Posted Tuesday, August 21, 2012 03:21 PM
Posted Sunday, July 03, 2011 06:43 AM
The Tampa Bay Rays enter tonight's game en fuego, having scored a whopping 42 runs during their current 5-game winning streak. By now everyone is familiar with the heartwarming story of how this resilient team picked themselves up after being humiliated in Seattle last Wednesday and then made their way to Anaheim to spend the weekend kicking the crap out of the crappy Angels. Everyone is also very familiar with the Rays' best pitcher, David Price, who enters tonight's home game with a glittering won loss record of 16-4. He currently leads the majors in wins. The man has pitched at least 7 innings in each of his last 11 starts, and allowed a scant 15 earned runs during that time. Pretty awesome, right? And it is, but everybody knows about it, and of course the oddsmakers do, too. So, for the privilege of betting on this red-hot team and its robot named Price, bettors so inclined must lay -260 and up on the Rays to win tonight's game, or, if they want to "avoid that juice", still must lay a bloated -1.5 -130 and up on the runline. Okay, so the price tag on the Rays is steep, but as we all know, you only pay juice if you lose.
Please raise your hand if you detected any sarcasm at all in that paragraph.
Oh, come on! I need to see more than hands that! Yikes! Oh, well. I'll keep going anyways.
Tonight's supposd punching bag for the Rays is the Kansas City Royals, who at 54-67 on the season, are right around where they seem to be every season, buried somewhere in the AL Central with no postseason hopes to help them get out of bed in the morning. Tonight's starting pitcher is a man very few bettors have any respect for, Luke Hochevar. A cursory look at his stats explains why. A 7-11 record and 5.24 ERA in 2012 is nothing for any Rays bettor to be scared of. But that's why I'm here. I'm here to shine a light on why the Royals with Hochevar are a FAR stronger bet tonight than probably anyone imagines.
Here's the bottom line - Luke Hochevar and the Royals are a legitimately dangerous opponent any time he starts after the Royals have lost his last two starts. So far, this situation has come up five times this season, and tonight will be the sixth. Following back-to-back losses in games started by Hochevar, here's what the Royals have done in 2012:
April 25th - beat the Indians in Cleveland 8-2 as a +130 dog (Hochevar 6.1 IP, 2 ER)
May 12th - beat the White Sox in Chicago 5-0 as a +150 dog (Hochevar 7 IP, 0 ER)
May 27th - beat the Orioles in Baltimore 4-2 as a +130 dog (Hochevar 4.2, 1 ER, pulled after 100 pitches)
June 14th - beat the Brewers at home 4-3 as a +105 dog (Hochevar 7.1 IP, 3 ER)
July 31st - beat the Orioles at home 8-3 as a -120 favorite (Hochevar 6 IP, 3 ER)
That's a nice 5-0 for a team that has won only 6 of Hochevar's 19 other starts! This little trend is nice, but it gets even better because this is nothing new for Hochevar and the Royals. Over the last three seasons, Hochevar has started 16 times after the Royals lost his last two starts. The Royals have gone 13-3 in those 16 games. Pretty impressive for a club that's 13 games under .500 this year, finished 20 games under last year, and 28 games under in 2010! In 11 of those 16 games, the Royals were underdogs (the average price was +142). They won 9 of them.
Now rumor has it that a lot of guys think they're stealin' tonight with Rays runline, but before they take that plunge, they might want to know that in those 16 games mentioned above, the Royals went an incredible 15-1 covering the +1.5 runs. Think about this. Over the last three seasons of baseball, people laying the runline against Kansas City when they're in danger of losing a third consecutive Hochevar start have been ROASTED nearly every time! Fifteen out of sixteen! And tonight, Kansas City is again in danger of losing a third consecutive Hochevar start.
Posted Tuesday, February 15, 2011 12:41 PM
After betting against Cliff Lee twice in the month of June, I finally smartened up last week and sent it on the Phillies -1.5 +175 the night Lee shutout the Red Sox, 5-0. With that latest masterpiece, Cliff Lee completed one of the greatest months any starting pitcher has ever submitted. Check it out:
21 hits allowed in 42 innings pitched
28 strikeouts/7 walks
0.21 ERA (he gave up one lonely run for the whole month!)
5 wins 0 losses
32 consecutive shutout innings
3 straight shutouts
That's not human. Who in their right mind would dare bet against this man right now? Well, maybe me. I had the Jays yesterday +160 and +1.5 -105, and it wasn't exactly a confidence-inspiring performance, but I think the time may be ripe for Lee to go out and have himself a terrible outing.
Prior to his June 22nd start in St. Louis, I noticed something about Lee's pitch counts this season. From April 25th to May 6th, Lee threw a total of 332 pitches in three starts. In his next start, going on 4 days rest, Lee was so-so, lasting just 6 innings and 82 pitches while giving up 7 hits and 3 earned runs to the Marlins. In his next three starts after that, Lee threw a ridiculous total of 356 pitches! That seemed to catch up to him in his next start, which took place on May 31st in Washington. Again going on 4 days rest, Lee got shelled by the Nationals, allowing 7 hits, 3 walks, and 6 earned runs before getting knocked out in the 6th inning of a 10-2 loss.
Then came the month of June. The first three victims were the Dodgers, Cubs, and Marlins. Lee threw 347 pitches in beating them all. That's where I decided to try and fade him off of three straight taxing starts. Lee was scheduled to pitch June 22nd in St. Louis, and was a -150 favorite against the Pujols-less Cardinals. The one thing I didn't like about the situation, though, was that Lee was going on 5 days rest instead of 4. I decided to plow ahead with my Lee fade anyway, taking the Cards +145. Big mistake. Instead of sputtering, Lee used the extra day of rest to his advantage and went 9 innings in shutting out the Deadbirds on a whopping 126 pitches. I felt shame.
So, I looked ahead to Lee's next turn in the rotation to see if I might try fading him off of 4 starts in which he'd thrown a staggering 473 pitches. But I saw that his next start, which was last Wednesday against the Red Sox, would again have him enjoying 5 days of rest. So instead of betting against him, I went with him, and Lee was The Man once again, pitching another shutout, this time throwing 112 pitches. I felt pride.
But now I'm again contemplating an unthinkable fade of Cliff Lee. This time around, he's taking the ball in Toronto after throwing 585 pitches in his last 5 brilliant starts, except this time, he's going on 4 days of rest. In his five June starts, Lee enjoyed pitching on 5 days rest three times, including the last two. Now, though, I think he's going to show up with much less than his best stuff. In fact, this time he's not even getting a full 4 days. Lee is getting shorted six hours with the 1 ET start instead of the usual night game starting time. Most everyone is expecting another string of zeroes across the scoreboard, but I'll be very surprised if he enjoys another great start.
Posted Tuesday, December 28, 2010 06:07 PM
I just took the sorry Nets +8.5 -110 and ML +365. For those of you who don't know, I frequently get roped into taking big numbers against the mighty Spurs and I never win. No, seriously, never. Check out San Antonio's last 10 games:
January 24th at Golden State - I unloaded on the Warriors +5.5 and ML +200. The Spurs won by 11.
January 26th at Utah - I stupidly took the bitch Jazz +4.5 -108. The Spurs won by 7.
January 29th at home ve. Houston - I unloaded on the Rockets +8.5 and +370. The Spurs won by 13.
February 1st at Portland - I didn't bet anything on this day. The Spurs lost by 13.
February 3rd at the Lakers - I was going to bet the Lakers -3, but didn't. But then at halftime, with the game tied, I took the Lakers -2. The Spurs won by 1.
February 4th at Sacramento - I placed a small bet on the Kings in the first half before realizing I was going to lose again, so I didn't take it any further. The Spurs killed them.
February 8th at Detroit - I fell for the Pistons +7.5. Close game for most of the way, but the Spurs outclassed them in the end by 11.
February 9th at Toronto - Even as I was placing my foolish bets on the Raptors +8 and +305, I knew I was going to lose. And I did. The Spurs entered the 4th quarter down by 3 and won by 11.
February 11th at Philadelphia - I liked the Sixers +3.5 in this game but I was at my threshold of pain when it came to the Spurs. Even knowing the Sixers were a quality home dog, I nevertheless stayed away. It felt weird, like deep down I just didn't want to win. The Spurs lost by 6.
February 12th at Washington - Even I wasn't silly enough to take the Wizards in this matchup. The Spurs won by a lot.
So why did I side tonight with another miserable team against the methodical, merciless Spurs? I'm not sure, but maybe I'm trying to lose on purpose. It's the only explanation that makes sense to me. Bookmaker is doing me no favors either by inviting me to take super juicy moneyline prices against San Antonio. All day long I was tempted into grabbing their +355 and then they got me when they upped the ante to +365 a few minutes before I started typing this.
My bets aren't small tonight, so if you're smart, you know what to do here!
Posted Sunday, December 19, 2010 10:25 AM
I've got to hand it to the Boston Celtics. For the fourth season in a row, they are a great team led by three future Hall of Famers who are all still going strong. Today they sit at 23-5, a remarkable achievement given that they've not only done without their starting center for all 28 games, but they've also been missing other pieces for at least a few games at a time. They just completed a 14-game winning streak despite the fact that their magician of a point guard had to miss the last 6 games of the streak.
Last Wednesday, I thought Philadelphia had an excellent chance to beat the Celtics in Boston, and they might've done it, too, if they didn't insist on giving the ball to Andre Iguodala in the clutch, a guy who sinks a game-winner for the Sixers about as often as I do. "Iggy" came up super small on two last minute possessions, allowing the Celts to escape with a non-covering 84-80 win. Afterwards, the captain, Paul Pierce, said "We're just finding ways to grind it out cause we don't have the healthy bodies. You don't know who's going to be in there night-in and night-out."
Three days later, on Christmas, I wasn't sure if the Celtics were going to survive the game in Orlando, but for 3.5 quarters, I was impressed as they seemed to be on their way to another gutty, grind-it-out win, which would have been their 15th in a row. But then the collapse happened, the tank finally went below "E", and the streak was over. Three days later, though, most NBA bettors seem very confident that the Celtics will surely climb right back on their horse against this middling Indiana Pacers team, but I don't think so.
In another thread today, someone speculated that the Celtics probably had a good record after having at least a couple days to rest following a loss. When I read that, I thought to myself "Sounds about right", but I checked it out to be sure. Turns out the opposite is true. Since March of 2009, the Celtics have played 10 regular season games on 2 or more days of rest following a loss. They've gone 6-4 in those 10 games, but a terrible 3-7 against the spread. In 4 of those games, they were road favorites, as they are tonight. They split those 4 games and burned up the bettors' cash in the process by going just 1-3 ATS. The one cover was by half a point last season in Detroit, when Rajon Rondo sank a pair of free throws with 6 seconds left to give Boston a 105-100 win as a 4.5-point favorite.
So here the vaunted (but hobbled) Celtics are tonight, laying 5.5 points to the unremarkable Indiana Pacers, a franchise that hasn't won more than 36 games in any of the last four seasons, and who sit at 13-15 this season in the awful (except for the Bulls) Central Division. Doesn't look like much of a challenge for the C's, but hold everything. It appears that the Pacers have recently begun taking home losses very personally. Since last season's All-Star break, the Pacers have gone a very sneaky 5-1 SU & 6-0 ATS at home following a home loss. Check it out:
They lost at home to the Bulls in the game prior to the All-Star break, but then covered at home as 5-point dogs to the Spurs in a 90-87 loss in the first game after the break.
On February 27th, following a home loss to the Bucks, they beat the Bulls, 100-90.
On April 4th, following a home loss to the Heat in overtime, they crushed the Rockets, 133-102.
On November 9th of this season, following a home loss to the Bucks, they opened up a record-breaking can on the Nuggets, 144-113, a game in which the Pacers hit 20 shots in a row during the 3rd quarter.
On November 18th, following a home loss to the Hawks, they destroyed the Clippers, 107-80.
On December 17th, following a home loss to the pissed-off Lakers, the Pacers bounced back with a 108-99 win and cover over the Cavaliers.
Similarly, yet even more striking is the fact that the Pacers are a butt-kicking 6-0 SU & 6-0 ATS this season following any home loss. Check this out:
On November 9th, following that home loss to the Bucks, they embarrassed the Nuggets by 31 points. (covered by 32.5 points)
On November 13th, following a home loss to the Rockets, they went to Cleveland and won, 99-85. (covered by 16 points)
On November 18th, following that home loss to the Hawks, they beat up the Clippers, 107-80. (covered by 19 points)
On November 22nd, following a home loss to the Magic, they went to Miami and shocked everyone, beating the Super Friends, 93-77. (covered by 25 points)
On November 28th, following a gut-wrenching overtime home loss to the Thunder, the fearless Pacers traveled to L.A. and upset the Lakers, 95-92. (covered by 11 points)
On December 17th, following that home loss to the revenging Lakers, the Pacers beat Cleveland, 108-99. (covered by the hook)
That's a perfect 6-0 this season off a home loss, with four of the wins coming as dogs. Both the average margin of victory and the average margin against the spread has been over 16 points. Who knew the Pacers had this fury inside them? I didn't, until today.
Which brings us to tonight. The Pacers are at home off a home loss, having shot very poorly in a 104-90 defeat against the Grizzlies on Sunday, They're getting little respect from the oddsmakers and significantly less from the betting public. The Pacers are getting 5.5 points from Boston tonight despite having been beaten by more than 4 points just three times in fifteen home games this season.
What makes the widespread enthusiasm for the Boston -5.5 bet even more curious is that the Celtics don't even have an impressive recent record at Conseco Fieldhouse. When the Big Three formed in 2007, they won easily by double digits in their first two visits to Indianapolis. Maybe those two easy games softened them up, because the last three visits have gone like this:
On November 1st, 2008, the Celtics, laying 6, were non-competitive in a 95-79 loss.
On December 7th, 2008, the Celtics, laying 8, trailed the Pacers, 105-102 in the waning seconds when Paul Pierce nailed a 3-pointer to send the game into overtime, where Boston won by 5 but didn't cover.
On November 14th, 2009, the Celtics, laying 7.5, were again non-competitive in a 113-104 loss.
For a game where so many seem to think that everything is pointing Boston's way, I can't find anything that doesn't point Indiana's way. With a Pacers team that's just killing its opponents after every home loss, I'll gladly side with the 5.5 points (that I feel Indiana bettors won't even need) and strongly recommend a huge chunk of moneyline action at +200 or better.
Now that my misleading thread title has reeled you in, here's some bad news or good news depending on which way you're leaning for tonight's big game.
Producing back-to-back blowout wins in the NFL is hard to do, but recent history suggests that producing three in a row is almost too much to ask. I went back over the last dozen seasons and looked to see how teams did the week after winning consecutive games in which they scored 30 or more points in each while allowing 10 points or less in each. In other words, back-to-back monster blowouts. I found 18 such situations, and here they are:
The St. Louis Rams in 1999 beat the Falcons 35-7, then beat the Bengals 38-10, and then beat the 49ers 42-20.
The Jacksonville Jaguars in 1999 beat the Bengals 41-10, then beat the Falcons 30-7, and then beat the Ravens 6-3 (but didn't cover as a 13-point favorite).
The Kansas City Chiefs in 1999 beat the Ravens 35-8, then beat the Chargers 34-0, and then lost to the Colts in Indianapolis 25-17.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2000 beat the Bears 41-0, then beat the Lions 31-10, and then lost at home to the Jets 21-17.
The Jacksonville Jaguars in 2000 beat the Browns 48-0, then beat the Cardinals 44-10, and then lost 17-14 to the Bengals in Cincinnati.
The St. Louis Rams in 2001 beat the Dolphins 42-10, then beat the Lions 35-0, and then beat the Giants at home 15-14 (but didn't cover as a 14.5 point favorite).
The Kansas City Chiefs in 2002 beat the Cardinals 49-0, then beat the Rams 49-10, and then lost to the Broncos in Denver, 31-24.
The Green Bay Packers in 2003 beat the Raiders 41-7, then beat the Broncos 31-3, and then beat the Seahawks in a wild card playoff game at home in overtime 33-27 (but didn't cover as a 6.5 point favorite).
The Indianapolis Colts in 2004 beat the Bears 41-10, then beat the Lions 41-9, and then beat the Titans at home 51-24 (this game got out of hand because the frightened Titans kept trying onside kicks and none of them worked....they also faked a punt and that didn't work either).
The Seattle Seahawks in 2005 beat the Eagles 42-0, then beat the 49ers 41-3, and then beat the Titans in Tennessee 28-24 (but didn't cover as a 7-point favorite).
The Chicago Bears in 2006 beat the Seahawks 37-6, then beat the Bills 40-7, and then beat the Cardinals in Arizona 24-23 (but didn't cover as a 13-point favorite....."They are who we thought they were!")
The Dallas Cowboys in 2007 beat the Bears 34-10, then beat the Rams 35-7, and then beat the Bills in Buffalo 25-24 (but didn't cover as an 11-point favorite).
The Baltimore Ravens in 2008 beat the Eagles 36-7, then beat the Bengals 34-3, and then beat the Redskins at home 24-10 (as a 6.5-point favorite).
The Minnesota Vikings in 2009 beat the Seahawks 35-9, then beat the Bears 36-10, and then lost to the Cardinals in Arizona 30-17 (as a 3-point favorite).
The Indianapolis Colts in 2009 beat the Titans 31-9, then beat the Rams 42-6, and then beat the 49ers at home 18-14 (but didn't cover as a 13-point favorite).
The Baltimore Ravens in 2009 beat the Lions 48-3, then beat the Bears 31-7, and then lost in Pittsburgh 23-20 (pushing as a 3-point underdog).
The New England Patriots in 2009 beat the Titans 59-0, then beat the Buccaneers 35-7, and then beat the Dolphins 27-17 (but didn't cover as an 11-point favorite).
The Green Bay Packers in 2009 beat the Seahawks 48-10, then beat the Cardinals 33-7, then returned to Arizona one week later for a wild card playoff game and lost 51-45 in overtime (as a 2.5-point favorite).
An absolutely terrible 3-14-1 ATS for eighteen teams that each looked unstoppable following two straight dominant performances on both sides of the football. Seven of them lost outright despite 17 of the 18 being favored to win. Most worrisome for Pats backers tonight is the fact that the six teams asked to cover a double-digit line following two lopsided wins went 1-5 ATS, the only cover coming courtesy of the 2004 Titans who tried a bunch of trick plays against Peyton Manning and the Colts and all it got them was a 27-point thumping. Those 5 double-digit favorites that failed to get the money missed covering by an average of 11 points per game, and three of the five had to erase a 4th quarter deficit just to win by one point!
5 of the 18 teams listed above appeared in a nationally televised playoff game, Monday night game, or Sunday night game following their back-to-back blowout wins. Together they crumbled under the spotlight where they went 2-3 SU & 0-5 ATS, with the only wins coming when the Cowboys kicked a 53-yard field goal as time expired in Buffalo and when Al Harris picked one off in overtime for the Packers and returned it for a score in the playoffs against Seattle.
The Patriots allowed the Jets to score just 3 points two weeks ago while the Bears could only score 7 last Sunday. Of the 18 teams listed above, 10 of them allowed no more than 10 points combined in their two big wins. Together they went 1-8-1 ATS the following week. Of those ten, eight of them scored 40 points or more in at least one of the two big wins. Those eight flopped badly the following week, going 4-4 SU & 0-7-1 ATS.
I know it's easy for some of you to dismiss all of this because the Packers have injuries, or you're certain that Matt Flynn won't get anything done, or you're simply in awe of the Patriots and at this point can't fathom seeing them score less than 30 points in a game, but understand that nearly every favorite on that list looked like it had everything going for it, yet most of them stumbled badly just when the betting public least expected it. And nearly every underdog on that list looked like nothing more than the next victim, but instead nearly all of them geared themselves up for the challenge and came out to play. It is an amateur mistake to expect these 2010 Patriots, great as they are and well-coached as they are, to simply roll to another lopsided win. History tells us that no matter how much they may want to, they likely won't have enough left in the proverbial tank mentally or physically to dominate to this extent for the third week in a row. And let's face it, no team can pull off what the Patriots just did without a little luck. It seems like we haven't seen the Patriots make a wrong move, get victimized by a bad call, or catch a bad bounce since the first half against the Lions on Thanksgiving. You figure they'll have to sustain that good luck to cover this 14-point line, and that's asking a LOT considering they've already played ten charmed quarters of football in a row.