Bet of the Day – San Diego Padres at LA Dodgers, Sept. 21, 2010

San Diego Padres (+110) at LA Dodgers (-120), Over/Under 7

Yesterday’s bet, New Orleans Saints at San Francisco 49ers, was a winner.  That’s 3 in a row.  Fingers crossed it keeps going.  Tonight we go back to the diamond for the opener in the Padres at Dodgers series.  Both teams have had a day off.  The game only really matters for the Padres, but since it is divisional, a natural rivalry, and Torre wants to finish above .500 the Dodgers will come to play.

San Diego is now 0.5 games back from the NL West-leading Giants.  Just a few weeks ago they had a 6 game lead.  They have won 3 of their last 7 batting .289 with a .337 OBP for 4.6 runs per game.  Not bad.  Except their opponents batted .318 with a .384 OBP for 6.4 runs over that stretch.  What has carried them all year, is now failing them.  Pitching.  Tonight they send Clayton Richard to the mound (12-8, 1.404 WHIP).  Richard hasn’t recorded a win in his last 4 starts and was rocked last time out (3 IP with 11 hits and 8 earned runs).

This is it for the Padres.  If they can’t get the train back on the tracks in this series, they are done.  Expect a big effort from the team, but I am not enthusiastic about a pitcher returning to form after getting rocked (Richard did snap back earlier in the season, but that was going road to home against a weak team).  Richard does pitch well against the Dodgers (3-0, 3.57 ERA and 1.280 WHIP).

Lucky for the Padres, the Dodgers aren’t playing much better.  The Dodgers have won 2 of their last 7 batting .221 with a .267 OBP for 3.1 runs per game.  Not pretty.  Chad Billingsley (11-10, 1.311 WHIP) takes the mound for the Dodgers.  Billingsley pitched very well last time out (7IP with 6 hits and 1 earned run).  Billingsley also pitches well against the Padres (9-6, 2.78 ERA and 1.209 WHIP).  Billingsley is on form of late.  I don’t think the Dodgers are going to roll over for the Padres.

Here is a snapshot of the Away/Home stats for both teams:

Team OBP Runs Hits Walks BPWHIP SP IP SPWHIP

Padres

.312 4.3 656 227 1.262 5.8 1.665

Dodgers

.329 4.1 644 251 1.303 6.7 1.275

Advantage

LA SD SD LA SD LA LA

My baseball model projects Dodgers 4.57 over Padres 3.73 for 8.35 total runs.  The teams are similar in hitting and scoring.  San Diego is a more efficient scoring team.  The advantage tonight is in the starting pitcher.  Clayton Richard hasn’t been great on the road.  The major variance contributors are the Dodgers scoring efficiency and walks and hits allowed by Clayton Richard.  He doesn’t give up alot of home runs, but he gives up .261 more walks and hits per inning on the road.

Tough game to pick.  I am going against my own model and the data to take the Padres.  Here is why.  It is a must win for the Padres; they have to start this last stretch off well to have a chance.  Billingsley is walk-prone of late. Richard has bounced back before and pitches well against the Dodgers.  The Padres are batting above their average and the Dodgers aren’t playing well.  Bet on the San Diego Padres on the Money Line +110.  Follow me on Twitter for all my picks.  Good Luck!

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Bet of the Day – Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants, Sept 15, 2010 10:15 ET

LA Dodgers (+130) at San Francisco Giants (-140), Over/Under 7

Yesterday’s bet was a loser in extra innings.  First two losses in a row over first 31 days.  Today’s game is the LA Dodgers visiting the San Francisco Giants.  The Giants are now 1.5 games behind the Padres in the NL West division and the Braves for a wild card spot.  The Dodgers are out of the running (unless they can win out and the Padres, Giants, and Rockies all lose out).

The Dodgers held on for a close 1-0 win last night to open the series.  Over their last 7 games, they are batting .173 with a .250 OBP for 2.6 runs per game.   They have won 3 of the last 4 games.  Are they coming out of their slump?  Chad Billingsley (11-9, 1.319 WHIP) has been good this year but only decent of late.  Billingsley gave up 4 earned runs on 6 hits and 5 walks over 5.3 innings in his last start.  He does a good job of limiting runs scored.  The Dodgers are .497 on the year but are only 31-42 on the road.

The San Francisco Giants need every win they can get.  They have won 4 of their last 7 games batting .230 with a .270 OBP averaging 3.0 runs per game.  The Giants are efficient scorers and good home team (42-28, .600).  Matt Cain (11-10, 1.125 WHIP) starts tonight for the Giants.  Cain’s pitching has been better than his record reflects.  He’s been better at home averaging 6.9 innings per game with a 2.70 ERA and 0.993 WHIP.  Cain hasn’t lost at home since June 29th.  Expect a big start tonight from Cain but the Giants need to hit better to ensure a win.

I simulated the game 10,000 times using home and away stats for both teams.  My model predicts San Francisco 4.42 over Los Angeles 3.13 for 7.55 total runs.  The run difference is a 1.5 standard deviation spread. This indicates the betting value is with the Giants at -140 money line.  Digging into the data, the Dodgers are slightly better at the plate but the Giants score more efficiently.  San Francisco is clearly the better pitching team; in this game the model projects San Francisco to allow 8.71 walks and hits while Los Angeles will allow 11.89 walks and hits.  The key variance contributors are the Giants scoring efficiency and the walks and hits allowed by Billingsley.  What this means is if Billingsley pitches to average the Giants should win.

For today’s bet of the day, I am taking the San Francisco Giants.  Here’s why.  The Giants are a good home team and the Dodgers are clearly less effective on the road.  Matt Cain doesn’t allow many baserunners; even less at home.  Chad Billingsley is coming of a loss where he gave up 4 earned runs.  Bet on the San Francisco Giants on the money line -140. Follow me on twitter for all my picks.  Good Luck!

Bet of the Day – Philadelphia Phillies at LA Dodgers, August 30, 2010

Yesterday we picked a Ray’s win.  Through two weeks we are 11-4 and up 6.65 units (i.e. if you bet in $100 units, you would have a $665 profit after two weeks).  Today’s bet of the day is on the improving Phillies visiting the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Philadelphia completed a 3 game sweep in San Diego and now takes a short trip to LA.  The Phillies pitching was excellent; giving up only 3 runs on 18 hits in 30 innings of play.  Roy Halladay (16-9, 1.024 WHIP) will try keep the momentum moving for the Phillies.  Halladay is 3-0 with 1.50 ERA and 0.875 WHIP when starting against the Dodgers.  Halladay has pitched well lately but is coming off his first loss since July 18th.  He didn’t pitch poorly, but had no run support.  Philadelphia averaged 2.6 runs with a .285 OBP over the last 7 games.  It should be noted the Phillies faced 5 pitchers in the top 33 ERAs in those 7 games.  But Dodger starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda is no slouch and the Phillies bats will need some life if they intend to beat the hot hitting Dodgers.

The Dodgers lost 2 of 3 in Colorado over the weekend.  They lost 2 straight after a four-game win streak which is usually a signal of tough times ahead.  With the pending ownership divorce and the departure of Manny Ramirez, it is hard to read where the Dodgers are heading.  They had a .351 OBP and averaged 4.7 runs over the last 7 games (although they didn’t face the toughest pitching).  Hiroki Kuroda (9-11, 1.225 WHIP) has been better than his record implies.  He lost several close games but also had a few blow-ups.  Kuroda is 2-1 with a 3.42 ERA and 0.874 WHIP when starting against the Phillies.

My baseball simulation projects Philadelphia 4.04 to LA Dodgers 3.33 for a total of 7.37 runs.  On paper these teams have very similar batting and bullpen statistics.  The key difference is in Halladay (surprise, surprise!); he pitches on average 1.5 innings deeper with a lower ERA and WHIP.  The only other significant contributor to the model variance is the Dodgers ability to consistently drive in runners. Basically, the model says if Halladay pitches to his normal level, Philadelphia will win.  Can it be that easy?

For today’s bet, I am taking the Phillies.  But not just because of Halladay.  I have 3 reasons.  First, is Halladay.  Second, the Phillies have been facing very tough pitching lately which explains some of the lower batting statistics.  Third, the Dodgers have faced mediocre pitching lately in hitter friendly parks which explains their hot bats.  Bet on the Philadelphia Phillies on the money line at -140.  Follow me on twitter.  Good Luck!

Cincinnati Reds at LA Dodgers – August 20, 2010 10:10 ET

Tonight, the NL Central-leading Cincinnati Reds (70-51) take on the LA Dodgers (62-60).  The Reds are kicking off the 2nd series in a 3 series West coast swing.  The Reds have won 6 straight games averaging 5.9 runs in their last 7.  Homer Bailey has pitched well this year and is coming off a solid outing giving up 0 runs and 3 hits over 6 innings.  Bailey is 1-1 against the Dodgers with a high 1.813 WHIP.

The Dodgers took 2 of 3 from the Rockies in their most recent series.  With only 40 games remaining, the Dodgers are all but out of the playoff race.  Carlos Monasterios will start tonight as Vincente Padilla was scratched.  Monasterios has been up and down this season and gave up 4 runs in 5 innings last time out.  The Dodgers will need Monasterios to pitch well to slow down the hot Reds’ bats.

Simulating this game resulted in a project Reds win.  My model predicted Reds 4.8, Dodgers 4.27.  The projected pitching results was very similar for both teams, but Cincinnati’s ability to drive in runs slightly tipped the scales.

Based on the projected mediocre pitching and hot Cincinnati bats, I am recommending two bets.  Take the Reds on the money line at +105 or better and bet the over on 8 total runs.  Good Luck!

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