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Another month is almost in the books in the 2010 Major League Baseball season, as teams will wrap up July and welcome in August this weekend. More importantly, the trade deadline is Saturday and there has already been a flurry of activity over the last few days. Expect more to come. That activity however, can make life difficult for bettors, since pitching matchups are changing, lineups are being adjusted, and relatively few series go unaffected. With that in mind, letís take a look at whatís on tap for the next three daysí action and reveal this weekendís list of Top StatFox Power Trends to consider in your wagering.
One of the biggest moves in anticipation of the trade deadline occurred yesterday when the Phillies acquired Roy Oswalt from the Astros. Oswalt will get his first start for Philadelphia on Friday when he goes at Washington. The Phillies are heating up and come into the series as winners of their last eight games. Their bats have finally gotten going, having produced 5.8 runs per game during that stretch. In addition, Philly has dominated Washington of late, going 31-11 overall and 15-6 in Washington over the last three seasons.
The National Leagueís biggest series is in Cincinnati though, where divisional leaders will square off. The Reds host the Braves for three games, with both teams holding on to slim leads. Atlanta leads Philadelphia by 2-1/2 games in the East but that lead is shrinking fast, as the Phillies are streaking and the Braves are not. They are just 5-7 in their last 12 games, and will try to improve this weekend on a road record of 24-30.
Elsewhere in the Senior Circuit, the rivalry between the Giants and Dodgers resumes in San Francisco, with the hosts heading upward in the standings and the visitors sliding down. The Giants are 17-5 since the 4th of July holiday, having taken over the wildcard lead 3-1/2 games behind San Diego in the NL West, but 3-1/2 games on top of sinking L.A. The Dodgers are just 9-12 in that time span but made a key move this week in acquiring Scott Posednik to plug the outfield gap while Manny Ramirez remains unable to play with a calf injury. Los Angeles is looking to repeat the 3-game sweep of the Giants they enjoyed in San Francisco in late June.
In the American League, the best two teams in baseball will get together for three games when the Yankees visit the Rays. Only two games separate these teams at the top of the A.L. East Division, with Tampa currently in tow. The Rays can easily make up that ground this weekend though, as youíll see from the trends below that they have absolutely dominated good teams at home in the latter part of the last few seasons. Both teams are playing at the top of their games right now and three solid pitching matchups will make this a series to watch. Incidentally, all eight games between these teams in 2010 have gone OVER the total.
Finally, out West, itís last gasp time for the Angels, as they host the division leading Rangers for three games. With the Rays comfortably in control of the Wildcard race right now, itís division or bust for almost everyone else. In that sense, the fact that Angels trail the Rangers by 9-games heading into this series make this desperation time. The clubs have separated over the last two weeks, with Texas going 8-3 since July 18th and the Angels winning just two of 10 games in that span. Angels bats are partly to blame, with just 2.9 runs per game put up in that stretch. At this point, anything but a sweep will be a failure in Anaheim.
Now, hereís a look at those top StatFox Power Trends youíll want to consider for your weekend wagering.
<b><i>PHILADELPHIA at WASHINGTON</b></i>
<li>PHILADELPHIA is 6-14 (-14.1 Units) against the money line in road games vs. NL teams scoring 4.3 or less runs/game in the second half of the season over the last 2 seasons. The average score was PHILADELPHIA 3.8, OPPONENT 4.9 - (Rating = 2*)
<b><i>ATLANTA at CINCINNATI</b></i>
<li>ATLANTA is 19-10 (+11.7 Units) against the money line in road games when playing against a team with a winning record in the second half of the season over the last 2 seasons. The average score was ATLANTA 5.1, OPPONENT 3.5 - (Rating = 1*)
<b><i>ARIZONA at NY METS</b></i>
<li>NY METS are 20-5 UNDER (+14.3 Units) vs. an NL team with a team batting average of .255 or worse this season. The average score was NY METS 2.9, OPPONENT 3.9 - (Rating = 3*)
<b><i>MILWAUKEE at HOUSTON</b></i>
<li>MILWAUKEE is 30-42 (-21.4 Units) against the money line vs. an NL team with a team batting average of .250 or worse over the last 2 seasons. The average score was MILWAUKEE 5.1, OPPONENT 5.5 - (Rating = 1*)
<b><i>PITTSBURGH at ST LOUIS</b></i>
<li>PITTSBURGH is 2-14 (-11.5 Units) against the money line when playing against a good team (Win Pct. 54% to 62%) this season. The average score was PITTSBURGH 3.1, OPPONENT 6.9 - (Rating = 2*)
<b><i>CHICAGO CUBS at COLORADO</b></i>
<li>COLORADO is 126-69 (+31.8 Units) against the money line in home games vs. a mediocre bullpen whose WHIP is 1.450 to 1.550 since 1997. The average score was COLORADO 6.9, OPPONENT 5.5 - (Rating = 1*)
<b><i>FLORIDA at SAN DIEGO</b></i>
<li>SAN DIEGO is 23-8 (+13.9 Units) against the money line vs. a poor bullpen whose ERA is 4.50 or worse this season. The average score was SAN DIEGO 4.7, OPPONENT 2.6 - (Rating = 2*)
<b><i>LA DODGERS at SAN FRANCISCO</b></i>
<li>LA DODGERS are 15-32 (-16.2 Units) against the money line in road games vs. teams outscoring opp by 0.5 or more runs/game on the season over the last 3 seasons. The average score was LA DODGERS 3.1, OPPONENT 4.7 - (Rating = 1*)
<b><i>CLEVELAND at TORONTO</b></i>
<li>TORONTO is 14-2 (+11.6 Units) against the money line in home games vs. poor power teams - averaging 0.9 or less HR's/game in the second half of the season over the last 3 seasons. The average score was TORONTO 6.1, OPPONENT 3.1 - (Rating = 1*)
<b><i>DETROIT at BOSTON</b></i>
<li>DETROIT is 16-33 (-17.5 Units) against the money line in road games this season. The average score was DETROIT 3.8, OPPONENT 5.1 - (Rating = 2*)
<b><i>NY YANKEES at TAMPA BAY</b></i>
<li>TAMPA BAY is 14-1 (+13.3 Units) against the money line in home games when playing against a top-level team (Win Pct. > 62%) over the last 3 seasons. The average score was TAMPA BAY 6.7, OPPONENT 3.3 - (Rating = 3*)
<b><i>BALTIMORE at KANSAS CITY</b></i>
<li>KANSAS CITY is 24-9 OVER (+14.7 Units) in home games vs. teams outscored by opp by 1 or more runs/game in the second half of the season since 1997. The average score was KANSAS CITY 6.0, OPPONENT 6.3 - (Rating = 1*)
<b><i>OAKLAND at CHI WHITE SOX</b></i>
<li>CHI WHITE SOX are 17-4 (+10.9 Units) against the money line in home games vs. poor power teams - averaging 0.9 or less HR's/game this season. The average score was CHI WHITE SOX 6.0, OPPONENT 3.7 - (Rating = 1*)
<b><i>SEATTLE at MINNESOTA</b></i>
<li>SEATTLE is 4-21 (-16.1 Units) against the money line in road games when playing against a good team (Win Pct. 54% to 62%) in the second half of the season over the last 3 seasons. The average score was SEATTLE 3.5, OPPONENT 6.3 - (Rating = 1*)
<b><i>TEXAS at LA ANGELS</b></i>
<li>LA ANGELS are 77-61 (+17.6 Units) against the money line vs. teams outscoring opp by 0.5 or more runs/game on the season over the last 3 seasons. The average score was LA ANGELS 4.7, OPPONENT 4.6 - (Rating = 1*)
Big trend contradicts big line in Mís-Cardsí duel
ESPNís Monday night baseball game of the week finds the Mariners visiting St. Louis for just the second time ever. Considering the Cardinals have stud pitcher Adam Wainwright on the hill, are -280 favorites according to Sportsbook.com, and the Mís have lost eight of their last 10 games, youíd think the hosts are a certain winner, right? Sure, but perhaps an unusually strong StatFox Power Trend favoring Seattle might sway your thinking.
Before getting into the powerful trend worthy of your consideration, letís take a look at tonightís matchup.
The Cardinals are surely happy to be home following a difficult road trip, especially with Wainwright set to take the mound. He looks to improve to 6-0 in as many starts at Busch Stadium as the Cardinals return to interleague play to face the struggling Mariners.
St. Louis (34-29) finds itself chasing first-place Cincinnati in the NL Central following its 1-5 trip, which featured offensive problems and shaky pitching.
The team hit .227 on the trip, with sluggers Albert Pujols(notes) and Matt Holliday(notes) combining to go 6 for 44 (.136) with three RBIs. He helped erase a three-run deficit in the ninth, but the Cardinals lost in the bottom of the inning on a walk-off home run by Chris Young.
Wainwright has been consistently brilliant at home, and he notched his first career shutout there June 4 with a two-hitter in an 8-0 win over Milwaukee. Heís 5-0 with a 1.62 ERA and two complete games at Busch Stadium this year.
The Cardinals have won nine of 13 in St. Louis, and they swept Seattle in the Marinersí only previous visit from July 2-4, 2004.
Seattle (24-39) is scuffling on its road trip. The last-place Mariners are 9-22 on the road, and they had lost five straight before avoiding a sweep at San Diego with Sundayís 4-2 win.
Seattle will have Luke French (0-0, 6.35) on the mound for his first start in the majors this season.
The 24-year-old dominated minor league hitters for Triple-A Tacoma this year, going 6-2 with a 1.93 ERA in 11 starts. He had a 6.38 ERA in seven starts for the Mariners in 2009, though.
Seattle has lost both of its interleague series this season - both to the Padres - while the Cardinals took two of three from the visiting Los Angeles Angels from May 21-23. St. Louis has won three of four home series against AL opponents.
It would seem the Cardinals are set to cruise this evening. However, one particular StatFox Power Trend may be worth noting. It reads as follows:
ē SEATTLE is 12-3 (+12.9 Units) against the money line in its L15 road games vs. an NL starting pitcher whose WHIP is 1.150 or better. The average score was SEATTLE 5.5, OPPONENT 2.5 - (Rating = 2*)
Now everyone knows how successful the American League has been over its N.L. counterparts in interleague play, but this trend has far outperformed that pace. The Marinersí offense has produced 5.5 runs per game on the road against some of the National Leagueís best pitchers.
Still, Seattle has won just three of 20 games as a road underdog this year and the StatFox Game Estimator calls for a 5.2-2.3 win for the Cardinals. The StatFox Power Line shows St. Louis should be a -308 favorite.
Is it worth laying the big number at Sportsbook.com tonight, or are the Cardinalsí recent offensive struggles and the powerful StatFox trend signs of a worthy underdog? Find out tonight at 7:00 PM ET on ESPN.
MLB: Martinez returns for Phillies as road chalk
It may not have the same fanfare as Tom Bradyís return at quarterback for the New England Patriots, but Wednesday night marks the return to the majors for one of the games most dominant pitchers of the early decade. Pedro Martinez takes to the mound for his newest team, the Phillies, and is greeted with a warm reception by oddsmakers, as they have made him a -110 road favorite in Chicago against the Cubs. Bettors arenít exactly on the bandwagon yet though, as over 60% of them at Sportsbook.com are backing the hosts in early action.
The Phillies finally feel Martinez is ready to return to form. The 37-year-old right-hander makes his Philadelphia debut and his first appearance in almost a year Wednesday night at Wrigley Field.
The last time Martinez took the mound in the majors, he allowed five runs and struck out nine in six innings, but didn't receive a decision in a 7-6 win over the Cubs on Sept. 25, while with the New York Mets. After finishing 5-6 with a 5.61 ERA last season, the three-time Cy Young Award winner filed for free agency and went without a team until July 15, when the Phillies (62-48) signed him.
On the disabled list with a mild shoulder strain, Martinez will be activated Wednesday after going 1-1 with a 5.11 ERA in three minor league rehab starts. It would seem then that bettors are paying a lot more attention to his recent outings rather that his glorious past.
Philadelphia snapped a three-game losing streak with a 4-3, 12-inning victory over Chicago on Tuesday. Chicago has now lost five of six.
In a move that reeks of desperation, the Cubs will send their own brand new starting pitcher to the hill to face Martinez, as after 42 career relief appearances, Jeff Samardzija (1-1, 6.29) will make his first start for Chicago in this contest.
The fact that Philadelphia is the favorite could be an important factor in this game, as to say the Cubbies have struggled in the underdog role this season would be a vast understatement:
* CHICAGO CUBS are 4-21 (-16.4 Units) against the money line as an underdog of +100 or higher this season. The average score was CHICAGO CUBS 3.0, OPPONENT 5.4 - (Rating = 4*)
Meanwhile, the Phillies remain the leagueís best road team, both in terms of winning percentage and units won for bettors at 33-19, +15.5 units.
In addition, manager Charlie Manuelís team has breezed through the N.L. Central Division in its current run of success.
* PHILADELPHIA is 46-23 (+18.5 Units) against the money line against NL Central opponents over the last 2 seasons. The average score was PHILADELPHIA 5.4, OPPONENT 3.5 - (Rating = 1*)
Game time is set for 8:05 PM ET from the friendly confines of Wrigley Field.