Around the first of each month, Bovada releases updated baseball awards odds. I don't think the favorites will surprise you. For the AL Cy Young, Seattle's Felix Hernandez was the +150 favorite, with Houston's Dallas Keuchel (+250) right behind. For AL MVP, the Angels' Mike Trout is the +200 favorite to repeat, with Detroit's Miguel Cabrera at +400. I rather like Toronto's Josh Donaldson at +900 because I think the Blue Jays are going to trade for pitching and win the AL East, and that would boost Donaldson's stock. For the NL Cy Young, Washington's Max Scherzer is the +300 favorite, just ahead of the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw (+350). Kershaw doesn't have Cy Young numbers yet, but obviously the books expect him to start dominating (he is starting to). And the no-brainer favorite for NL MVP is Washington's Bryce Harper at +200, with Arizona's Paul Goldschmidt second at +400. It's definitely Harper's to lose.
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Padres at Reds (-170, 7)
This originally looked to be the best pitching duel on Sunday as tough-luck Andrew Cashner (2-8, 3.46) was to start for San Diego. He gets the lowest run support in the National League, as I'm sure you can tell from his record and ERA. But Manager Bud Black swapped Cashner, who started Saturday, and Odrisamer Despaigne (3-3, 4.56). Although Despaigne has been excellent of late, allowing just three earned runs over 20 innings in his past three outings. He's not a big strikeout guy. The Cuban has never faced the Reds. The Reds' Johnny Cueto (3-4, 2.90) had two weeks in between starts due to some elbow stiffness but looked good on Tuesday, holding the Phillies to one earned run and five hits over six innings. Justin Upton is 6-for-18 with two solo homers off him, while Matt Kemp is 6-for-13 with two solo dingers as well.
Key trends: The Padres are 2-5 in Despaigne's past seven on the road. The Reds are 1-7 in their past eight on Sunday. The "over/under" has gone over in four of Despaigne's past five on the road. The under is 4-1 in Cueto's past five vs. San Diego.
Early lean: Reds and under.
A's at Red Sox (-151, 8.5)
He made his debut on Friday with two scoreless innings, but I want to touch on Oakland's Pat Venditte. He was called up earlier that day from Triple-A. Why is he important? Venditte is an ambidextrous pitcher and his glove is ambidextrous as well with two thumb holes. No pitcher had thrown with both arms since Montreal's Greg Harris in 1995. I was curious if there was a rule whether Venditte could switch mid-batter but now know he can't unless there's pinch-hitter during an at-bat. He has to tell the umpire before the batter steps in which arm he will throw with. There was some confusion on Friday when Red Sox switch-hitter Blake Swihart came to the plate as to which arm Venditte wanted to use (he went right). What a weapon that guy can be. Kendall Graveman (3-2, 5.56) is scheduled to start for the A's, and they have won his past three. He has never faced Boston. The Sox go with Clay Buchholz (3-6, 3.82), who has really looked good of late. He shut out the Twins over eight innings last time out and hasn't given up more than two earned in his past four. Brett Lawrie might get the day off for Oakland as he's just 3-for-25 off Buchholz.
Key trends: The A's are 4-0 in Graveman's past four on the road. Boston is a crazy 3-13 in Buchholz's past 16 vs. teams with a losing record. The under is 4-1 in his past five at home. The Sox have won his past four vs. Oakland.
Early lean: Red Sox and under.
Rays at Mariners (+121, 7)
Back at the end of spring training, the Rays and Mariners swapped pitchers, with Erasmo Ramirez headed to Tampa in exchange for lefty prospect Mike Montgomery -- he was part of that big Tampa/Kansas City deal in December 2012 that netted the Rays Wil Myers (now in San Diego) and the Royals James Shields (also now a Padre). Montgomery, once a Top-50 prospect, never made it to the majors with Tampa but made his debut Tuesday for Seattle against the Yankees as he was called up from Triple-A to replace injured James Paxton. Montgomery looked good, allowing a run and four hits over six innings. It's Chris Archer (6-4, 2.01) for Tampa, and he has been arguably the AL's best pitcher over his past five starts as Archer has given up just four total runs and struck out 47. He whiffed a career-high 15 last time out in a win over the Angels. He took a no-decision May 27 vs. the Mariners despite not allowing a run and only two hits, striking out 12, over eight innings.
Key trends: The Rays are 5-0 in their past five against lefties. They are 12-2 in Archer's past 14 on the road. The under has hit in four of his past six against teams with a losing record.
Early lean: Mariners (only because I like their lineup better) and under.
Marlins at Rockies (-124, 11)
I'm calling another Giancarlo Stanton bomb in this game. He destroyed one in the thin air of Denver on Friday and gets a struggling pitcher in Kyle Kendrick, who replaces a bumped Jorge De La Rosa. The Rockies haven't yet said why he was pushed back to Tuesday, although he did recently miss a start with a hand/finger injury. Kendrick (2-7, 6.55) might be the worst starter in the NL. He has allowed at least four runs in eight of his 11 starts. Stanton does struggle against him, going 3-for-26 with one dinger, but that's when Kendrick used to be decent. Martin Prado is 10-for-26 with a homer off him. It's Jose Urena (0-2, 7.24) for the Marlins in just his third career start. This game sure looks like a shootout on paper.
Key trends: The Rockies are 1-6 in Kendrick's past seven. The over is 8-3 in his past 11.
Early lean: I believe this is the first 11 total of the season. That's crazy high, but I'm still going over. Really have opinion on the side. Do that Stanton prop, though.
Cardinals at Dodgers (-157, 6.5)
This is your ESPN Sunday night game so will have live betting at the books -- maybe do a parlay with the NBA Finals, which start around the same time. If you haven't seen Dodgers rookie Joc Pederson yet, tune in for him. I assumed the Cubs' Kris Bryant would be the NL Rookie of the Year this season but Pederson is among the NL home run leaders and plays a great center field. That will be a good battle to watch the rest of the way. It's Lance Lynn (4-4, 3.03) for St. Louis. He had his best start of the season last time out, shutting out Milwaukee on five hits over 7.2 innings. Yasiel Puig might be back off the DL for this game and is 2-for-3 off Lynn. Adrian Gonzalez is 2-for-8 with two RBIs. The Dodgers' Zack Greinke (5-1, 1.97) hasn't personally gotten a win in his past five starts despite pitching great in four of them. Matt Carpenter is 4-for-12 with a homer off him. Matt Holliday is 7-for-25 with two homers.
Key trends: The Cards are 1-7 in Lynn's past eight on the road. The Dodgers are 6-0 in Greinke's past six against teams with a winning record. The over is 6-1 in Lynn's past seven on Sunday. The under is 5-1 in his past six vs. L.A.
Early lean: Dodgers and under.
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