Detroit Tigers Battle Tampa Bay Rays in Saturday Afternoon MLB Showdown

The Detroit Tigers (37-40, 20-22 away) and Tampa Bay Rays (41-36, 22-16 home) now find themselves in the middle of a heated 4-game series heading into Saturday, after last night’s victory for the Rays helped them snap a 4-game losing streak in fine fashion with a victory over Tigers’ ace pitcher Justin Verlander. Hoping for the end of what was an awful run of form, in which the Rays lost 7 out of their last 10 games to fall to fourth in the AL East division, tonight at home Tampa will look for its first back-to-back wins at home in a month, and will once again try to get some sharp pitching to help them get past a hard-hitting Detroit Tigers team. With first pitch due out just after 7:05 PM ET, this National League MLB game of the night will be well worth a look across the betting lines at one of the best online sportsbooks reviewed right here at CR.

Although the Tampa Bay Rays find themselves battling back from a poor run of form, a resurgence of form based upon improving health across the line-up makes their prospects for a good month of July just that much better. Tampa’s starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson (4-3, 3.45 ERA) is a case in point, making his first start after sitting out the last two weeks due to shoulder inflammation. Also a boost for the Rays tonight will be getting reliever Kyle Farnsworth back into the mix, who hasn’t pitched at all this season due to an elbow strain, but was solid last season with a 5-1 record and a 2.18 ERA with 25 saves. Another reliever, Joel Peralta, is set to come back today as well, though his missing 8 games was due to a suspension levied against him using too much pine tar on his glove. Nonetheless, the inclusion of two talented relievers, plus the return of a healthier Jeremy Hellickson to the lineup, bodes well for the Rays’ confidence and their chances at picking up a victory this evening (Hellickson is 1-2 lifetime vs. Detroit, but with a 1.77 ERA while holding the Tigers to just a .177 batting average). While some of the Rays big hitters, including Evan Longoria and Matt Joyce will still be missing from the batting order, something that has certainly had an effect on the Rays’ inability to win games recently, some good news amongst the pitching staff should provide a positive boost for Tampa Bay at home in Game 3 of their series with Detroit.

For the Tigers meanwhile, they also get some relief in the fact that starting pitcher Rick Porcello (5-5, 4.71 ERA) has been pitching much better as of late, giving up just 1 run in his last outing (and 8-2 win over Texas), and just 3 runs in his last 13 innings of work. Porcello has been reasonably strong against Tampa in 3 career starts as well, going 1-1 with a 3.15 ERA while allowing the Rays batting order to hit just .184 against him (his lowest opponents’ batting average of any team he’s faced in three years). Though not getting a decision in his last meeting against Tampa Bay, coming on April 10th of this season, Porcello showed plenty of confidence allowing just 2 runs on 7 innings of work as part of a 5-2 win for the Tigers. That was with both Matt Joyce and Evan Longoria in the line-up, so it will be interesting to see if Porcello can even improve on his fine outing last time against the Rays, with Tampa still left without their power section of the batting order.

One step-up player who could have an effect in tonight’s game for the Rays is Luke Scott, who despite a dismal .212 batting average leads Tampa in RBIs with 36 on the season. Coming back from the DL, which forced him to miss three weeks, Scott has yet to register a hit in the two games played against Detroit, and is due for some production after going hitless in 6 starts dating back to before his stint on the DL. Another Tampa batsmen to keep an eye out for is Ben Zobrist, who is quietly having a solid month batting .349 with 4 homers and 13 RBIs while accumulating 16 walks and 6 doubles. He’s currently on a 6-game hitting streak, including going 2-for-3 last night with a solo home run, and a continuation of his production at the plate will certainly bode well for Tampa’s prospects of emerging with a win tonight. One more Rays’player to watch for tonight is Desmond Jennings, who launched a pair of solo homers against Justin Verlander last night and went 2-for-4 against Porcello in his only meeting against him earlier this season. Tampa will likely need some pop in this game to get past Porcello, who is a contact pitcher, and if these three guys can step up and generate some offense, Tampa will give Jeremy Hellickson a good cushion to work with in his return start.

For the Tigers tonight, they haven’t had very much success at the plate vs. Hellickson over the past two seasons, but there’s a couple of stand-outs who are having great months that could be ones to watch for this evening. Austin Jackson is the first player that comes to mind, who is also the most productive Tigers’ hitter aginst Hellickson going 3-for-9 with 1 home run and 2 RBIs against him. Jackson is still near the top of the AL in hitting with a .324 average, and is hitting .312 in June and .328 on the road. Looking for a 7-game hitting streak if he can squeeze out some performance at the plate tonight, Jackson should factor into this game somewhere tonight, as he’s seeing the ball very well right now (5-for-9 in the series thus far). One player due for a bounce-back tonight is Miguel Cabrera, who went 4-for-5 on Thursday, but was 0-for-3 last night facing a very good effort by Tampa’s David Price. Hitting .309 with 16 homers and 62 RBIs, Cabrera is always a threat to produce especially with runners on the base paths, so watch out for him to be a key factor in Detroit’s bottom line this evening. Lastly for Detroit, look out for the other heavy-hitter, Prince Fielder, who is due for a step-up after only contributing one hit in the Tigers last 3 games. He hasn’t hit particularly well against Tampa pitching, going 4-for-18 lifetime against them, but chances are good that this near-.300 hitting powerhouse has only a short amount of time before he explodes at the plate once again.

Betting Lines for the Tampa Bay Rays vs. Detroit Tigers at WagerWeb Sportsbook.

At home this evening, the Tampa Bay Rays have a slight advantage on the money line at WagerWeb, getting -121 odds to win straight up behind Jeremy Hellickson. Rick Porcello and the Detroit Tigers are just slight underdogs, with +101 odds taking them to win outright this evening.

Against the spread, the odds get stretched as the bookmakers are showing that this should be another tight, low scoring game centered on quality pitching. However, make note that both games thus far in the 4-game set have found the spread broken one way or another, with the Tigers winning 5-2 in Game 1 and the Rays winning 4-2 last night. For the spread odds, there’s +170 odds on the Rays to cover 1 ½ runs as the favorites, and -200 odds on Detroit to stay within the 1 ½ runs as underdogs. Stay wary of the possibility that Hellickson, despite pitching well against Detroit over his short career, could have a little rust on him after missing a couple weeks, which could give better chances of the Tigers being the right pick against the spread tonight.

For the total runs line at WagerWeb, find 8 ½ runs as the line drawn in the sand for the over/under, with over bettors getting +105 odds, and under pickers getting -125 odds. Neither of the two games in this series went over that mark previously, and with two more good pitchers on the hill tonight, and somewhat subdued hitting for both teams recently, the under wager is a tempting offer.

No matter which way you wager on this game tonight at WagerWeb, count on it being one of the top options for online sports betting on Saturday, and we hope your bets come out victorious, giving you some added cash to play with for upcoming sports betting options later this weekend!

Tons of MLB Action for Betting on Sports at WagerWeb Sportsbook

After a long week of slaving away at the daily grind, the weekend presents us all with some great opportunities to kick back, relax, and dive into all the great sporting events taking place throughout the next couple of days. For Saturday, and for the bulk of the summer in general, the action for online sports betting centers almost entirely around Major League Baseball, which while perhaps not as exciting as the spring season when multiple sports are in play, still gives sports fans a chance to hone in on great sports betting options, and track down some trends to help bolster chances of coming out a winner at one of the top online sportsbooks reviewed here at CR. For Saturday, 16 games in Major League Baseball take center stage, and for betting on sports this weekend, make sure to give one of the top-reviewed sports betting sites at WagerWeb a shot. One of the best in the business across the board from support to bonuses, to ease of placing bets, WagerWeb is a smooth sport betting experience that will make wagering on all the MLB action slated for today a breeze.

Checking into the top options for MLB Baseball across the National League first, we turn to a couple of key series to watch out for on the betting lines at WagerWeb, like a favorable bounce-back match-up for the St. Louis Cardinals vs. the Pittsburgh Pirates, as the Cards’ starting pitcher Lance Lynn (10-3, 3.23 ERA) tries to recover from a tough couple of outings to help STL avoid a 3-game losing streak. At home against Pittsburgh’s Jeff Karstens, who is winless in 4 starts this season with a 6.35 ERA, look out for the Cardinals to be in line for a rebound at home this afternoon. Another team we’re tracking is the New York Mets, who continue their series against the free-falling Los Angeles Dodgers, while looking for a 4th win in a row. Once again last night, R.A. Dickey was absolutely superb, shutting out the Dodgers over 8 scoreless innings, to hand them their 6th consecutive defeat. Putting Johan Santana on the mound to face rookie Nate Eovaldi should find a lot of wagers going to New York once again today, as the confident Mets may very well be able to send the Dodgers reeling for yet another game, unable to find any answer at the plate with Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Mark Ellis all out of the line-up. Make sure to check out a couple other key NL match-ups that are favorable for online sports betting, including the Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Milwaukee Brewers (watch out for the Dbacks’ Wade Miley on the mound, red-hot right now), Stephen Strasburg on the hill for the Washington Nationals vs. Atlanta Braves, and a veteran pitching duel between the Philadelphia Phillies’ Cole Hamels and the Miami Marlins’ Mark Buehrle, which should make for a great match-up to round out the NL bets today.

On to action in the American League on Saturday, we look once again to another great showdown between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Detroit Tigers, with the Rays finally shedding their recent losing streak as David Price outdueled Justin Verlander to grab the win and even the 4-game series at 1 game apiece thus far. Today, look out for another interesting match-up as Detroit’s Rick Porcello battles Tampa’s Jeremy Hellickson, with the Rays trying for their first back-to-back home victories in a month. Hellickson was pounded in his last outing, while Porcello has been pitching strong, however we’re eyeing a regression to the average for both pitchers, concluding that Hellickson should have the better start, and earn his Rays a win this evening. Other key match-ups to keep in mind for betting on sports include the New York Yankees vs. Chicago White Sox, the Texas Rangers hosting the Oakland Athletics, and the Boston Red Sox vs. the Seattle Mariners. Make sure to catch a look at all the available options for online sports betting on Major League Baseball today, and spot all your wagers at one of the best sportsbooks reviewed here at WagerWeb, a quality destination that has withstood the test of time and our constant scrutiny over many years of reviewing sportsbooks.

Closing out the Week with Wagers at Bookmaker Sportsbook

As we head into another well-deserved weekend, the online sports betting calendar is once again packed with options for wagers on Major League Baseball, as 15 games are set up for Friday with current and new series continuing throughout the next three days. That gives plenty of options for sports betting fans to hop online, head to one of the best reviewed sportsbooks found here at CR, and get some key wagers in that will hopefully serve to float you on some weekend festivities to come! With our choice of the top sportsbooks on the web listed here, we’re rotating around the best-of-the-best, landing today at Bookmaker Sportsbook. One of the simplest to use sportsbooks we’ve ever reviewed, and offering a history that extends all the way back to 1996, this ever-present sports betting destination has had the time to be tried, tested, and confirmed as one of the elite spots on the web to entertain your hard earned cash. Bet with confidence when you bet today at Bookmaker sportsbook.

Diving right into the MLB action slated today, we’ll take a look across the National League listings that appear first on the Bookmaker website, with a handy gauge providing where the current betting trends are lying with each match-up. The top favored teams today include the San Francisco Giants, who are backed by Matt Cain on the mound, against the Cincinnati Reds, who will put Mike Leake up in opposition. The Giants are -160 favorites to win their 5th straight game in a row, and maintain their grip on the top spot in the NL West after overtaking the LA Dodgers this week. Expect another low-scoring game with Matt Cain pitching at the top of his game, and a great opportunity to back the Giants for the W tonight. Another good match-up to look out for finds the Miami Marlins hosting the Philadelphia Phillies, where once again Cliff Lee of the Phillies will try for his first victory of the season. He’ll get a solid challenge from Miami’s Josh Johnson, but something tells us that facing Miami’s slumping hitters, Lee is destined to finally pick up win number 1 tonight on the road. Make sure to check out other NL match-ups like the Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Milwaukee Brewers, the Washington Nationals vs. Atlanta Braves, and the LA Dodgers vs. New York Mets for a slew of top options worthy of your wagers today.

For American League games this evening, the best pitching match-up tonight lies in the series between the Detroit Tigers and the Tampa Bay Rays, as Detroit’s Justin Verlander battles Tampa’s David Price. Both pitchers are coming off outstanding outings, and should be in line to repeat their strong efforts in a tight match-up this evening. Though Tampa is at home, this game may very well favor Tigers backers, with Price not pitching as well at Tropicana Field as he does on the road. Look for Verlander to dominate, and for the Tigers bats to open this game up a little to hold the Rays to a 5-game losing skid. Other favorable match-ups include the Texas Rangers at home against the Oakland Athletics, with Matt Harrison seeking his 11th win on the year at home tonight against A’s rookie starter A.J. Griffin, and also look for the red-hot bats of the Los Angeles Angels to worth getting behind as they take on the Toronto Blue Jays tonight looking for win number 5 in a row, and 15 out of their last 16 on the road. It’s a great night to be a baseball fan, so make sure to get all your wagers in early at Bookmaker sportsbook across the top match-ups around the two leagues, and come out a winner heading into the weekend!

New York Yankees host Chicago White Sox in 4-Game Series Opener

The New York Yankees (46-28, 23-14 home) might be on one of the hottest streaks in all of Major League Baseball, winning 15 of their last 18 games and 5 straight heading into tonight’s series opener against the Chicago White Sox (40-35, 21-14 away), however it hasn’t been all good news in the Bronx, with the Yankees learning that two very important keys to their success, starting pitchers C.C. Sabathia and Andy Pettitte, won’t be in the rotation for the foreseeable future.

The turn of bad luck started just over 24 hours ago, with Sabathia going to the 15-day disabled list with a strained groin muscle, and carried on into yesterday’s series finale with the Cleveland Indians, in which starting pitcher Andy Pettitte took a line drive off his leg, fracturing his fibula. Out 4 to 6 weeks, the veteran’s return to the Yankee pitching staff becomes a very short-lived one, and leaves manager Joe Girardi scrambling to find ways to fill in the blanks. Fortunately for him though, he still has one of the league’s top offensive units to back up any pitching selection he decides to promote, and for tonight’s opener, has one of the most fortunate Yankee pitchers taking the mound in Ivan Nova (9-2, 4.25 ERA). With Nova facing rookie Dylan Axelrod (0-1, 4.85 ERA), who continues to fill in for the White Sox’ injured starters John Danks and Phil Humber, the Yankees may find themselves with the upper hand and a shot at a 6th straight victory in tonight’s Game 1 match-up, with first pitch set for 7:05 PM ET from Yankee Stadium in New York City.

There’s just about no better pitcher to have on the mound for the Yankees as they look to pull their head up after suffering a few setbacks, as Ivan Nova has been steadily improving his form, and will seek a sixth straight win tonight. Nova has given up more than 1 run in just 1 of his last 4 starts (2 earned in this last weekend’s clash against the Mets), and has continued to whittle down his ERA while keeping base runners off the paths. Interestingly enough, it’s been at home where Nova hasn’t pitched very well, with a 5.35 ERA on the year and a 3-2 record in 6 starts there, allowing opponents to hit .290 off him. Fortunately, over the past couple of years he’s had plenty of success against the White Sox, who he is 2-0 with a 1.37 ERA in 3 starts dating back to 2009. With no slowdown in the Yankees’ batting order, Nova should find himself in good shape to make an improvement on his less-than-stellar home record and ERA, and could get a boost as the powerful Yankee bats take on a rookie pitcher who’s unproven in the big, bright lights of New York City.

We are always very wary of whenever a rookie pitcher faces a team he’s never seen previously, as often that pitcher will get shelled and knocked out of a game early, especially against the caliber of batsmen that New York has, but there’s always a chance that with a team not having any familiarity with a new hurler, that guy will find a distinct advantage as the batting order takes a few times through the line-up to become familiar with his style. There’s not too much history to go on around the White Sox’ Dylan Axelrod, but what may be a key issue for him tonight is the fact that through 13 innings of work this year, he’s already allowed 3 home runs, and has given up 7 runs in just 9 2/3 innings of work as a starter. He’s also required a ton of pitches in his two starts (103 and 99) despite not making it past the 5th inning. That could be a serious catch point to consider when wagering on tonight’s game, as if Axelrod is forced to throw a lot of pitches to a Yankees batting order that ranks near the top of the league in runs, on-base, and slugging percentage, we’re eventually going to see a deep ball go out of the park, and few pinstriped base runners come across the plate. For Axelrod to keep his White Sox in the ballgame, he’s going to have to focus on keeping the ball down, and protect against giving up the big inning to the powerful center of the Yankees order. This may be the toughest test for a rookie pitcher, to face the Yankees on their home turf, and in order to overcome them he’s going to have to work efficiently, keep the walks to a minimum, and pitch around guys like Robinson Cano especially. The White Sox don’t have a great record in the Bronx, losing 15 of their last 20 games there, but if they can get a surprise strong start from Axelrod, their own heavy hitters just may have a chance to keep them in the game against Ivan Nova, who has struggled this year on his own mound.

The player to watch out for in the Yankees’ lineup is the aforementioned Robinson Cano, who has simply been on a tear through the month of June posting a .345 batting average with 10 home runs and 18 RBIs. He’s been on base 42 times over 87 at-bats on the month, and has 3 multi-hit games in his last 4 outings. With 7 homers coming in the last 10 games, there is no question Cano will be a guy to watch out for at the plate, and someone who very well may get an early tee-off against the rookie Dylan Axelrod. Another player who may be making a jump towards more production is Alex Rodriguez, who despite struggling for the month now has 3 homers in his last 6 games, and has hit safely in 5 out of his last 6 games. A veteran hitter loves a rookie pitcher, and while struggling on the road this year, A-Rod is hitting .305 at home, and could be a major factor tonight. One more Yankee hitter to watch for this evening is Nick Swisher who should be in line to bounce back from an 0-for-4 night yesterday, hitting safely in 8 of his previous 9 games before that. Batting .320 for the month with 4 homers and 14 RBI, Swisher has 2 homers in his last 4 games, and could be one to watch out for.

On the White Sox side of the hitting spectrum, they certainly aren’t slouches at the plate themselves, especially after adding Kevin Youkilis to the order. Since coming over from Boston, Youk has picked up his slumping season to go 5-for-12 (.417) for his new team in 3 games played. Adam Dunn, the White Sox home-run leader with 24 on the year, also finally broke out of a nasty 3-for-26 slump with no homers in 10 games, going 3-for-5 last night with a homer and 4 runs batted in. There would be no better time for the off-and-on slugger to have a repeat performance than right now. Another slumping hitter, Paul Konerko, may be a factor in tonight’s game as well, as he’s coming of a day of rest getting benched after going hitless in his last 3 contests. Despite a 1-for-17 stretch, Konerko likes the road, hitting .342 this year away from home, and has a .350 average against the Yankees over the past 4 years. Though he hasn’t produced much against Nova, he’s 4-for-8 lifetime against him, which could bode well for him returning to form in tonight’s Game 1 match-up. One player on the Sox who hasn’t fared well against Nova, but is tearing through June is Alex Rios, who is hitting .340 for the month with 6 homers and 15 RBIs. He also has 4 multi-hit games in his last 5 outings, and has brought his season batting average up 10 points in the last 4 games alone. He could be a major factor amongst a White Sox hitting group that has tinged Nova for a .309 combined lifetime average (albeit with a small sample of 55 combined at-bats), but it’s for certain that if Chicago is to walk away with a win over the toughest Yankee pitcher to beat, they’ll need all their top hitters clicking on all cylinders in what should be a game with lots of potential for scoring.

Betting lines for the New York Yankees vs. Chicago White Sox at Oddsmaker Sportsbook.

With Ivan Nova on the mound, and at home, the Yankees sit as the favorite on the money line at Oddsmaker today, getting -200 odds to win straight up. The White Sox, who have actually played very well away from home (21-14), sit as +170 underdogs, mostly due to the presence of an unproven rookie pitcher. With Nova helping the Yankees to win 6 straight games when he’s taken the mound, the safest wager takes the Bronx Bombers straight up here tonight.

For Against the Spread picks, the price is even for either side you choose, with the Yankees needing to beat out the 1 ½ runs their given as favorites (-110) odds, and the White Sox getting a 1 ½ run cushion to play with for underdog spread pickers (-110 odds as well). Since we’re not sold on tonight’s rookie starter for the White Sox, especially in the face of one of the most potent offenses in the league, taking the Yankees to cover the points against the spread is our pick of the day here.

Lastly for the total runs, the over/under sits at 10 runs, with the over bet giving -115 odds, and the under wager -105 odds. With so many talented bats on both sides of the line-up, and both the rookie Axelrod and Nova both showing weaknesses heading into tonight’s match-up, there is plenty of reason to chase the over wager on the total runs line tonight. We’re going to make it exciting and bank on some deep balls to help both teams accumulate 10 runs on the evening, but are expecting Robinson Cano and the Yankee bats to lead the way in scoring, and take a high-output Game 1 tonight.

MLB Baseball, Euro 2012 Semifinal Action at Oddsmaker

Though traditionally Thursday marks a drastic decrease in the amount of Major League Baseball games available, this week finds 12 contests set up around the U.S., as relatively few teams will be taking the day off as a host of 4-game series start off the weekend MLB competition a day early. That leaves us with plenty of options for online sports betting at one of the top sportsbooks reviewed here at CR, especially when you add in a great addition for betting on sports today with the European Championship Semifinal game between Germany and Italy, which is set to get underway this afternoon. For a great day of online sports betting featuring some great MLB match-ups and arguably one of the best international soccer showdowns of the year, make sure to hone in on some wagers with us today at our featured sportsbook of the day at Oddsmaker.

Starting off with the match-ups for MLB Baseball across the National League, set your sights on a few lopsided match-ups that should equate to some safe wagers for parlay action, or simply to get you going with a notch in the win column. First up, check out the Washington Nationals at Colorado Rockies in a conclusion of a 4-game set in Denver, with Washington simply pummeling the Rockies in two straight games, 12-5 and 11-5 last night. With Edwin Jackson on the mound, watch out for win number 3 for the Nats as they face another struggling Rockies pitcher in Josh Outman. In a 4-game series opener today, make sure to also check out a great match-up between the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets, as LA’s Chris Capuano battles Chris Young. LA just sent another star hitter, Andre Ethier, out of the line-up, so with absolutely no power in the line-up this game could get ugly unless Capuano is able to throw another gem with no offense backing him up. Lastly for the most intriguing NL game on the calendar today, turn to the Cincinnati Reds vs. San Francisco Giants, as a great pitching duel will find runs very hard to come by for both teams, as Johnny Cueto takes the mound for Cincy in opposition to Madison Bumgarner for the Giants. With a total of 6 NL contests on the line at Oddsmaker sportsbook today, make sure to check out all the available options for betting on sports, as there’s definitely some good trends and good pitching to follow here.

Shifting gears over to competition in the American League, a number of new 4-game series are kicking off with some interesting match-ups to take part in on the betting lines at Oddsmaker. Starting in the East, the New York Yankees get set to host the Chicago White Sox, with Ivan Nova facing Dylan Axelrod. Up in the Great White North, the Toronto Blue Jays will look to stop the powerful bats of the visiting Los Angeles Angels, who simply tore through the Baltimore Orioles by outscoring them 20-4 in a quick and easy 2-game series sweep. It’ll be a challenge for Toronto’s starter Brett Cecil, but facing Dan Haren in opposition, who has struggled a bit in his last few games, should help even the playing field and make this match-up a solid one tonight. Make sure to also dive into the online odds for games between the Boston Red Sox and the Seattle Mariners, the Tampa Bay Rays vs. Detroit Tigers, and the Oakland Athletics vs. Texas Rangers, as each one of these games features a few solid ways to wager that should make your online sports betting day that much more exciting.

Wrapping up online sports bets for Thursday, don’t forget to check out what should be a brilliant semifinal match-up between Germany and Italy in the Euro 2012 soccer tournament, as two of the best teams on the continent prepare to battle for the rights to play Spain in the final showdown this coming Sunday. With the strength and consistency of the German side battling the fluidity and graceful ball-handling of the Italians, this clash of two well-proven soccer styles should no doubt make for some exciting wagering today at Oddsmaker sportsbook, where Germany is a -155 favorite to win, and tons of prop bets are laid out for you to have a lot of fun with this exciting match. Until tomorrow, we at CR wish you the best of luck in your wagers, thanks for stopping by, and we’ll catch you on the flipside as we ramp up for the weekend with more great online sports betting options across the best online sportsbooks reviewed here at CR!

Also keep in mind that you can stay updated with all the sports news and get exclusive sportsbook bonus offers, by signing up for our sports betting newsletter!

Angels and Orioles Wrap Up Short Series at Camden Yards

The Los Angeles Angels (41-33, 19-16) continue to stay in their road groove heading into tonight’s Game 2 clash with the Baltimore Orioles (41-32, 21-16 home), winning 12 of their last 13 contests played away from home to give them an impressive 23 wins out of their last 31 games. After slumping through April and into part of May, the Angels now look firmly on track to make a run at the AL West-leading Texas Rangers, and will look to get one game closer if they can finish out a short series sweep against the hosting Baltimore Orioles tonight, with game time set for 7:05 PM ET from the historic Camden Yards ballpark.

There’s no doubt however, that tonight’s challenge will be a big one for the visiting Angels, who will have to take on the best pitcher in the Baltimore rotation this year, Jason Hammel (8-2, 2.61 ERA). Hammel has won 5 out of his last 6 decisions in total, and hasn’t given up a single earned run in two straight outings spanning 17 innings of work. Though walks have been an off-and-on issue for Hammel over his career, and at times this season, his five-hit, shutout effort against Washington this last Friday found him striking out a season-high 10 batters while issuing no walks for the first time this year. Adding to Hammel’s advantage coming into tonight’s game, the Angels have not faced him since back in 2008, and the current Angels lineup has just 27 at-bats in total against this red-hot starter. That could bode very well for Baltimore, who must find a way to keep the Angels’ bats from lighting them up like they did in yesterday’s 7-3 victory for the visitors.

Making this match-up truly interesting tonight will be Jered Weaver (7-1, 2.40 ERA), the star LA pitcher who returned from the DL last week to throw 6 shutout innings against the San Francisco Giants on a limited pitch count (just 78 pitches in total). After suffering through some back injuries, Weaver looked to be back on his usual dominant form, which doesn’t bode well for the chances of the Orioles getting at him tonight. Weaver, despite a few rocky starts due to injury, has been just as dominant as Hammel has for the O’s, winning 6 of his last 7 decisions, and the Angels are 8-2 in his last 10 outings this season. While Baltimore has seen the Angels’ ace quite a few times as of late, with a collective 127 at-bats they are still only hitting .194 against Weaver, and may once again have trouble with him as his nasty off-speed pitches continues to improve for tonight’s ballgame. Interestingly enough though, Weaver hasn’t exactly been dominant over Baltimore, with a 4-3 record and 3.42 ERA against the O’s through 7 career starts. That has to give Baltimore a little confidence heading into the 2nd game of the shortened series with Los Angeles tonight, but they’ll have to avoid allowing Weaver to get into a rhythm this evening, and need to get on the board early to shake his confidence. Interestingly enough, it’s the road where Weaver hasn’t been the best, sporting a 4.21 ERA with a 2-1 record through 6 starts away from home. He’s allowed 17 of his 20 earned runs away from Anaheim, and his walks are triple what they are at home. That speaks to a needed patience on behalf of the Baltimore line-up tonight, especially where again Weaver could be somewhat limited in pitch count.

On the hitting side of the equation for both teams tonight, Los Angeles clearly has an advantage with some of the hottest bats in the league ready in their dugout for this showdown. While no play in the current line-up has more than 4 at-bats against Hammel heading into tonight’s clash, that certainly doesn’t allude to any facts about whether or not the Angels’ batters will be able to find some hits against Baltimore’s ace this evening. Once again the key figure for the Angels tonight is Albert Pujols, who is hitting .309 for the month of June with 4 home runs and 18 RBIs. He’s also walked 11 times, which combined with his 25 hits on the month means he’s been on base more than 1 time per game. Looking for his 5th consecutive game with a hit tonight, expect him to factor into the bottom line somewhere, after going 2-for-5 with a homer in last night’s Game 1. Another player we’re focused on is the crafty veteran Torii Hunter, who always seems to play his best baseball in the month of June. Hitting .299 with 4 homers and 14 RBIs, Hunter has been a tad inconsistent at the plate as of late, but in games when he does get hits, he gets them in multiples, so if he gets one tonight, look out for more production from him. Other key Angels players that will likely factor into tonight’s game include Mark Trumbo, who has 8 homers in the month of June including one last night, and has hit safely in 8 of his last 9 games, and rookie Mike Trout, who has been borderline unstoppable at the plate, currently on an 8-game hitting streak. Hitting .376 for June, expect Trout to be on the base paths again this evening, and be a contributor in the games’ bottom line.

For the Orioles on the other hand, Matt Wieters will certainly be one player to focus on, as he’s had some success against Jered Weaver (2-for-7, 1 home run, 4 RBI), and is having a solid month batting .316 in June. Someone else we’re looking out for is Adam Jones, who is across the board the O’s leader on offense with a .298 batting average, 19 home runs and 40 RBIs. However, his production has tailed off in June, hitting .261 with 3 home runs and just 6 RBIs. He has had hits in 4 straight games, but could give the O’s a boost if he can come up with his first multi-hit game in 7 outings against a very tough pitcher in Weaver. One more player who could have an affect on the outcome tonight is Wilson Betemit, who while struggling against lefties, has been solid against right-handed pitching, and has two straight multi-hit games and a 6-game hitting streak overall. He was one of the lone offensive contributors last night, with a home run and 2 RBI, so expect him to be a factor once again tonight.

Betting Lines for the Los Angeles Angels vs. Baltimore Orioles at Bovada Sportsbook.

The visiting Angels, seeking their 13th road win in 14 tries, have the advantage on the money line tonight getting -135 odds to win straight up behind Jered Weaver. Baltimore will be at a slight underdog status, with +115 odds to win tonight. LA managed to nab 2 of 3 against Baltimore in the lone series played between the two teams this year, and 3 of 4 overall so far, showing they’re clearly the team with the upper hand heading into the final game of this series.

Against the spread, the Angels will hold +120 odds to push past 1 ½ runs against Baltimore, while the O’s will have a 1 ½ run cushion for underdog pickers, though at -150 odds. All three of the Angels’ wins over the O’s this season have been by at least 3 runs, and their lone loss was by just 1 run in extra innings. Therefore, the safe money would be pushing towards the better odds taking LA to cover the points spread tonight.

Wrapping up the betting lines, the total runs find the over/under set at 7 ½, considering the caliber of pitching facing off this evening. With the Angels not having seen Hammel in 4 years, and Weaver looking to be back on top form, we’re expecting runs to come very few and far between, and for the under bet at -110 odds to be the best looking option here at Bovada today.

Midweek Wagers at Bovada Sportsbook Target MLB, Euro 2012

As the week progresses, the focus on Major League Baseball stays strong in the minds of online sports betting fans, especially with a number of series set to wrap up, and a big push for the majority of teams to finish strong before gears change and new series begin heading towards the weekend. For today’s top sportsbook betting options on MLB baseball, we turn attention to the A-list of online sportsbooks reviewed here at CR, and drop in at the Bovada Sportsbook, one of the best online sportsbooks we’ve featured on our website in the last 5 years. Bovada is quickly becoming somewhat of a gold standard for betting on sports, and with a reputation solidly built on its’ big brother, Bodog, you can rest assured this is a great place to stash and grow your money on all the wagering options listed there for each passing day. Let’s break into all the available sports betting options at Bovada today, taking in the best-looking picks on MLB Baseball.

Surfing across the most telling trends of the day in the baseball world, we turn first and foremost to Game 3 of the series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants, as the Giants have a chance to sweep the Dodgers out of town and claim a tie for the NL West division lead this evening. The Dodgers simply have not been able to pull out of their hitting slump, getting shutout last night by Ryan Vogelsong in a 2-0 loss, and if they can’t find a way to get it going against the struggling Tim Lincecum tonight, there may simply be no hope for them until Matt Kemp returns to the line-up. Chad Billingsley will take the mound for the Dodgers and should provide LA with a solid shot at winning, but like last night for Clayton Kershaw, there is nothing the starting rotation can do to win if they don’t get any run support. It’s a risky pick backing an unstable pitcher like Lincecum is right now, but we’ll go out on a limb and push for SF to sweep the series with a win tonight at home.

Another key match-up to check out lies with the Los Angeles Angels and Baltimore Orioles series, where the best pitching duel lies between the Angels’ Jered Weaver and Baltimore’s Jason Hammel. The Angels could get the sweep of the O’s tonight with another solid Weaver performance, but this showdown could find the best betting options leaning to the under side of total runs, currently at 7 ½ at Bovada sportsbook. Moving down the American League column of games, also don’t miss out on the series conclusion between the Texas Rangers and the Detroit Tigers, which will find both teams vying for the series win in the rubber match this evening. Catch another great pitching match-up here as Detroit’s Doug Fister battles Texas’ Roy Oswalt, in what should be an advantage to the veteran Oswalt at home. Make sure to also check betting lines for the conclusion of the Cleveland Indians vs. New York Yankees series, which we’re banking on a 5th straight Yankees win behind Andy Pettitte, and for the Boston Red Sox vs. Toronto Blue Jays series to end with a victory for the Jays, as Ricky Romero recovers from a tough run of mediocre starts to take down the BoSox tonight.

Flipping the table over to top games in the National League today, make sure to check out a great match-up between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Atlanta Braves, and AZ’s Tim Cahill duels with Tommy Hanson, and both pitchers will look to bounce back from recent poor showings in their previous starts. Also keep an eye on the hottest team in the NL right now, the St. Louis Cardinals, who seek a sweep of the flailing Miami Marlins, who have now lost 8 of their last 10, and have not been able to find any answer at the plate over the entire month of June. Though STL throws out young Joe Kelly, who hasn’t been dominant by any means, he could get the Cards to their 6th straight win simply by keeping Miami in check at the plate, and not giving up any big crooked numbers in a single inning. Expect St. Louis to overcome Annibal Sanchez with their improving bats, and walk out of Marlins Park with the sweep tonight.

Although baseball is the showcase for betting on sports just about every day over the summer months, take time to scout out the final matches of Euro 2012 soccer competition, with one big showdown getting underway today as heated rivals Portugal and Spain get set to clash in Donetsk, Ukraine. This match will feature arguably the best all-around team in Europe in Spain, against the team with arguably the greatest player in Europe in Cristiano Ronaldo, and for our bets on soccer we usually tend to side with the all-around package over the contributions of any one standout start. Spain simply has too much depth for Portugal to overcome in this match, with Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Xabi Alonso, Fernando Torres and Gerard Pique just a few of the star-studded names who will be featured on the pitch for the Spanish powerhouse. With Spain a -120 favorite to win, odds look good on a relatively safe wager to take them through to the Final round against either Germany or Italy. Definitely make sure to wrap up your sports betting afternoon with a look on this amazing showdown, featuring two of the best teams in the the European Championships this year.

Dodgers vs. Giants Series Hosts Epic Pitching Showdown

Game 1 of the series between the Los Angeles Dodgers (43-31, 19-19 away) and the San Francisco Giants (41-33, 22-14) may have taken quite a few baseball fans by surprise. Not only did Barry Zito pitch an absolute gem coming off three straight losses, throwing 7 innings of shutout ball while allowing only three hits, but the Dodgers rookie starter Nate Eovaldi, who while being unlucky in the win column still had managed a 2.35 ERA through 5 starts this season, got simply shelled from the onset of last nights game. Allowing all 8 runs of an 8-0 blowout at AT&T Park, both the pitching performance by Eovaldi, and the Dodgers’ inability to jump out offensively against a struggling pitcher start showing some ugly trends for Los Angeles heading into Game 2 tonight; that their usually outstanding starters are starting to wear down under the pressure of having to pitch perfectly every night to stay in contention, while the offense, still sans Matt Kemp, has little to no answer for any offensive threat no matter how anemic or potent it may be. Nonetheless, with great starting pitching, the Dodgers may have their best shot at gathering together a win in the Bay Area, with game time set for 10:05 PM ET from AT&T Park in San Francisco, CA.

Tonight’s match-up on the mound may yet be another very telling example of the amount of pressure being placed on the LA Dodgers’ starting rotation to be perfect, as Clayton Kershaw (5-3, 2.73 ERA) takes on Ryan Vogelsong (6-3, 2.41 ERA). Kershaw, while maintaining a solid ERA throughout the start of the season, had been struggling (by comparison to his usual amazing form) for over a month, allowing 3 or more runs in 4 straight starts, and going 1-2 over his last 6 outings. He’s seemed to being to turn things around however, coming off an outstanding 8 inning, 3 hit performance against Oakland last week, and in his favor tonight he’s traditionally dominated the Giants, posting a 6-0 record with a 0.88 ERA in his last 7 starts against them. Once again, Kershaw will need to be just about flawless as he has been against SF, as the Dodgers still seem to have no answer at the plate to support their pitching staff. LA has lost 6 out of their last 7 games, only once scoring more than 3 runs during that stretch (in an 8-5 loss), and still cannot find someone to step up and fill the arguably deep void left by Matt Kemp’s absence in the batting line-up. Either Kershaw has to be near perfect once again tonight, or the Dodgers have to come up with something miraculous at the plate against Ryan Vogelsong.

It’s safe to say that Ryan Vogelsong has been one of the key Giants’ pitchers to step up in form since the well-documented decline of Tim Lincecum began, and Vogelsong has exceeded all expectations by being one of the most consistent pitchers in the San Francisco rotation. Outside of being spectacular all-around this season, he’s been exceptional on his home mound, posting a 3-0 record with a 1.26 ERA in five starts, all Giants wins, at AT&T park. Coming off his first loss in 8 starts, tonight’s match-up looks to get Vogelsong back into the ‘business as usual’ mode, as he’ll face one of the most diminished batting lineups in the National League tonight. Without Matt Kemp, the Dodgers just don’t have the middle of the order power, hitting just 6 homers as a team since the start of June. No one has stepped up to be the go-to guy in the batting order, and without someone providing some pop tonight, expect Vogelsong to be in line for his 13th quality start in 14 outings, and to build on his 3-1 record with a 2.76 ERA against the Dodger lineup over the last two years.

What is interesting about the Dodgers against Vogelsong, is despite their losing record against him, they’re still hitting the ball very well in opposition, posting a north-of-.300 batting average over Vogelsong’s last 4 starts against LA. In fact, even discounting Matt Kemp from the line-up, the entire Dodgers’ order is hitting near .340 combined lifetime against Vogelsong, something that could be cause for the Dodgers to rally around. Although LA hasn’t done a good job at converting those good hitting stats into hard numbers on the scoreboard, evident by the fact they’ve lost in 3 out of the last 4 games against Vogelsong, nonetheless it could be a start for the Dodgers to get base runners on, and egg on some clutch hitting somewhere in the line-up. That always seems to point to Andre Ethier, who continues to be a massive disappointment with Matt Kemp out of the line-up. Since Kemps’ absence began back on May 31st, Ethier is hitting .217 with just 1 home run and 11 RBIs. There is no question that if the Dodgers want to break out of their funk, without Kemp in the line-up, Ethier has to be the lightning rod for the team. Other key Dodgers that could help out tonight though include Dee Gordon, who is 5-for-11 lifetime vs. Vogelsong, and James Loney, who’s 6-for-12 against him over his career. Juan Rivera has also had plenty of success, going 6-for-14 against the San Francisco starter, but the bottom line of runs has been the real tough nut for the Dodger order to crack. Outside of Matt Kemp, who has 3 career RBIs against Vogelsong, the rest of the Dodger hitters have amassed just 4 runs against him, which they’ll need to at least muster collectively tonight to guarantee a shot at victory.

For the Giants’ batsmen, last night’s 8-run performance was a welcome sign for a team that ranks 21st in the league with 301 runs scored. There has been a lot of inconsistency at the plate for SF this season, especially in producing runs, as there’s little in the way of power hitting outside of Pablo Sandoval. Fortunately, he’ll be the key against the Dodgers this evening, as he’s simply torched LA pitching to the tune of 16-for-27 with 8 RBIs in his last 10 games against the Dodgers. He hasn’t been as successful against Kershaw, posting a .238 lifetime average against him, but he’s hitting .315 on the month, and comes off a 3-for-3 outing last night. Expect him to be a key factor in this game for the Giants. It would also be a great time for Buster Posey to come out of his shell against Kershaw, as despite the fact he’s hitting .195 lifetime against him, he’s hit safely in 9 of his last 10 games, and is batting .295 for the month with 4 home runs and 13 RBI. He’ll be rested after sitting out Monday’s game, so look for him to be a contributor in some form at the plate this evening. Though the Giants themselves are shy on power hitters, right now they’re looking to be hitting a groove, and with the Dodgers just 2 games north of them in the NL West and an opportunity to close that gap to nil by the end of the series, expect the Giants hitters to be hell-bent on stepping up against a very tough pitcher in Kershaw this evening.

Betting Lines for the Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Francisco Giants at TopBet Sportsbook.

The LA Dodgers, despite suffering setbacks at the plate, come into tonight’s match-up as a favorite to win behind Clayton Kershaw, getting -120 odds straight up on the money line. Since Kershaw hasn’t been defeated in his last 7 starts against the Giants, it’s a safe assumption the bookmakers are making to back him as a slight favorite over Ryan Vogelsong. However, that favoring leads to opportunity for Giants’ backers tonight, with Vogelsong getting +110 odds behind him as the starter in tonight’s Game 2. That will make it very tempting to back SF, considering that the Dodgers have had lots of trouble giving support to their starters, and considering how well Vogelsong has performed at home this season.

Against the spread, it’s safe to say that this game should be much, much closer than last night’s blowout affair. The Dodgers get +140 odds to cover 1.5 runs as favorites, while the Giants are again a tempting option at -160 odds to stay within 1.5 runs of LA tonight.

For the over/under, the quality of pitchers again dictates the total runs line, as does the lack of hitting for the visiting Dodgers. Just 6 runs stands as the mark to stay under or push over, with -105 odds going to the over pickers, and -115 odds going for the under, showing that the bookmakers expect runs to be few and far between. Look out for perhaps the lowest scoring MLB game of the day to take place right here, and while it’s extremely low, the under side of total runs is likely the best option across the board for wagering on this game today.

Top Sportsbook Bets on MLB Baseball at TopBet

As we settle into the everyday flow of Major League Baseball action for online sports betting at the best online sportsbooks reviewed at CR, each game becomes a little more predictable, and a little bit easier to choose which way to wager on. Now that the NBA and NHL seasons have concluded, little stands in the way of really diving into each and every option for wagering on baseball day-in and day-out, and while perhaps not as diverse a selection as most sports betting fanatics would like, it nonetheless presents an opportunity to hone in on the best bets for one particular sport, and greatly increases the odds of coming away with a successful wager or two upon each visit to one of the top reviewed sportsbooks. For Tuesdays’ trip into the marketplace of betting on baseball, we turn to TopBet Sportsbook, one of our most recent additions here at CR, but already one of our favorite go-to sports betting sites when it comes to placing quick wagers on competitive betting lines. Whether you’re new to the online sportsbook betting world, or simply looking for the right time to make a switch to someplace better, TopBet is one of our first recommendations for you to look into.

Starting off with a look at American League games on Tuesday, one of the first options that catches the eye is the short series between the Los Angeles Angels and the Baltimore Orioles, which features LA’s C.J. Wilson (8-4, 2.44 ERA) vs. Brian Matusz (5-8, 5.00 ERA). The Angels have simply torn up the road lately, winning 12 of their last 13 games away from home, and C.J. Wilson has been solid with a 4-0 record and a 1.31 ERA in his last six starts. Make sure to take a deeper dive into this match-up for the betting lines at TopBet, and look towards hedging a wager on the Angels in some form today. Another key match-up to check for lies with Game 2 of the series between the New York Yankees and the Cleveland Indians, with the Yankees hoping to get a better effort out of Phil Hughes, who was roughed up last week against Atlanta. Facing Justin Masterson tonight, who’s been near flawless in 3 straight starts allowing just 1 earned run in 23 innings of work, New York will look for yet another 4-game winning streak, but will likely have to do it in a low-scoring game, as Masterson should be on point, and Hughes should have a rebound game in him against the anemic offense of the Indians. In one more top-level AL match-up to watch for today, make sure to spot the Texas Rangers chasing a rebound against the Detroit Tigers, with Yu Darvish pitching against Drew Smyly in what should figure to be a better game for the home team after Texas was blown out 8-2 last night as Detroit chewed up rookie pitcher Justin Grimm. With another great pitching match-up tonight, once again we’ll push towards wagers on the over/under, which are inflated for these two hard-hitting teams last night. Even with 10 runs scored in Game 1, under pickers were still rewarded for standing up to the plate against two of the best offenses in the game.

Moving on to the best online sports betting match-ups for the National League today, ride high on the St. Louis Cardinals, who seek a 5th straight win tonight if they can get past Carlos Zambrano and the Miami Marlins. STL puts out Kyle Lohse, who has 3 straight quality starts under his belt, yet hasn’t been on the receiving end of any run support lately. With the Cards finally breaking out on offense last night in an 8-7 extra innings win, double-up on them tonight in Miami as it could be a ripe time to catch St. Louis on the upswing in production, and on a winning tear. Other favorable match-ups to consider include the Atlanta Braves at home vs. the Arizona Diamondbacks, featuring a Hudson vs. Hudson pitching match-up as the veteran Tim Hudson of the Braves takes on the slumping Daniel Hudson of the DBacks, look for a high potential for a low-scoring affair between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Philadelphia Phillies, as Erik Bedard battles Vance Worley on the mound, and for the best NL showdown of the day, turn to the series out in California between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants, as Clayton Kershaw looks primed for a tough pitching showdown with Ryan Vogelsong. Make sure to check out these top match-ups on the day for online sports betting at TopBet sportsbook, as they’re sure to be some of the best betting options lined up for you.

Also keep in mind that you can stay updated with all the sports news and get exclusive sportsbook bonus offers, by signing up for our sports betting newsletter. Have a great day of online sports betting at the TopBet Sportsbook or any of the other top reviewed sportsbooks found here, and we hope to catch you around our site again soon!

Texas Rangers host Detroit Tigers for Top Monday MLB Match-up

The Texas Rangers (45-28, 22-13 home) hold on to the best record in Major League Baseball heading towards the All-Star break, and it’s undoubtedly come on the backs of their absurdly talented batting order. Ranking first across the board in runs scored, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging, not to mention holding the highest run differential of any team in the majors, there is little doubt that the Rangers have the offensive capability to compete with any team in the league, regardless of who they send to the mound on any given night. However, discounting their pitching rotation and bullpen, which also ranks amongst the top 10 in the league in just about every major category, would be a mistake as well for opposing teams, as Texas holds the 6th best ERA in the league, has the 2nd lowest WHIP average (Walks and Hits per Innings Pitched), and holds opponents’ batters to a .242 average, also 6th best in the league. So what then does a team like the Detroit Tigers (35-37, 18-19 away) have to do to win in a road series match-up against arguably to most complete team in baseball this season? Simply put, they’ll need a lot of luck, and a lot of help from their starting pitching, which has a huge mountain to climb starting tonight at 8:05 PM ET from the Rangers Ballpark at Arlington, Texas.

The starting pitching match-up set for Game 1 of this series is certainly an interesting one, with two 23 year-olds set to duke it out on the mound. Rick Porcello (4-5, 4.95 ERA) is the MLB veteran of the two pitchers, throwing in his 4th season, while Texas’ Justin Grimm (1-0, 4.50 ERA) gets just his second career start filling in for Derek Holland, on the DL with a stomach virus. Interestingly enough for this match-up, the rookie pitcher may have the advantage heading into tonight’s game, considering that Detroit hitters have never faced him previously, and that he’s backed by the hardest hitting batting order in the league. Getting 8 runs of support in his debut, in which he pitched pretty well otherwise allowing 3 runs on 6 hits through 6 innings of work, will no doubt boost the young Grimm’s confidence tonight. Adding to his confidence is the fact that he’s well rested, taking 8 days off in between his first start and the one tonight, in preparation to face one of the best-hitting lineups in the American League. In order to get another solid start however, the rookie will have to find a way to mix in a lot more off-speed pitches especially as the night wears on, and will have to be able to spot his pitches throughout the zone to avoid establishing a any sort of routine. There is no question a steady diet of fastballs will soon find one or two of them ending up in the nosebleed seats tonight with the quality of bats Grimm will be facing, so keep an eye out for how well Grimm can mix up his pitch selection and keep his accuracy going.

For Rick Porcello, no one would be envious of the spot he comes into as the lead man to take on the Texas Rangers in Game 1 of this week’s series. Texas is 8-1 in their last 9 games, having just bounced back from their first defeat after winning 7 in a row. Fortunately for Porcello though, the Rangers haven’t been producing astronomical numbers at the plate recently earning just 4 runs per game in their last 3 victories, which could be hopeful for Detroit staying in tonight’s ballgame. Porcello does have one major disadvantage heading into tonight’s match-up, and that’s the fact that he’s a contact pitcher by nature, who has given up 9 or more hits in his last 3 outings, and doesn’t put away a lot of batters on strikes (just 46 strikeouts in 14 starts). With just one victory in his last 8 outings, Porcello also has a bit of a psychological hurdle to overcome, but fortunately his winning hasn’t be necessary to secure a team victory, with the Tigers prevailing in 3 out of his last 5 starts. One thing he’ll have to try and do better tonight though is to limit the amount of base runners, as Texas has a .372 batting average against him since 2009, with Porcello holding a 6.30 ERA during just two games against the Rangers. He’s allowed 16 hits in 10 innings of work against Texas, and such a ratio of hits per inning will not bode well for him on the road this evening. Keep in mind also that Porcello is 0-3 with a 12.08 ERA vs. the AL West this season.

On the hitting side of things, one player that Detroit needs to have come alive is Prince Fielder, who has been in a slump as of late, and has to be a key factor if the Tigers are to have a better showing than their last series with Texas, April 19-22, in which they dropped 3 of 4 games. Fielder has just 5 hits in his last 27 at-bats, and has homered just 1 time in his last 10 games. If he can get the Tigers on the scoreboard early, confidence will blossom throughout the Detroit batting order. Miguel Cabrera, the other 20+ million dollar man on the Tigers roster, also needs to pick up production, having accumulated just 1 RBI in Detroit’s last 5 games. However, having 6 homers in June, and getting one on Saturday at Pittsburgh, look out for this guy to have a break-out night against a young pitcher. One other Detroit batsmen to look for tonight is Austin Jackson, who is hitting .313 this season, and continues to be a surprise in his third year playing at the major league level. While he’s struggled with strikeouts, he’s been a key hitter on the road for the Tigers, batting .306 away from home, and .331 vs. AL pitching. He’s also hitting .341 against righties this season, which could make him a candidate to be on the base path a few times this evening.

For Texas, we pretty much know the hitting story. Josh Hamilton is unreal once again this year, hitting .319 with 22 homers and a whopping 64 RBI. However, he’s been slumping in June with a .194 average and just 1 home run, and for today he’ll look for his first RBI in 5 games. Fortunately the Texas Rangers don’t rely solely on Hamilton, as Adrian Beltre has picked up the slack, hitting .333 in June, David Murphy is a match-up nightmare for Porcello, already 5 for 7 during his short career against him (also hitting .319 for June), and Michael Young and Mike Napoli are both due to step up their hitting games at some point. With a contact pitcher like Rick Porcello in opposition, the Rangers need to focus on just that; making contact. They’ll be getting pitches to hit most likely all the time Porcello is on the hill, so the priority for Texas will be getting base runners on, and converting them into runs. Texas has been outstanding at producing runs this year, leading the majors with 386 of them thus far, and expect them to be producing once again at home tonight.

Betting Lines for Texas Rangers vs. Detroit Tigers at Betonline Sportsbook

The Texas Rangers, despite having a rookie pitcher on the mound, are straight up favorites tonight for Game 1 on the money line at Betonline, getting -138 odds to win. Detroit comes in as a +128 underdog, which shouldn’t be quite tempting enough considering Texas’ power, and Porcello’s recent record.

Against the spread, the Rangers will need to cover 1 ½ runs to earn spread pickers +130 odds. This may be the most tantalizing wager of the evening, considering the power of the Texas bats, combined with Detroit not yet seeing the Rangers’ rookie pitcher, who has looked solid in his debut, and his minor league outings to-date. With Detroit at -150 odds to stay within 1 ½ runs on the road, the Texas side of the spread seems to be again the best option.

With two very powerful lineups however, the best betting lines to chase down may very well be on the over/under, which stands at a lofty 11 runs. Playing it somewhat safe, the Betonline bookmakers give -115 odds to under pickers, with -105 odd for over takers. With Texas not producing huge run totals, and Detroit knowing they need to focus on keeping runners off the base path, we’re siding with the under wager here to hope for a more defense-first ballgame to kick off this series.