pitching one of his best games in front of friends and family.
Mets at Braves (-182, 7)
Atlanta will be without catcher Evan Gattis for at least the next two weeks with a bulging thoracic disc in his back. There's a chance he might need surgery, which obviously would knock him out for quite a while. That would be a big blow to the Braves as Gattis is hitting .290 with 16 home runs. It's Julio Teheran (7-5, 2.34) on the mound for Atlanta. The Braves had lost three straight of his starts until he held the Phillies to an earned run over seven innings last time out. Teheran hasn't faced the Mets this year. Lucas Duda is 3-for-7 with a double and homer off him. Jacob deGrom goes for the Mets. DeGrom (1-4, 3.62) has allowed just two runs over 13.2 innings in his past two. He has never faced the Braves.
Key trends: The Braves are 1-8 in their past nine Wednesday games. They are 13-3 in Teheran's past 16 against the NL East. The under is 5-1 in his past six against the NL East.
Early lean: Hard to explain Atlanta's troubles on Wednesdays, but I'd take the Braves at +115 on the runline with Teheran shutting down the Mets.
Phillies at Marlins (+117, 7)
The Phillies are back in last in the NL East and have a veteran-laden overpaid roster and a farm system that badly needs a jolt of talent. Lefty Cole Hamels would certainly bring that young talent in a trade even though he has around $90 million still owed to him for four more seasons after this one. You hear rumors the Red Sox could deal for Hamels as insurance if Jon Lester leaves. Hamels (2-4, 2.84) has a 1.86 ERA over his past 10 starts. He is 0-0 with a 3.86 ERA in two starts against Miami this year. Jarrod Saltalamacchia is 4-for-11 with two homers and a double off him. Tom Koehler gets the nod for Philly. Koehler (5-6, 3.70) pitched in Philly in his last start, allowing two runs over six innings. He hasn't won since June 4.
Key trends: The Phillies are 2-5 in Hamels' past seven road starts. The Marlins are 11-4 in their past 15 at home against lefties. The Phils are 0-4 in Hamels' past four in Miami.
Early lean: The Fish seem to have Hamels' number, so take them as solid underdog value.
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