I hate to admit it, but the MLB is getting harder and harder to handicap. If it's not one thing, it's another. For example, a starting pitcher barely getting out of the first inning in one piece (hi, Tom Koehler) or an epic collapse in the ninth inning up by four runs (thanks for nothing Texas and Sam Dyson). Pitching staffs these days are built to shorten the game and get into the bullpen where the setup man's setup man sets things up for the closer. You can thank Kansas City for that one. The problem is that teams are deploying even more gas cans to start the game in hopes they are sitting on a gem of a performance. Even if that's the case, the bullpens are shoddy, and there are no unhittable pitchers any more. It makes me mad, but moving forward I will be spending more time capping the bullpen and whose available to pitch on that day.
I'm not going to say I told you so, but, I told you so. I told you to be weary of any bet involving the highly-favored Diamondbacks against the poor Phillies. Sure enough, the Phillies came through late and pulled off the upset. The rest of the picks I gave out were okay, I mean, I went 2-0. But with the way I'm seeing the board right now, that should be the case every night. The Marlins were able to jump all over Mike Pelfrey early, and Adam Conley was able to hold on long enough to get me that First Five Inning win before falling apart in the bottom of the fifth. In the other game, the Dodgers' bats came to life, and we easily soared over the five-inning total of 4.5.
Thursday's MLB card provides us with only 11 games to choose from and three afternoon tilts between the Texas and New York at Yankee Stadium, Minnesota and Chicago at U.S Cellular Field and Los Angeles and Milwaukee at Miller Park. Those games aren't of interest to me as we have two high-profile games going on the night card. The red-hot Cleveland Indians invade Toronto on a 12-game winning streak. If the Jays plan to stay in the AL East race, they can't afford to lose this series. The other marquee matchup is the resurgent Cubs taking on the slumping Mets at Citi field. Both teams will have good pitchers on the bump, and the Cubs will be looking to extract some revenge on the Mets for their NLCS loss last season.
These prop bets are all based on the First 5 Inning lines, and I have the utmost confidence in what I expect to happen. As always, odds and lines are courtesy of 5Dimes.
Chicago Cubs @ New York Mets
Sometimes games occur that are just too simple to pass up. This game appears to be one of them. Unfortunately for most bettors, they live by the theory "if it looks too good to be true, it probably is". I don't believe that. Let's take a look at the facts of this game.
The Chicago Cubs come into this series on the back of a three-game sweep against the lowly Cincinnati Reds. They outscored the Reds 27-12. They got key contributions up and down the lineup, and they weren't reliant on a specific player to get the job done. The pitching staff performed admirably, with the exception of the first game. Jon Lester went 7 2/3 innings on Tuesday, giving up only one run and three hits. Kyle Hendricks followed that up last night by going 6 2/3 innings with two runs on eight hits. Tonight, the Cubs will turn to John Lackey to get the job done and keep the train rolling along. Lackey is 7-4 with a 3.29 ERA on the season and is looking to bounce back from his worst start of the season. He was tagged for seven runs over 4 1/3 innings against the Marlins. Being the veteran that he is, I fully expect him to figure out the problem and get back on track.
The Mets, on the other hand, come into this game a loser of their last four games on the trot. They've lost five of seven dating back to last week against Atlanta. They've also been outscored 35-20 by the Nationals and Braves combined. Before James Loney's two-run homer in the ninth-inning on Wednesday, the Mets went 23 straight innings without scoring. This is a lineup that is struggling mightily right now. And with news that ace pitcher Noah Syndergaard is dealing with a bone spur, the spirits in the dugout can't be too high right about now.
One angle I love exploiting is the "first game back from a road trip" angle, and the Mets fall into this category. They went 2-5 on a seven gamer against Washington and Atlanta and now have to deal with the pressure of facing their home crowd.
Give me the Cubs in this one to get the job done.
Pick: Chicago Cubs -0.5 - First 5 Innings (+100)
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