Houston Astros vs. Chicago Cubs 04/16

The Astros were finally able to capture their first win of the season on Thursday night. In their win over the Cardinals, Houston held St. Louis to just one total run. On Friday, however, don’t expect the same outcome. With Felipe Paulino taking the mound for the Astros, runs are bound to be falling from the sky. Couple this with the fact that Carlos Silva is starting for the Cubs, and you would expect this to be a high scoring affair. The only thing in the way of a high scoring game is inconsistent offense from both teams. With Alfonso Soriano struggling and the Astros having a generally mediocre lineup, runs being scored is far from a certainty.

If Lance Berkman was not hurt, and Alfonso Soriano was playing to his potential, the over/under in this game would be a lock at 9. With the way things are going, the over/under at 9 is still a great, with the pick being the over. Even the most mediocre MLB offenses can light up the scoreboard when Carlos Silva and Felipe Paulino are pitching. Barring Cy Young performances out of nowhere, I don’t see any reason why this game won’t go over 9. The Astros have finally gained some momentum, the Cubs have their fair share of hitters, and the pitching is below average.

Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Los Angeles Dodgers 04/15

The Diamondbacks won Wednesday night’s game in LA, but the Dodgers should be able to bounce back with a win on Thursday. While Arizona’s Dan Haren is certainly among the league’s elite pitchers, he has been known to struggle from time to time. This was the case in one of his early 2010 starts, and could very well be the case again on Thursday. The Dodgers, however, have good reason to place all of their trust in Hiroki Kuroda. Kuroda dazzled in his 2010 debut, and has been nothing short of spectatcular over the past few years. The Dodgers offense can really wake up when they face Haren on Thursday, giving them the boost that they need to embark on a winning streak.

Both pitchers in Thursday’s match up have had great success against the opposing team. Neither Kuroda nor Haren have had any issues with the opponent, but Haren has not done as well on the road. This looks to be Haren’s only weak spot, if you can even call it that. Nonetheless, both pitchers are absolutely capable of shutting down the offense altogether on Thursday. Regardless, Los Angeles’ offense is much more well rounded. Every spot in the order is a threat, and no bullpen can skate through their tough lineup.

The Dodgers have the edge on Thursday, that is for sure. At -113 on the money line, the Dodgers are definitely a profitable pick. Haren is no slouch on the mound, but the Dodgers bats are too much to handle for virtually any pitcher short of Cy Young himself.

Cincinnati Reds vs. Florida Marlins 04/14

The Cincinnati Reds and Florida Marlins will face off for the third time this week on Wednesday. Cincinatti, an underdog for the entirety of the series, is looking for the sweep. Florida, however, is not going to lie down and take another loss. The Marlins are starting young Chris Volstad. Volstad has shown that he throws hard enough to be a force in the Major Leagues for many years to come. The Reds have been on fire the past few days, but Volstad is the perfect extinguisher. The Reds are starting Homer Bailey. Bailey has faced a lot of adversity in his Major League career. He was a major prospect between 2006 and 2008, but his potential has fizzled out over the past year or two.

The Marlins bats are hungry and could have a feeding frenzy with Bailey. On the other side of the field, the Reds might run into problems trying to hit Volstad. The offensive advantage still goes to the Marlins, even if the Reds have exploited sub par pitching by the Marlins in the first two games of the series. Tuesday night’s game went into extra innings, so the Marlins will look for Volstad to eat up as much time as possible. The Reds should cool off Wednesday as the Marlins light up Bailey.

As was the case with the last game, the Marlins run line is the best bet in this game. The Marlins tend to explode for many runs, so when they win it is usually by a fair margin, even if 2010’s small sample size indicates otherwise. At +155 there is a lot of money to be made with a bet on the -1.5 run line with the Marlins.

Cincinnati Reds vs. Florida Marlins 04/13

The Marlins and Reds face off at 7:10 on Tuesday in the second game of their series. Monday’s game went down to the wire, with Cincinnati just barely escaping with a win. Both teams had opportunities to blow the game wide open. The Marlins steady offense kept them in the game, while the Reds rocky pitching blew every lead that they got. Scott Rolen was dominant on Monday, blasting two home runs. On Tuesday, the Marlins are starting Nate Robertson. Robertson is far from a stud, with a career ERA that approaches 5. The Reds are responding with Bronson Arroyo. Arroyo had a phenomenal start to kick off the 2010 season, but his 2009 was very mediocre. Don’t look to Arroyo’s first start for any indication of his true ability. Even the worst pitchers will throw gems from time to time. Arroyo isn’t a weak pitcher, but he isn’t a stud either.

The Marlins have the clear edge on offense. The Reds do have Jay Bruce and Joey Votto, but their lineup is not a constant threat. Scott Rolen and Brandon Phillips can breakout for big games, but they aren’t as consistent as the Marlins. The Marlins are built around a compilation of solid hitters who can all produce, while the Reds need to rely on just a few hitters to produce all of their runs.

The Marlins could have won Monday, and they should be looking to avenge their close loss on Tuesday. The moneyline is not favorable on either side of this game, but the run line is a great option. If the Marlins win Tuesday, it will probably be by at least a few runs. The game was close Monday, but it doesn’t mean that Tuesday’s game will be close. At +175, the Marlins -1.5 run line is a great pick. They might not cover this run line 50% of the time, but they should cover it enough times to make this a very profitable bet.

Tampa Bay Rays vs. Baltimore Orioles 04/13

The Rays and Orioles are set to battle again on Tuesday. On Monday, Tampa Bay was able to overcome a small one run deficit en route to a 5-1 win in Baltimore. The Orioles have been struggling mightily in 2010. This season was supposed to be a big year for the Orioles, but it has been a major disappointment so far. The Orioles have all of the weapons to win, particularly on offense, but they haven’t been able to produce at all. With that said, their bats can’t remain dead forever. Tuesday they are going to face Jeff Niemann, a pitcher who they have seen many times before. Niemann is far from an easy target, but the Orioles are prone to an offensive explosion.

The Orioles are starting Brian Matusz. Matusz is a young pitcher who has been quite impressive in his young career. He doesn’t look to be the type of pitcher who will occasionally blow up. He is pretty steady in his approach and can shut down virtually any lineup in baseball, the Rays included. If he can handle Crawford and Longoria, Matusz should be able to keep the Orioles in the game.

The Rays have posted a number of comebacks on the Orioles in 2010, but the O’s usually start off with the lead. Since the Orioles are prone to blowing games because of their weak bullpen, the best bet in this game is the first five innings. The Orioles are even money, while the Rays are closer to -120. If the Orioles bats can wake up early, they will lock up this bet.

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