Bet of the Day – Philadelphia Phillies at San Francisco Giants, Oct. 19, 2010

Philadelphia Phillies (-115) at San Francisco Giants (+105), Over/Under 6.5

Yesterday’s bet, Texas Rangers at New York Yankees, was a winner.  Like last night, we have a 1-1 series with good pitching.  Phillies’ ace Roy Halladay lost Game 1 at home.  Roy #2, Roy Oswalt pitched great and regained the momentum in Game 2.  This is a key swing game in the series; a must win for the Giants.

As the regular season came to an end, the Phillies quickly became the odds-on favorite to win the World Series.  An easy cruise past the Reds only expanded this public opinion.  On the road, the Phillies have batted .256 with a .326 OBP for 4.7 runs per game scored.  They have allowed a .313 OBP for 4.0 runs per game.  Starting Pitcher Cole Hamels (13-11, 1.153 WHIP) is much improved this year.  Hamels comes off a 9 inning 5 hit shutout over the Reds.  Hamels is a proven commodity in the playoffs.  Hamels should be be good tonight but will the Phillies be able to score on Cain?

The Giants surprised everyone (maybe even themselves) with a Game 1 win in Philadelphia over Roy Halladay.  The Phillies regained their swagger in Game 2.  The Giants will need a big effort tonight to regain the momentum.  At home, the Giants batted .264 with a .324 OBP for4.2 runs per game.  They allowed a .298 OBP for 3.4 runs per game.  Starting Pitcher Matt Cain (13-11, 1.091 WHIP) had a good start against the Braves in the division series.  He was shaky near the end of the season in key games; there is at least a small question in how he will do under pressure.  He has very limited playoff experience.  Cain pitches better at home and it will be easier to settle into the game.

My baseball model predicts Giants 3.7 over Phillies 3.5 for 7.2 total runs.  The Phillies get on base and convert runs more efficiently.  Cain may have a slight edge in starting pitching but the Giants have a clear advantage in the bullpen.  The key variance contributors are the Giants scoring efficiency and the walks and hits allowed by the Giants starting pitching.  The Giants have to advance runners when on base or the Giant pitchers have to limit base runners for a chance to win.

For the 2nd day in a row, I am taking a road favorite.  Here’s why.  The Phillies lost with their ace and bounced back to take the momentum.  Hamels is proven in the playoffs; Cain is not.  The Phillies have a more complete offense; the Giants have had several home runs of late and can’t keep up the offensive production over the long run.  Bet on the Philadelphia Phillies on the money line -115.

Feel free to comment or ask questions below or email me at  Follow me on Twitter for all my picks.  Good Luck!


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 – 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!

San Francisco Giants at Philadelphia Phillies – August 18, 2010 7:05 ET

Today we focus on a battle for the NL wildcard race between the San Francisco Giants (67-53) and Philadelphia Phillies (67-51).  The Giants have lost two straight and need to turn things around for a chance at the wildcard.  Matt Cain takes the mound tonight having pitched well lately but only getting 3 win decisions in his last 10 starts.

In the home dugout, the Phillies have won 3 straight and 7 of their last 10.  Historically, home teams win 68% of the time following 3 straight wins.  Joe Blanton hasn’t been stellar but has found a way to win 3 of the his last 4 starts.  Blanton pitches better at home while the Giants have only won 2 of their last 7 road games.

Based on my simulation results (Giants 4.48, Phillies 4.15), the Giants hold a slight advantage.  This is primarily due to Joe Blanton giving up above average hits and home runs.  The Phillies are drive in more runs and have a scoring efficiency (i.e.Scoring Efficiency = Runs Scored/Base Runners) but Cain is projected to give up 2 less hits and walks.

This is a difficult game to call considering simulation results and  situational trends (e.g. home win streak) don’t agree.  The Giants haven’t proven they can win this time of the year while the Phillies are on a winning streak and know how to win.  The home line is too good so I am going against the model results today.  Take the Phillies on the money line (+110).  Good Luck!

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