Bet of the Day – Atlanta Braves at San Francisco Giants

Atlanta Braves (+105) at San Francisco Giants (-115), Over/Under 6.5

We had two bets yesterday on the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Kansas State Wildcats game.  We won the Over and the first leg of our teaser (Detriot Lions +4 is our 2nd leg).  Back to the diamond today for game 2 of the Braves and Giants series.  Last night, Lincecum pitched beautifully and a “possible” umpire error allowed the only and winning run to score for the Giants.  Tonight we get another great pitching match-up and hopefully an exciting game.

The Braves come into this game after squeaking into the playoffs followed by a tough opening loss.  Tonight’s game is a must win.  The Braves haven’t been a great road team in 2010.  On the road they hit .245 with a .325 OBP and .711 OPS for 4.2 runs per game.  They held opponents to a .321 OBP and .724 OPS for 4.1 runs per game but are now 35-47 on the road.  Starting pitcher Tommy Hanson (10-11, 1.174 WHIP) has pitched well but hasn’t had a decision in his last 3 starts.  Hanson is 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA and 0.929 WHIP in his last two starts against the Giants (note: both of those game were in Atlanta).  The Braves will need to buck their road losing trend and beat a good pitcher to win tonight.

The Giants’ win last night was how we expect them to win.  Strong pitching and grinding out a run or two.  The Giants are a good home team.  At home, they batted .257 with a .325 OBP and .745 OPS for 4.2 runs per game.  The Giants allowed a .298 OBP and .651 OPS for 3.3 runs per game.  Starting pitcher Matt Cain (13-11, 1.084 WHIP) got roughed up by San Diego last week (part of the ongoing San Diego in San Francisco curse according my better-half).  That was Cain’s first loss decision in nearly 6 weeks.  Cain gave up 3 runs in 5 innings in Atlanta in his only start against the Braves this year.  Cain will bounce back tonight and the Giants will be tough again at home.

Using home and away data, my baseball model predicts San Francisco 4.02 over Atlanta 2.99 for 7.01 total runs.  The teams get on base at about the same rate; the Giants hit slightly better at home and the Braves draw more walks.  The Giants score more efficiently (no surprise the Braves have had problems all year advancing runners) and their starting and relief pitchers allow fewer runners on base.  The major variance contributors are the Giants scoring efficiency and walks/hits allowed by Tommy Hanson.  What does this mean?  If the Giants play to their mean scoring efficiency, they probably win.  If they are a deviation below their average, it will be a very close game.  Similarly, Hanson has to have a huge performance for Atlanta to win tonight.

Tonight I am taking the home team.  Here’s why.  Atlanta isn’t a good road team and they have had trouble hitting in key spots all year.  The Giants are a good home team; their pitching has been phenomenal at home.  Cain should make a better appearance tonight.  My model predicts the Giants will win 75% of the time in this specific matchup.  Against a -115 line, there is positive betting value with the Giants.  Bet on the San Francisco Giants on the money line for -115.

Feel free to comment or ask a question below or email me at derekbets@gmail.com.  Follow me on Twitter for all my picks.  Good Luck

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Bet of the Day – Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies, Sept. 22, 2010

Atlanta Braves (+135) at Philadelphia Phillies (-145), Over/Under 7.5

Yesterday’s bet, San Diego Padres at LA Dodgers, was winner.  4 wins in a row!  Tonight’s game is the finale in the Braves and Phillies series.  The Phillies took the first two games.  A win tonight will pretty much lock up the NL East.  The Braves were in a much different spot a month ago.  Now they hold a slight lead in the wild card race.  Lucky for the Braves, their next series is in Washington.

The Braves have won 3 of the last 7.  Their bats are cold but their pitching has been decent.  Over the last 7, the Braves batted .244 with a .315 OBP for 3.1 runs per game. The Braves have held teams to a .290 OBP for 3.9 runs per game over the same stretch.  Starting Pitcher Tommy Hanson (10-11, 1.196 WHIP) has been solid of late, but faces a tough test in Philadelphia’s lineup.  Hanson hasn’t given up many hits and walks lately and rarely gives up home runs (note: he has given up a home run in each of his last road starts).  He isn’t as effective on the road, with a 1.315 WHIP.  Hanson has pitched decent against Philadelphia in the past but will need a big start tonight if the Braves want to win.

The Phillies have won 9 straight games.  Manager Charlie Manuel seems to have timed his teams peak well this year.  The Phillies are hot at the plate and on the mound.  Over their last 7 games the Phillies have batted .299 with a .390 OBP for 5.9 runs per game.  Over that stretch they held teams to a .303 OBP for 2.7 runs per game.  Roy Oswalt (13-13, 1.052 WHIP) starts tonight for the Phillies.  Oswalt’s record doesn’t do his 2010 season justice.  In his last 3 games, Oswalt has a 2.05 ERA with a 0.864 WHIP.  Oswalt has had trouble against the Braves in the past, but hasn’t faced them this year.  Oswalt and the Phillies are on form heading into tonight’s game.

Using home and away stats,  my baseball model projects Phillies 4.58 over Braves 3.45 for 8.03 total runs.  On paper, both teams looks similar.  Very close in hits, walks and pitching.  There is one clear difference, scoring efficiency.  The Phillies score 40% of runners on base, while the Braves only score 34%.  Part of this is due to the Phillies high stolen base rate and low strikeouts.  The key variance contributors are the Braves scoring efficiency and Oswalt’s low walks and hits allowed.  What this means is that Oswalt would have to allow more walks and hits than he averages and the Braves would have to score more efficiently.  Both need to be greater than 1 standard deviation.  That indicates the Phillies will be tough to beat tonight.

Tonight I am taking the Phillies.  Here is why.  A sweep here likely lock up the NL West.  The Braves aren’t a great road team.  Oswalt is pitching on form and tonight can win 5 straight starts for the first time since 2007.  Also, I think Phillies manager Charlie Manuel wouldn’t mind sending a message to the Braves before the playoffs.  Bet on the Philadelphia Phillies on the Money Line -145. Follow me on Twitter for all of my picks.  Good Luck!

Bet of the Day – St. Louis Cardinals at Atlanta Braves, Sept 10, 2010 7:35 ET

St. Louis Cardinals (-125) at Atlanta Braves (+115), Over/Under 7.5 runs

As predicted, yesterday’s bet was a very tough line and ended up as a push.  Today, we will look at two desperate playoff teams.  With three weeks to go, both the St. Louis Cardinals (73-65) and Atlanta Braves (80-61) are trailing in their divisions.  The Cardinals roughed up the Braves last night, and tonight send staff ace Chris Carpenter (15-5, 1.158 WHIP) to the mound to face rookie Mark Minor (3-0, 1.481 WHIP).  Every game is critical for both teams.

The Cardinals hit a rough patch in mid-August, but are turning it around.  They have taken 4 of their last 7.  Last night was the first time they had more than 10 hits in the last 13 games.  The Cardinals are 5-0 against the Braves in 2010 outscoring them 36-18.  Starting pitcher Chris Carpenter is rounding back into form.  Carpenter went 7.3 innings allowing 6 hits and 2 runs last time out.  Carpenter doesn’t give up many walks and the Braves’ bats aren’t hot now.  Expect a solid outing from Carpenter.

The Braves have been a strong home team (49-20) this year.  But the Braves have only averaged 3.3 runs per game over their last 7 while allowing 5 runs per game against mediocre competition.  They are slumping but haven’t lost 2 consecutive home games since mid-July.  After his last appearance, starting pitcher Mark Minor doesn’t seem to help the Braves cause.  Minor gave up 6 earned runs on 9 hits last time out.  He hasn’t pitched more than 6 innings in any of his 5 starts.  Can the rookie rebound against the Cardinals ace?

Simulating the game with my baseball model predicted the Cardinals 4.39 over the Braves 3.94 for 8.33 total runs.  The teams have some similarities on paper.  The Braves draw more walks while the Cardinals are a better hitting team.  They are almost identical in scoring efficiency.  The clear difference is starting pitchers.  If Carpenter and Minor both pitch to their average, the Cardinals should win.

Is today’s bet that simple?  Yes and no.  The Braves are tough at home and the Cards haven’t seen Minor before.  But the Cards are playing better now, Carpenter is pitching back into form, the Cardinals have owned the Braves this year, and the Cards have a simulated advantage.  The line is close at -125 and the Cards have enough of an advantage to offer betting value.  Bet on the St. Louis Cardinals on the Money Line -125. Follow me on Twitter for all my picks.  Good Luck!

Consolation Bet of the Day – Atlanta Braves at Florida Marlins, Sept 3, 2010

Atlanta Braves (-120) at Florida Marlins (+110), Over/Under 9.5, 7:10 ET

With the White Sox at Red Sox game postponed, we need a consolation [abbreviated] bet of the day.  We will switch gears to the Atlanta Braves (78-56) at Florida Marlins (67-65).  The Braves are coming off their 1st loss in 6 games.  They batted .302 with a .362 OBP for 6.3 runs per game over the last 7 games.  Kenshin Kawakami (1-9, 1.441 WHIP) returns to the mound for the first time since June 26th.  Kawakami replaces Derek Lowe (sore elbow) for today’s game.  He has been ineffective for most of the year and could be more of a liability than asset today.

The Marlins are coming off a day’s rest and possibly a needed cooling off period.  They were 4-3 in their last 7 with an .333 OBP for 6.7 runs per game.  Andrew Miller (0-0, 1.60 WHIP in 10 innings pitched this year) is also filling in for a starter today (Ricky Nolasco).  Miller has also struggled but was decent in his only start (1 earned run, 3 hits in 5 innings pitched). With today’s pitching crap shoot, a decent start from Miller could go a long way for Florida.

My game simulation projects a close game, Florida 4.46 to Atlanta 4.14 for 8.60 total runs.  The model variance is driven by Florida’s ability to score runs with limited men on base and Kawakami’s high walks and hits allowed.

For today’s consolation Bet of the Day, I am taking the Marlins.  Here’s why.  The Marlins are a home underdog coming off two wins facing a mediocre pitcher.  They also are efficient scorers and have been hitting decent of late.  Bet on the Florida Marlins on the Money Line +110.  Tomorrow’s 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 – NY Mets at Atlanta Braves, August 31, 2010

NY Mets (+135) at Atlanta Braves (-145), Over/Under 7.5 runs, 7:10 ET

Yesterday, like the Phillies lineup, I whiffed on my bet of the day.  It’s a new day.  The NY Mets and Atlanta Braves lock horns today for the 2nd game in their series.  The Mets are teetering on a .500 season, while the Braves are looking to add another game to their NL East lead.

The Mets (65-66) have been hitting better lately, just not when they need it most.  They have a .354 OBP over their last 7 games, but have left 9.4 runners on base per game and scoring only 3.6 runs per game.  They will need more timely hitting against the hot Braves pitching staff.  John Niese (8-6, 1.336 WHIP) has been solid this year and looks to be a key part of the Mets rotation for years to come. Niese is coming off his worst start of the year.  Niese gave up 7 earned runs in 5.7 innings.

Just as many were starting to doubt he Braves (75-66), they look to be on the upswing.   The Braves have won 3 straight, including a win over the Marlin’s Josh Johnson.  Teams win 68.2% of the time when playing at home after 3 straight wins.  The Braves bats are hot with a .351 OBP over their last 7 games.  During this stretch, they scored 7 or more runs in 4 games.  The Braves are surely full of confidence today with hot young starting pitcher, Mark Minor (2-0, 1.167 WHIP).  Minor has struck out 22 batters in 18 innings; including 12 in his latest start.  The Mets haven’t seen Minor’s stuff yet and that should be to the Brave’s advantage.

The results of my baseball model are clear; Braves 4.57 to Mets 3.3 for 7.87 total runs.  The Braves are better in most relevant statistical categories.   The  keys to the model variance are Atlanta’s ability to advance runners and Niese’s walk and hit count.  If Niese isn’t on his game, it could be a long day for the Mets.

Today’s pick should be clear.  I am siding with the Atlanta Braves. The Braves are hot right now.  They have won 3 straight and are playing at home with a fresh arm on the mound.  Bet on the Atlanta Braves on the Money Line -145. Follow me on twitter for all my picks.  Good Luck!

Atlanta Braves at Colorado Rockies – August 25, 2010 3:10 ET

Today’s we are looking at an early game between the Atlanta Braves (73-53) and the Colorado Rockies (65-60).  For a few reasons, it feels like a trap game for Atlanta.  It is the end of a 6 game road trip for Atlanta (Angle #1 for Colorado).  The Braves have lost the first 2 games of the series and are now the favorite in the finale (Angle #2 for Colorado, 53.2% win rate).  The Rockies have won 3 in a row and are playing at home (Angle #3 for Colorado, 68.2% win rate).  Atlanta is the superior team on paper but can they overcome the gods of betting angle fate?

The Braves lead the NL East by 2.5 games but are only 3-4 in their last 7 games.  The Braves have continued to find ways to muster up an offense, but over the last 7 games they have given up 4.4 runs versus their 3.7 runs allowed season average.  They will need to hit today as the Rockies average 3.1 runs per game more at home than on the road (5.7 home vs. 2.6 road).  Jair Jurrjens (5-4, 1.238 WHIP) takes the mound today.  Jurrjens has pitched strong in his last 3 starts allowing 6 runs in 21.3 innings.  Will Jurrjens hot pitching be enough to slow down the home bats of Colorado?

The Rockies have won 3 straight and are 4-3 in their last 7.  Colorado didn’t bat particularly well on the recent road trip but looked to have turned it around at home.  Esmil Rogers (2-2, 1.509 WHIP) gets the start for the Rockies today.  Rogers pitched well last time out, allowing 1 run on 6 hits over 6 innings last time out.  Another step forward would make Colorado tough today.

The simulated results favor Atlanta 4.52 to Colorado 4.03.  This is less than 1 standard deviation difference.  The key driver in the model’s results is in the Atlanta hitting vs. Colorado pitching match up.  The game is likely to be determined by whether Atlanta can drive runners on base home or Rogers can limit hits given up.

Considering the 3 betting angles, the close model results, and betting value, today’s bet is with Colorado. Bet the Colorado Rockies on the Money Line for +115.  Good Luck.

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