Bet of the Day – Boston Red Sox at Chicago White Sox, Sept. 28, 2010

Boston Red Sox (-105) at Chicago White Sox (-105), Over/Under 9

Yesterday’s bet, Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears, was a winner.  Slim Pickens on games today.  Speaking of slim, the Red Sox still have the slimmest of hopes for a playoff spot.  But they are playing well.  The White Sox are out but manager Ozzie Guillen is adamant they aren’t packing it in.

The Red Sox have won 4 of their last 7 batting .290 with a .360 OBP for 5.0 runs per game.  The Red Sox are 5.5 games out of the Wild Card; they would need to win out and the Yankees or Rays lose out.  Starting pitcher John Lackey (13-11, 1.451 WHIP) hasn’t been great this year.  He has shown signs of improvement recently (1.146 WHIP in last 3 games) and pitches well against the White Sox.  The Red Sox are a good road team (43-35).  They are batting .263 with a .330 OBP for 5.0 runs per game.  Their weakness is their bullpen (1.469 WHIP with 13 of their total 19 blown saves in road games).  Expect the Red Sox to play to win today but they will need a good outing from Lackey and the bullpen.

The White Sox haven’t been great down the stretch.  They have won 4 of their last 7 but have only hit .233 with a .275 OBP for 2.7 runs per game.  The White Sox swept the previous series over the Red Sox (that sweep came during a long winning streak).  The White Sox start Edwin Jackson tonight.  Jackson (9-12, 1.408 WHIP) is coming off good win at Oakland (7 IP, 5 hits and 2 earned runs).  Jackson hasn’t faced Boston this year but hasn’t done well in the past (2-4, 1.804 WHIP).  It’s hard to gauge if the White Sox are showing up tonight or not.

Using home/away stats, my baseball model predicts Chicago 5.36 over Boston 4.91 for 10.27 total runs.  These teams are extremely close on paper in all categories.  Both teams score very efficiently and field mediocre pitching tonight.  I also ran the model using total stats.  The projected score based on all stats is Boston 5.07 over 4.87 for 9.94 total runs.  Boston gets on base more consistently and scores slightly more efficiently.

Tonight I am taking the Boston Red Sox.  Here’s why.  The Red Sox are hitting well.  The Red Sox have a small playoff chance and need to win.  Chicago has nothing to play for; they aren’t playing a division leader so I am not really sold they want to play the spoiler either.  Edwin Jackson can have control issues and faces an excellent on-base team.  Bet on the Boston Red Sox on the money line -105.  Follow me on Twitter for all my picks.  Good Luck!

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Bet of the Day – Chicago White Sox at Boston Red Sox, Sept 4, 2010 Game 1

Chicago White Sox (+135) at Boston Red Sox (-145), Over/Under 8, 1:05 ET

This game was postponed yesterday, but the consolation Bet of the Day was a winner.  Today I am going to update and repost this game, but also post a college football game.  The White Sox (73-60) and Boston (76-58) will play two games in Boston today.  Both teams need every win for a wild card chance.  The teams are in similar playoff spots and look very close on paper.  Also, Manny Ramirez (with a new haircut?) returns to Boston on an AL team.  But the crowd won’t be as charged for an early afternoon game as they would have been last night.

The White Sox have won 3 games in a row and 5 of their last 7.  During that stretch, they have batted .314 with a .382 OBP averaging 6.7 runs per game.  John Danks (12-9, 1.181 WHIP) takes the mound following a rocky last outing (4.3 IP giving up 8 earned runs with 3 home runs).  Danks has been strong throughout the year but appears to be a bit off form coming into tonight’s game.  Will the White Sox bats be enough if Danks tanks?

The Red Sox have been mediocre of late; winning only 3 of their last 7.  That did include games at Tampa Bay and the rejuvenated Baltimore Orioles.  They batted .245 with a .291 OBP over that stretch.  A return home and new staff ace Clay Buchholz (15-5, 1.186 ERA) taking the mound may be the needed jolt.  Buchholz has been excellent for most of the year and hasn’t had a loss decision since July 21st.  Buccholz doesn’t allow many hits or home runs and this is his first meeting against the White Sox in 2010.

On to the fun (game simulations).   My baseball model projects a score of Boston 4.36 to Chicago 4.23 for 8.59 total runs.  As mentioned earlier, when reviewing the total stats these teams look very similar.  Boston has an advantage in drawn walks and bullpen, while the White Sox are more efficient scoring.  With a +135/-145 money line, this would indicate the value is with Chicago…….But, I thought I would dig deeper in the stats.  Changing my simulation to use home/away data produced much different results: Boston 4.44 to Chicago 3.01 for 7.45 total runs with a 2 deviation spread in the score.  The key difference here is that Boston is slightly more efficient scoring and the bullpen has performed better at home.  The biggest change is in Chicago’s scoring efficiency: 0.399 for All games vs. 0.301 for road games.  Chicago has clearly been less effective at the plate in road games.

Although Chicago is coming off a sweep of Cleveland, I am siding with the Red Sox today.  Here is why.  First, Buchholz continues to pitch well while Danks appears to be off form.  Second, Chicago has been much less effective at the plate in road games.  Third, Boston finds ways to score even when they don’t hit.  Fourth, Boston has faced tougher games of late which may skew recent results/statistics.  Bet on the Boston Red Sox on the Money Line -145 in Game 1.  Today’s non-repost game will be college football so send your suggestion for Bet of the Day.  Follow me on twitter for all my picks.  Good Luck!

Bet of the Day – Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays, August 29, 2010

Boston Red Sox (+130) at Tampa Bay Rays (-140), Over/Under 8.5 runs
August 29, 2010 8:05 ET

Yesterday’s bet was a winner.  Let’s hope for the same as we return to Tampa for the Boston Red Sox (74-56) and Tampa BayRays (79-50) series finale.  Today’s game could be the biggest game of the season for Boston.  With yesterday’s loss, they are now 5.5 games behind the Rays and Yankees.  With only 32 games remaining, a loss today could be the first ring of Boston’s death knell.  In the opposite dugout, Tampa Bay could be on cruise control to the playoffs with a win today.

Fighting the injury bug all year, Adrian Beltre tweaked his hamstring in yesterday’s loss.  The 3rd baseman and key bat in the Boston lineup will likely start but his effectiveness is the unknown.  Boston was slumping at the plate coming into this series, but has had 21 hits in 2 games during this series.  Their problem hasn’t been getting men on base, it has been advancing them.  Boston has left 15 runners on base in these 2 games (a problem they have had all year-long in road games).  Starting pitcher John Lackey (12-7, 1.491 WHIP) has been consistently mediocre this year.  He was sharp last time out and generally pitches pretty deep into games.  Lackey has a tendency to walk runners in road games.  This is a definite concern as the Rays lead the league in drawn walks.

The Tampa Bay Rays are in a mild batting slump (.310 OBP and averaging 4.1 runs in last 7 games).  Fortunately, the Rays starting and bullpen pitching has been consistent (1.24 WHIP on the season) and they continue to find ways to score and get hits in key situations.  James Shields (12-11, 1.396 WHIP) starts for the Rays today.  Shields had a rough start to the year but has come into form of late (e.g. allowed 7 earned runs over his last 25 home innings).  Shields hasn’t been stellar against Boston this year going 1-2 with a  5.03 ERA.  With the Red Sox backed into a corner, the Rays will need a good outing today from Shields.

My baseball model simulated the game at Tampa Bay 5.09 to Boston at 4.57 for 9.63 total runs.  The model projects similar walks and hits for both teams but Boston is the driver for both.  The Red Sox are clearly the superior hitting team, but Lackey and the Boston bullpen’s high WHIP opens the window for the Ray’s creative offense.  There are two key contributors to the variance in the model: Boston’s ability to advance runners and James Shields.  If either of these are above average, you will likely have the winner.

The question remains, Who should I bet on today?  I won’t take the easy way out and give you a total bet.  For today’s bet of the day, I am going to take the Rays on the money line.  Here’s why: Boston is in a bit of a hitting slump.  Boston has left runners on base all year.  James Shields has been solid of late and even better at home.  The Rays bullpen is superior (1.168 WHIP on the season).  Last, the Ray’s are one of the most efficient scoring and timely hitting teams in the league.  Bet on the Tampa Bay Rays on the money line (-140).  Get all my picks on twitter.  Good Luck!

Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays – August 27, 2010 7:10 ET

We easily covered our first football pick last night.  Today we have several interesting baseball series starting, so we are heading back to diamond.  The Red Sox and Rays have identical records over their last 7  games (4-3) and this series feels like the kickoff to the playoff race.

The Red Sox are 5.5 games back in the AL East, the next 12 games could determine their playoff destiny.  The Red Sox do play well on the road (33-29), with a .333 OBP and 0.38 scoring efficiency.  They will need all the run support they can get as starting pitcher Jon Lester (13-8, 1.184 WHIP) is coming off a 2 innings 9 run shelling.  Lester was pitching well prior to that start and will need to regroup quickly if the Red Sox want to win tonight.

The Ray’s David Price (15-5, 1.256 WHIP) hasn’t been stellar of late and occasionally has control problems.  But the Rays don’t have the same injury problems and can find creative ways to score when their bats are not hot.  They lead the league in drawn walks (530) and stolen bases (150) and have a league low grounded into double plays (74).  The question mark will be Price’s control and the Red Sox’s bats.

My baseball model predicts an unusually close game; Boston 4.32 to Tampa Bay 4.3 for a total of 8.62 runs.  A quick look at the data behind the model confirms the close score.  Boston hits better, Tampa Bay scores more efficiently.  Boston’s starting pitcher allows fewer walks and hits, while Tampa Bay’s bullpen is more consistent and efficient.  Tampa Bay is a mild favorite on the money line and there doesn’t appear to be much value on either side.  What to do?

Considering that both teams know how to score runs, both pitchers underperformed last time out, and the simulation predicts the total to be 1.6 runs above the current betting total (2 standard deviations), today’s bet is pretty clear.  Bet the Red Sox/Rays Over 7 runs.  Follow me on twitter for all my picks.  Good Luck!

LA Angels at Boston Red Sox – August 19, 2010 7:10 ET

Both the Angels and Red Sox need wins and luck to get into the playoffs.  The Angels have dropped 3 straight and remain 8 games behind the Rangers in the AL West.  Ervin Santana takes the mound tonight.  Santana won 4 of his last 5 starts and averages 6.7 innings pitched per start with a 1.331 WHIP (Walks and hits per inning pitched).  The Angels are 4-4 against Boston when Santana starts.  The Angels are going to need more than Santana to slow down the bats of the Red Sox.  The Angels have been inconsistent at the plate and don’t hit for many extra bases (241) or draw many walks (337).

Though injury plagued all season, the Red Sox have won 2 straight and 6 of their last 10.  Josh Beckett hasn’t had a great year and his last 2 starts haven’t been gems.  Beckett is only 4-4 when starting against the Angels but has a strong 1.188 WHIP in those games.  The Red Sox are going to need an improved performance from Beckett tonight but have hot bats and a fresh bullpen in their favor.

My game model simulated the game Boston 4.83 to LA 4.61.  These results don’t indicate an automatic play but what can be extrapolated is that Boston is the driver on both sides of the results.  Beckett’s sub-par performances and high number of hits result in a high walk and hit project for LA, while the superior hitting of Boston is expected to produce similar results.  These results put more weight on situational trends.

The trends that seem to standout are that Boston has won the first 2 games in the series, LA has lost 3 straight, and Boston’s bullpen has thrown less than 2 innings in each their last 3 games.  Although the line is a bit longer than I would prefer, I like that Boston will have fresh bullpen and LA is on a losing streak.  Today’s bet is Boston Red Sox on the money line at -145.  Good Luck!

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