Five to Follow Expert MLB Betting Picks: 8/26/2017, Opening Line Report
You generally only see cross-sport props at various sportsbooks for mega-events. I think Saturday night's Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight qualifies. Does that bout have a realistic chance of being a boring farce? No question, but McGregor having that puncher's chance is why I'll watch. Bovada is offering some cross-sport props associated with baseball games on Saturday. As an aside, I would love a job like that: creating props out of thin air (some books will let you to place a wager). For example, you can get total knockdowns by McGregor at +170 against homers by MLB leader Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins at home vs. the Padres (-250). No question Stanton, who could become just the ninth player to hit 50 homers by the end of August, should be favored there as I doubt McGregor gets a knockdown since it has happened to Mayweather just once in his career. Or completed rounds in the fight (different prices) against strikeouts by Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner (even money), Rangers pitcher Cole Hamels (+180) or the Yankees' Sonny Gray (-160) in their starts Saturday.
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Mariners at Yankees ( -186, 9.5 )
MLB Network game at 1:05 p.m. ET, so you will likely have Gray's strikeout number set by about 3 p.m. if you choose to bet it against the Mayweather-McGregor rounds (-230). I would take the fight. I'm not going into that big Yankees-Tigers brawl Thursday because we don't know any suspensions as of this writing. New York catcher Gary Sanchez is going to get several games but surely will appeal to delay it. Gray (7-8, 3.38) has 111 strikeouts in 120 innings. He has made four starts since being traded to the Yankees, and last Sunday at Boston was his shortest, allowing two runs and seven hits with shockingly zero strikeouts. Gray's string of nine consecutive quality starts came to an end. He has not seen Seattle this year. Kyle Seager is 7-for-28 off him with a homer. The Mariners' Yovani Gallardo (5-9, 5.75) has dropped back-to-back outings, one where he was bombed and one a quality start at Tampa Bay. Gallardo has a 6.32 ERA in his career against the Yankees. Todd Frazier is a career .359 hitter off him with a homer in 39 at-bats. Aaron Judge is 0-for-2.
Key trends: The Mariners are 2-5 in Gallardo's past seven vs. teams with a winning record. The "over/under" is 9-4-1 in Gallardo's past 14 overall.
Early lean: Yankees and under.
Mets at Nationals (-214, 8.5)
Fox Sports 1 matchup at 4:05 p.m. ET. Not that it matters at this point, but New York has activated closer Jeurys Familia from the disabled list. He was arguably the best closer in baseball last year and led the NL in saves but started this year suspended and then missed more than three months with shoulder problems. Even Familia admits whatever he does the rest of this year is building for 2018. The Mets start Robert Gsellman (5-5, 5.65). They have lost the past five times he has taken the mound dating to June 15. Gsellman has started twice since returning from the DL with a torn hamstring and been solid. He lost vs. Washington on June 15 (5 IP, 7 ER). Daniel Murphy is 5-for-8 against him. Nationals lefty Gio Gonzalez (12-5, 2.39) isn't out of the Cy Young race. He has allowed just one earned run over his past four starts. Gonzalez is 2-0 with a 2.03 ERA in two outings this year vs. the Mets. Yoenis Cespedes is 7-for-13 vs. Gonzalez with two homers.
Key trends: The Mets are 0-4 in Gsellman's past four vs. teams with a winning record. The Nats are 1-7 in their past eight in Game 2 of a series. The under is 5-2-1 in Gsellman's past eight.
Early lean: Nats on runline and under.
Rockies at Braves (-120, 9)
All-Star closer Greg Holland has been a big reason why the Rockies are much improved this year and holding down a wild-card spot. Remember, though, that Holland missed all of last year following Tommy John surgery. Maybe he's wearing down as he has four losses and three blown saves (obviously you can get both in one game) in his last seven. Manager Bud Black says he has no plans to make a change right now - the Rox do have Pat Neshek and Jake McGee with closing experience - and Holland did get a save Thursday in Kansas City. Colorado starts rookie lefty Kyle Freeland (11-8, 3.71). On Aug. 15, he took a no-decision vs. the Braves, surrendering three runs over six. Opposite Freeland that day in Denver was Atlanta rookie lefty Sean Newcomb (2-7, 4.13), who also took an ND and gave up three runs over six. Newcomb comes off five shutout innings vs. the Reds for his first victory since late June.
Key trends: The Rockies are 17-40 in their past 57 on the road against lefties. The Braves are 1-4 in Newcomb's past five at home. The under is 6-2 in his past eight at home.
Early lean: Braves and over.
Giants at Diamondbacks (+102, 8.5)
I tend to think the Mayweather-McGregor fight goes the distance (I'm in the minority there), and I'd thus take the rounds, but if there was one pitcher of the three I'd take on chance on for that prop it likely would be the lefty Bumgarner here. Bumgarner (3-5, 2.87) is working on five straight quality starts. He allowed one run and struck out seven over six last time out vs. the Phillies but took a no-decision. He is 0-1 with a 3.21 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 14 innings vs. Arizona in 2017. Paul Goldschmidt is a career .327 hitter vs. Bumgarner with two homers and 13 strikeouts in 52 at-bats. The Diamondbacks' Taijuan Walker (6-7, 3.66) hasn't won since June 21 but threw 5.1 shutout innings Monday at the Mets in a no-decision. He's 1-1 with a 4.76 ERA in three starts this year against the Giants. Hunter Pence is 4-for-9 off him with a homer.
Key trends: The Giants are 0-7 in Bumgarner's past seven vs. the NL West. The Diamondbacks are 1-7 in Walker's past eight. San Francisco is 8-1 in Bumgarner's previous nine in Arizona. The under is 6-2 in his last eight vs. the Snakes.
Early lean: Diamondbacks on runline and under.
Rays at Cardinals (TBA)
Tampa Bay will lose the designated hitter for this interleague matchup. The Cardinals' worst fears have been realized on closer Trevor Rosenthal as he will have Tommy John surgery and thus likely will miss a big chunk of 2018 as well if not all of it. The average recovery time for a pitcher after undergoing Tommy John surgery is 12-16 months. Seung-Hwan Oh, who took the closer's job from a struggling Rosenthal last year only to lose it back early this season, is back in the ninth inning mix along with Matt Bowman and Zach Duke. The Cards start Mike Leake, although there's talk that could change. Leake (7-12, 4.16) has been raked for 19 runs and 28 hits over 12.1 innings in his past three. St. Louis might give Leake one more shot, but there's talk the team could promote top pitching prospect Jack Flaherty to take Leake's spot. Flaherty has a 2.13 ERA between Double-A and Triple-A in 2017. Rays lefty Blake Snell (2-6, 4.42) showed why he was once considered among the top pitching prospects in baseball with seven shutout innings Sunday vs. Seattle with only two hits allowed and eight Ks. After failing to pick up a win over his first 14 starts of the season, Snell has now won two straight games.
Key trends: The Rays are 5-11 in Snell's past 11 on the road. The Cards are 7-1 in their past eight at home vs. a lefty. The over is 4-0-1 in Snell's past five on Saturday.
Early lean: The most recent update I have is it will be Leake. I'd go Rays if that's the case.
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