It’s Time to Give Thanks for Some Great and Maybe Not-So-Great Moments in Sports

Although I'm not a Yankees' fan, I'm thankful for the career of Derek Jeter.

I have an extensive list as to why Thanksgiving Day is the best holiday of them all but I’m not going in to that. I’ll boil it down this way for you; food and football. Does there really need to be anything other than those two things when we really get right down to it?

Today is a good day for me to give thanks to many things from the world of sports in the last calendar year so let’s not wait any longer.

I’m thankful for…

Derek Jeter. No one did it as professionally and as respectfully as the captain for 20 straight years.

The San Antonio Spurs who proved that winning basketball titles is still about how well you play as a team, not as a group of individuals.

The people at North Carolina who finally had the courage to come out with the news of the academic fraud that had been happening for years.

Ed O’Bannon and the other players who put a stop to the NCAA and EA Sports using their likenesses without compensation in video games. The time I have saved this year not playing the newest version of NCAA Football on Xbox 360 is immeasurable.

Playoff hockey which no matter who is playing it’s still the most thrilling playoff in sports.

The Tallahassee Police Department who continue to make the Keystone Cops look like CIA agents.

The people who bought Devon Still jerseys even if they weren’t Bengals’ fans.

College Football finally getting rid of the BCS.

Brady Hoke, Bo Pelini and Will Muschamp for giving me so much to write about this fall.

The Kansas City Royals who once again showed how great sports can really be.

Roger Goodell who as long as he is running the NFL will give me plenty to rant about.

J.J. Watt who proves that great players can be great people too.

O’Dell Beckham’s amazing catch which took attention away from talking about the Cowboys.

Why shouldn't we be thankful to Justin Verlander for giving us more opportunities to see Kate Upton?

Justin Verlander who keeps giving us more opportunities to see Kate Upton.

Not having to hear the name “Richie Incognito” this season.

Every player that scores in the waning moments just to make my betting pick look good.

College Gameday Signs which never stop making me laugh and cry for our nation at the same time.

Jon Gruden who makes watching Monday Night Football interesting from either a football standpoint or a “What the hell did he just say?” standpoint.

Officials in all sports and at all levels. It’s the most thankless job in all of sports.

Penn State who continues to wear the same uniform week in and week out rather than something new and flashy every week in an effort to sell jerseys.

California Chrome who gave us another amazing shot at the Triple Crown.

Batters who don’t need to re-adjust their batting gloves, body armor or cup between every single pitch.

Coaches who actually answer questions in their press conferences rather than give the same, tired responses each week.

An A-Rod free baseball season.

For Twitter which reminds me how great and horrible sports’ fans can be in just two tweets.

Jerry Jones who reminds all of us of the dangers of too much plastic surgery.

Jim Harbaugh who makes it OK for us guys to wear Wal-Mart pants. On second thought…

Two more months of NFL football.

Isn’t it nice to be thankful?





Keys to Betting Baseball as the Summer Heats Up

Billy Butler and the Royals have been red-hot and now find themselves in first place in the AL Central.

As I mentioned last weekend, we have arrived at the moment in in the sports’ world where the calendar is void of three of the four major professional sports in America. The NBA Finals and NHL Stanley Cup Finals are history and the NFL now heads into a relative dormant period before training camps get going.

That means all eyes turn to baseball and if you are going to do some wagering on what some still believe is America’s Pastime then you need to be aware of several things before you do.

Right now, any game that Verlander starts, I'm suggesting the over.

Pitching Match-Ups – These are vital for more than just the obvious win-loss records. If you’re going to take you’re baseball betting seriously then you need to look at recent trends as well. Typically most sites offer you the pitcher’s most recent three starts and I advise you pay special attention to those.

Last week, Justin Verlander was starting the opening game of an important four-game series at home against the Kansas City Royals. His record was a very un-Verlander like 6-6 but his recent starts revealed an even worse stretch where he’d given up six plus runs in his last three starts. With the Royals coming in on a seven-game winning streak, it was almost too easy to go with the Royals.

Verlander was again hit hard and was sent packing with another loss.

Over/Under – If you’re going to play the over/under on Major League Baseball games then obviously you need to see the pitching match-up section above. You will however need to go a step further and analyze the batting stats for each team as well. What made choosing against Verlander easy was his recent record, but also was the hot hitting of the Royals.

Taking it a step further, pay attention to the ball park the teams are playing in as well. Is it a stadium that gives up lots of home runs? Does it have a lot of foul territory? What is the ERA of visiting pitchers?

If you find yourself looking at a game where two very good pitchers at opposing one another then you are probably best suited to take the under. Conversely, if two guys who have struggled are taking the hill then the over is probably your best play.

Regardless of the pitchers, you still need to check out the pertinent stats from both the hitting and ball park perspectives.

Win/Loss Trends – I’m a big believer in looking at teams’ records over their last ten games. The problem is that too often we just want to take the win/loss record over that stretch and run with with but it isn’t that easy. You have to also consider the opposition that the team faced over that ten-game stretch.

If the Yankees for instance go 9-1 that’s great. But who did they play over that span? If they knocked off Oakland, Toronto and Detroit over that time then you have yourself a legitimate ten game stretch. If the Yankees are knocking off the sisters of the poor then you should probably reconsider a bit before wagering on them. This of course depends upon who the opponent is too.

The most important thing you can do if you’re going to wager a single MLB game or series is put in the time. Sports betting success does not come easy and requires time. Checking into the three things I mentioned above will help you considerably, but there is no end to the stats and trends you could and should consider.

Time to Focus on Baseball Once Again

Jared Weaver takes the mound in Cleveland looking to keep the Angels close to the A's in the West.

The world of sports is cyclical. Some of us want to start the calendar on January first when the NHL, NBA, NFL, College Football and College Basketball are in full swing. Others like to call the opening day of baseball the true start to the sports calendar. This is when the NHL and NBA are gearing up for their playoffs while College Basketball is awaiting its’ Final Four.

Regardless of when you mark the start, the period we are now in is all about Major League Baseball. Oh sure, the World Cup is going on but that happens once every four years so I don’t count it.

What we can count on is today’s lines in the world of baseball.

LA Angels (-120) at Cleveland (EVEN), O/U 8.5Jared Weaver 7-5 vs. Trevor Bauer 1-3 The Angels head to Cleveland following a loss in Atlanta last night. They’ve gone 6-4 over their last ten games and remain 4.5 games behind West Division leader Oakland. The Indians are 5-5 in their last ten games, but have won two straight and have a 21-11 record at home.

Both pitchers went just five and a third innings in their last starts and they’ve both struggled in their last three games. Weaver is 1-2 with an ERA of 5.71 while Bauer is 0-1 with an ERA of 4.58.

The Angels and Indians rank third and fourth respectively in batting in the American League so I expect runs to be scored with both pitchers struggling. Take the Indians at home and I like the OVER as well.

Verlander has been quite average this season and that needs to change immediately for the Tigers.

Kansas City (+135) at Detroit (-155), O/U 8.5Jason Vargas 6-2 vs. Justin Verlander 6-6 This was a series that didn’t appear to be all that important a month or so ago as the Tigers had a five and half game lead and the Royals were struggling. That isn’t the case now as the Royals have won seven straight games and eight of their last ten. The Tigers have righted their ship a bit after some serious struggles. They’ve won two in a row and have gone 5-5 over their last ten.

Tigers’ ace Justin Verlander has been extremely disappointing this season going just 6-6. His ERA is a whopping 4.61 and over his last three starts is 6.64. While has been a bit better at home, it’s hard to ignore what’s happening here. His fastball is not what it was and his curve is not biting like it once did. Meanwhile, Vargas is 2-0 with an ERA under three in his last three outings.

Until Verlander proves he has his old stuff back, I have zero confidence in him. I like the Royals and take the OVER as well.

Texas (+150) at Oakland (-170), O/U 7.5Colby Lewis 4-4 vs. Drew Pomeranz 5-3 Can you call a series in June a BIG series? I certainly can. If the Tigers and Royals have a big one starting in Detroit today then this one in Oakland then this one certainly is. The Rangers are in fourth place in the AL West and they trail the Athletics by eight games.

While the Rangers cannot look to gain back everything in one series, they can fall pretty much out of it should they be swept. The pressure in game one falls on Colby Lewis is 4-4 with an ERA of 5.72. In his last three starts he is 0-1 with an ERA that sounds more like an airliner at 7.47. His opponent is Drew Pomeranz who is 5-3 with an exceptional ERA of 1.90. His last three starts have seen him go 1-1 with an ERA of 2.79 which is still very good.

I think Lewis will pitch well tonight but I like Oakland behind Pomeranz and their solid offense which is tops in the AL. Take the UNDER tonight.

American League MVP and Cy Young Odds

I expect the third time to eb the charm for Mike Trout and the MVP.

Yes, I’m fully aware that it’s the peak of March Madness. I focused a little attention there yesterday and I will give you my best bets for the Final Four on Thursday morning. For today, it’s close to baseball season so here are your odds for MVP and Cy Young winners in American League.

American League MVP

Mike Trout – 5/1 – He’s finished second the last couple of years behind Cabrera and while the sabermetrics crowd will always tell you he’s the most valuable player his team hasn’t reflected that. If the Angles can compete for a division title that will provide Trout the boost he needs should he be neck and neck with someone.

Miguel Cabrera – 6/1 – The big question for Cabrera this season is how much will he miss the protection of Prince Fielder who is now in Texas? Honestly, I don’t think that much considering the poor season Fielder had last year. As always with Cabrera, long-term health is a question but his return to first base should help that.

Jacoby Ellsbury – 12/1 – The former Red Sox’ center fielder joins the rival Yankees in 2014. His numbers from last season aren’t overwhelming (9 HRs and 53 RBIs) but if he can stay healthy he’ll have a chance to do more with a veteran Yankee line-up around him.

Josh Donaldson – 12/1 – The Oakland A’s 3rd baseman had a very good 2013 season hitting 24 home runs and knocking in 93 RBIs to go with his .301 average. Keep an eye on a nagging calf injury that forced him to leave a spring training game this past weekend.

Evan Longoria – 14/1 – Injuries have always plagued Longoria and have kept him from being truly elite. He put up 32 home runs and 88 RBIs last year despite the injury bug. He had been completely healthy but left a spring training game this weekend with some muscle tightness in his leg.

Will Cano be able to carry the weight of the Mariners' line-up?

Robinson Cano – 14/1 – Cano enters the season on the opposite coast as a member of the Seattle Mariners and he’s $240 million richer. He won’t have the publicity machine around him that he’d have in New York and I have to wonder if the pressure is something he can handle as the go-to guy in Seattle. Besides, who will protect him in the line-up?

The Pick: The third time will be the charm for Trout who I expect to have a huge season. Long Shot Pick: Take a chance on Carlos Beltran at 50/1 who benefits from the short porch in Yankee Stadium.

American League Cy Young

Yu Darvish – 7/1 – The hurler from Japan will need to improve upon his 13-9 record from last year despite good ERA and WHIP numbers. The addition of Prince Fielder could help bolster the offensive output which at times let him down in 2013.

David Price – 9/1 – Price won the 2012 Cy Young and then spent a good deal of 2013 on the DL. So far this spring he is 100% healthy and appears to be on track for a big 2014.

Justin Verlander – 10/1 – Verlander had a very pedestrian 13-12 record last season but was very good in the postseason. He had offseason abdominal surgery but so far has looked good in spring training.

Max Scherzer – 10/1 – The reigning Cy Young winner would be the first to tell you that he was the beneficiary of great run support in 2013. Many writers had an issue with Scherzer’s 2.90 ERA but his WHIP of .97 was pretty tough to beat. So far he has had a nice spring and looks good for 2014.

Chris Sale, Felix Hernandez, Matt Moore – 12/1 – Of this group, Hernandez probably has the best shot at winning the Cy Young but counting out Sale or Moore would be a mistake.

The Pick: Verlander. He’s a perfectionist who doesn’t like playing second fiddle to Scherzer. Long-Shot Pick: Joe Nathan. He could get a ton of save opportunities behind a strong Detroit rotation.

Good Match-Ups in Baseball Tonight

Justin Verlander takes the hill for Detroit tonight against the White Sox for the first time this season.

If you take a look at the schedule in Major League Baseball for this evening you’ll see C.C. Sabathia, Justin Verlander and rookie Gerrit Cole on the hill. That means more than just good viewing, it means some nice opportunities to collect on some wagers.

This is the time in the baseball season where fans start to panic about their team’s current state. They often forget that this is a marathon and not a sprint. Take the Detroit Tigers for example who increased their American League Central Division lead to 3.5 games last night with an extra-inning win over second-place Cleveland.

Two years ago on this date, the Tigers were a half-game back of the Indians. Detroit ended up winning the division by 15 games even though many fans were ready to jump off the Ambassador Bridge on July 9th. Last year, the Tigers were 3.5 games back of the Chicago White Sox and a half-game back of Cleveland. Detroit would in the division by three games and advance to the World Series.

Obviously there are fan bases to whom this doesn’t matter and I’m looking at you Houston. However, most of the division races are tight and will go down to the final month so fans need to stop worrying and let things play out for at least another month before anyone hits the panic button.

Tonight in the American League

C.C. Sabathia has pitched better of late for the Yankees.

Kansas City (James Shields) at New York Yankees (C.C. Sabathia)  7.5 -120 over/-110 under Shields has been the victim this season of a Royals’ line-up that just isn’t producing runs while Sabathia appears to be coming out of an early season swoon. Shields ERA is a respectable 3.23 while Sabathia is still hovering above four. I like the Yanks tonight but I’ll take the under.

Chicago White Sox (Jose Quintana) at Detroit Tigers (Justin Verlander) 8 -105 over/-125 under The division rivals meet for the first time this year and will play 18 more times after tonight. The 24-year old Quintana has gone since late May without a decision despite pitching pretty well with and ERA 3.69. Verlander is 9-6 with a very ‘un-Verlander-like’ ERA of 3.54. Despite the Sox being 14 games out, this is still a rivalry. I like the Tigers but I’ll take the over.

Interleague Play

Oakland (Dan Straily) at Pittsburgh (Gerrit Cole) 7.5 -115 over/-115 under You would have won a ton of money had you wagered when these two being in first place when they met in July but here they are. Cole has gone five or more innings in each of his first five big-league starts to earn a 4-1 record. Let’s see how he bounces back from his first loss. Straily is 5-2 and has not lost since May despite some very up and down outings. His 4.52 ERA is a concern and is exactly why I like the Pirates and the over tonight.

Tonight in the National League

LA Dodgers (Ricky Nolasco) at Arizona (Ian Kennedy) 8.5 -115 over/-115 under Nolasco makes his debut after being recently traded to the Dodgers from Miami. He’s won two of his last four starts with one no-decision mixed in there. His ERA is a decent 3.85 and he should get a little more offensive help in LA. Kennedy takes the hill for the NL West leading Diamondbacks. He hasn’t won a decision since June 1st and his ERA has ballooned to over five. I love the Dodgers tonight and the over.

New York Mets (Dillon Gee) at San Francisco (Barry Zito) 7.5 Even over/-130 under Gee has a win and a loss and two ND’s in his last four starts. His ERA was above five for much of the season but is now at 4.45. Zito is given the ball with the responsibility of keeping the defending champions alive. They have fallen to 6.5 games back and cannot lose any more ground. Zito has not won a decision since May 30th and the most he’s gone since early May is seven innings which he did once. I’m surprised the number isn’t higher here. Take the Giants and the over.


I Like the Tigers and Nationals in the Fall Classic

Justin Verlander


Justin Verlander
I expect Verlander and the Tigers to get over the hump and win the World Series.

In most parts of the country right now the last thing on anyone’s mind is Spring. After all, parts of the Midwest and Eastern portions of the United States were dumped on again by old man winter. Pittsburgh for example is supposed to host opening day in less than a week but the diamond at PNC Park was covered with snow yesterday.

Because the snow is still flying doesn’t mean I have to be relegated to discussing March Madness or the NBA right now because baseball’s Opening Day is within sight and it’s now time for my fearless predictions that you may or may not want to take to the bank.


East Division Champions – Tampa Bay Rays

The Yankees are in trouble as are the Red Sox. I expect Toronto to make a more serious run with added pitching and the Orioles will present challenges but I don’t see them making it past Toronto and Tampa. The Rays have pitching, defense and solid hitting which means a division title.

Central Division Champions – Detroit Tigers

This is a mediocre division that I actually expect to be over by Mid-August. Kansas City will be better as will Cleveland but the Tigers are all-in with the addition of Torii Hunter and Victor Martinez back in the line-up to go with that pitching. Anything less than a World Series appearance for this team is a failure.

West Division Champions – Texas Rangers

Popular opinion says take the Angels with offensive prowess and I believe they’ll challenge Texas but I still like the Rangers’ pitching a little better in terms of winning the division. Don’t completely count out the Athletics simply because we never should. This could be a CY Young type year for the Rangers’ Yu Darvish.

Wild-Cards – Toronto Blue Jays, Los Angeles Angels

AL Championship – Detroit over Tampa Bay

AL Most Valuable Player – Miguel Cabrera, has too much protection around him to not have another huge year.

AL CY Young – Justin Verlander, until he proves otherwise, he is still the man to beat.


Stephen Strasburg
Look for Strasburg to make a run at the NL Cy Young Award in 2013.


East Division Champions – Washington Nationals

Most pundits and myself expect a big year from Bryce Harper. I’m not ready to say an ‘MVP-type’ season yet, but it should be a big year. The pitching staff in D.C. is excellent and should keep the Braves at bay.

Central Division Champions – Cincinnati Reds

Aroldis Chapman will stay in the closer’s role and I like that. Let Joey Votto and company get the lead and Chapman can lock down games. I expect the Cardinals to be competitive but I’m not sure they have the man-power to hang with Cincy.

West Division Champions – Los Angeles Dodgers

For the first time in many years, there is finally stability in the organization and the ownership group has shown they will spend any amount to field a winner. I like Arizona to challenge but they just won’t be to hang in with the talent and spending power of the Dodgers.

Wild-Cards – San Francisco Giants, Atlanta Braves

NL Championship – Washington over Cincinnati

NL Most Valuable Player – Joey Votto, only a knee injury kept him from winning it last season. If he stays healthy in ’13 the award will be his.

NL Cy Young – Stephen Strasburg, I believe there will be serious motivation to prove he should have never been shut down last fall.

World Series – Detroit over Washington in 6 games, last fall the Tigers’ bats fell silent against the Giants. They will face tough pitching again this fall but they are now better equipped to handle it from 1-9. I also expect the experience of last year’s World Series trip to pay dividends for the Detroit.

Tigers, Giants Head to World Series

San Francisco celebrates after taking Game 7 of the NLDS.

Finally, after 162 regular season games (per team) and 31 postseason games (all told), Major League Baseball is down to its final two.

Action begins on Wednesday (8 PM ET) as the AL Champion Detroit Tigers head to the West Coast to take on National League Champions, the San Francisco Giants.


San Francisco World Series Bound

By hook or by crook, somehow the San Francisco Giants have managed to find a way to the World Series.

Monday night’s shocking 9-0 dismissal of the St. Louis Cardinals was not only unexpected, but a statement that Bruce Bochy’s side will fight until the very end. Winners of six straight elimination games, the Giants at times looked as though they might not make the postseason, let alone play into late October. The Giants though had resolve, and the mentality to get the job done.

The victory gives the Giants a record-setting 22nd National League pennant, and a 19th trip to the World Series.

San Francisco now prepares for its first World Series since 2010’s victory over the Texas Rangers. This visit to the Fall Classic will be the team’s fifth since departing New York in 1958. It marks the first time the club has met a Detroit Tigers side after July.

A World Series win this year would be the Giants’ seventh such award.


Detroit Makes Trip to the Bay Area

Like San Francisco, during the regular season Detroit looked like it might not make the postseason. A twelfth hour surge saw the Tigers past the Chicago White Sox and into the American League side of the postseason.

Despite having the worst record of those AL teams, Detroit edged out Oakland before humiliating the New York Yankees, booking its place in the World Series last Thursday.

Detroit will play in the Fall Classic for the 11th time, and will be looking to win for the first time since 1984, a year that saw the Tigers defeat the San Diego Padres 4-1.

Life since that World Series victory has been somewhat barren. The Tigers’ only other appearance in the World Series came in 2006, when the team fell 4-1 to the St. Louis Cardinals. A victory this year would represent Detroit’s fifth World Series crown.


Head to Head

Despite both being rich in heritage, the Tigers and Giants met for the first time in 2003, more than 100 years after both clubs came into existence. The teams never met in the World Series, and it was still six years after Interleague Play was first devised (in 1997) that the two sides would meet.

The teams have met for a solitary three-game series in four seasons (2003, 2005, 2008, 2011). During that time, the Giants have taken a slender head-to-head lead (7-5). This has come on the back of a 4-2 record at AT&T Park and a 3-3 record at Comerica Park.

With head-to-head contests infrequent, it should come as no surprise that the starting rotations of both clubs are less than familiar with the opposition.

Detroit’s Justin Verlander has faced the Giants just once, recording a no decision. Doug Fister has never pitched against San Francisco, while Max Scherzer has pitched against the Giants only once in a Tigers uniform. Scherzer recorded a 1-2 record against San Francisco whilst pitching in Arizona (giving him a 1-3 career record).  Anibal Sanchez is the most experienced Detroit starter when it comes to facing the Giants. He recorded a 3-1 record (with one no decision) while pitching for Florida/Miami.

All told, Detroit’s rotation is 4-4 against San Francisco, with two no decisions.

Four of San Francisco’s five-man rotation account for two games (both no decisions) against the Tigers, with Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain never having pitched against Detroit. Barry Zito however is a veritable encyclopedia of experience compared to his team mates. Zito has recorded a 1-1 record while pitching for San Francisco, but went 8-5 with a no decision against the Tigers when pitching for the Oakland A’s.

Overall, San Francisco’s rotation – thanks mainly to Zito – is 9-6 with three no decisions against the Tigers.


Early Odds

While many oddsmakers are fine-tuning their betting lines, early odds have come out in favor of the Detroit Tigers. With the champagne barely soaking in in the San Francisco locker room, bookmakers have set the early World Series odds at 8/13 (Detroit) and 11/8 (San Francisco).

Dickey, Price Lead Cy Young Betting


With just nine days left in the season, it’s do-or-die time for some teams while others are happily contemplating how to spend their winters. For bettors it’s time to really give some thought to who is going to be taking home those individual awards this year.

Bovada released its latest odds for MVPs and CY Young winners on Monday. Here’s a look at the Cy Young odds. These findings might surprise you, but then again, they might not.

Dickey Favorite in NL Cy Young Race

R.A. Dickey has been the shining star of the New York Mets this season, winning 19, striking out 209 and recording a 2.66 ERA.

Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey is now considered the favorite (4/5) to take the National League Cy Young Award.

The righty has been one of the few bright spots for a New York Mets team that has struggled for the better part of the season. Almost unthinkably, Dickey has compiled a 19-6 record on a team that has only gone 70-83. His 2.66 ERA is best amongst NL starters and his strikeouts (209) second behind Clayton Kershaw (211). Still, playing on a losing side could hurt his chances in the long term.

Washington’s Gio Gonzalez is a close second (5/4) behind Dickey, at least in the eyes of the oddsmakers. Gonzalez leads the NL with 20 wins (compared to eight losses) and is ranked fourth in both ERA (2.84) and strikeouts (201). Having led the Nationals to the postseason for the first time in more than two decades, he’ll be given a lot of consideration by voters.

Atlanta closer Craig Kimbrel takes the third spot (5/1). The bullpen guy has converted 39 of 42 save attempts, registering a 2-1 record with an ERA of 1.08. The righty has been essential for the Braves who are getting closer and closer to that Wild Card berth. But will the voters consider a closer as a legitimate contender?

Price Edging Weaver in AL Cy Young Stakes

Tampa Bay's David Price has led by example, compiling 18 wins and a league-best 2.58 ERA along the way.

David Price has led an impressive Tampa Bay rotation all season and is now considered the favorite (10/11) to take home the American League Cy Young award.

The lefty has compiled a 18-5 record, with those 18 wins good enough for second behind L.A.’s Jered Weaver (see below). Price’s ERA is a miniscule (by AL standards) 2.58 and easily the best in the league. 188 strikeouts is good enough for sixth place on the list.

Price’s edge is slim though. Jered Weaver is hot on his heels with odds of 11/10 to take the award. Weaver has been outstanding for the Angels this season and you could easily make the case that without the right-hander, the Angels would not still be in the hunt for postseason play. His 19 wins (compared to four losses) have been invaluable.

Weaver’s also put up an impressive ERA of 2.74, good enough for third in the league. If there’s a downside for Weaver in the eyes of the voters, it’s that he’s only scored 136 strikeouts, good enough for just 23rd across the league. Another knock could come if the Angels fail to make the postseason, although that’s certainly something facing David Price too.

Third on the list of oddsmakers favorites is Detroit’s Justin Verlander. The reigning Cy Young award winner and MVP has had another impressive season tallying a 16-8 record with an ERA of 2.72, good enough for second in the league.

Verlander’s strength in voter’s eyes will be his strikeout tally (231) which is tops in the league, ahead of team mate Max Scherzer (228). Another key figure is the number of innings he’s pitched. Verlander leads the league with 231.1 innings pitched, which is nearly 11 more than second place Felix Hernandez (220.2) and almost 20 ahead of third place James Shields (212.1). That’s an extra 2-3 games he’s effectively thrown.  Still, it is unlikely he’ll be favored for the second straight year, especially if the Tigers fail in their bid to catch the White Sox for the AL Central.

Finally, Fernando Rodney is 5/1 to take the award. There’s no denying that the Tampa Bay closer has been outstanding this year. He’s converted 44/46 saves and added a pair of wins to boot. His miniscule ERA of 0.64 is simply ridiculous. But, like Kimbrel in the National League, how likely is it that voters will go with the closer over a starter?

Monday Night Football Vs. Baseball Contenders


Monday night means one thing: Monday Night Football. Actually, check that. This week it means two things: MNF and the race for baseball’s postseason.

With just 10 days left of the regular season, Major League Baseball is beginning to heat up. Monday sees plenty of contenders looking to secure a spot. Meanwhile, the NFL Monday night game features an intriguing – if not all that fan-friendly – matchup between Green Bay and Seattle. Settle in with the remote and get ready to flick between the action.

NFL: Green Bay Packers @ Seattle Seahawks

(8:30 PM ET)

Marshawn Lynch and the Seattle Seahawks host the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football.

Green Bay (1-1, 0-0 road) heads to the rowdy confines of CenturyLink Field for a showdown with Seattle (1-1, 1-0 home) that will hopefully go some way to clearing up what each team is about this season.

The Packers spluttered in their season-opener against San Francisco before showing an improved performance against the Chicago Bears. Seattle lost a close one in Arizona and then thumped Dallas in the Pacific Northwest. Will the real Packers and Seahawks please stand up?

Green Bay enters the game as 3-point favorites, a number that has dwindled from the opening -6 odds.

In years gone by, this fixture would have been considered just about a dead cert for the Pack. Green Bay is 10-5 all-time against the Seahawks, including seven wins in the last nine. The last time the two teams met, the Packers won 48-10.

Seattle hasn’t beaten Green Bay since November 2006.

Green Bay is 2-2 all-time in visits to Seattle.

But that dominance could be lacking this season as the Packers struggle to find their feet. Aaron Rodgers (522 yards, 3 TDs, 68 percent completion rate) hasn’t quite looked like Aaron Rodgers and the team hasn’t looked sharp around him, especially in the running game. The Packers are averaging just 75.5 yards per game.

Seattle has no such problems running the football. Marshawn Lynch has averaged more than 100 yards per game while the team has averaged 148.5. Meanwhile, rookie QB Russell Wilson has been steady if not stunning, which is exactly what the ’hawks needed.

Having had four days extra to prepare, the advantage still sits with Green Bay, but the eight (yes, eight!) upsets on Sunday’s schedule makes you wonder if it’s not worth taking the Seahawks in this one.

It’s a tough choice, but Green Bay still looks like a good pick. Take the Pack to win this one outright and to beat the spread. With the over/under set at 44 points, take the over. This could turn out to be the shootout we’ve been waiting for from Green Bay.

If you’re looking for some side action, take Aaron Rodgers (at -125) to go over 299½ yards and Marshawn Lynch (at -135) to break 92½ yards rushing.


MLB: Kansas City Royals @ Detroit Tigers / Cleveland Indians @ Chicago White Sox

7:05 PM ET / 8:10 PM ET

In the race for the AL Central title – and the postseason berth that comes alongside it – Detroit and Chicago are both in action tonight.

With just one game separating the two, Detroit (80-72, 46-31 home) will be looking to defeat Kansas City (70-82, 34-40 road) whilst hoping Chicago (81-71, 43-31 home) drops a game to Cleveland (63-90, 29-49 road).

Both teams have had the better of their opposition this season, with the Tigers holding a 7-4 edge over the Royals, and the Sox besting Cleveland 8-4 so far.

Justin Verlander (15-8, 2.74 ERA) goes for Detroit whilst Chris Sale (17-7, 2.82 ERA) takes the mound at ‘The Cell’. Unsurprisingly, both are favorites.

If you’re looking to bet on this, go with both home teams. There might not be a lot of glory involved, but a smart bet is a smart bet. Then take Detroit to edge out Chicago for the division title at the start of next week.


MLB: Baltimore Orioles @ Toronto Blue Jays

4:05 PM ET / 7:05 PM ET

Baltimore (87-65, 45-33 road) remains one-game back of the Yankees for first place in the AL East after both teams fell on Sunday afternoon.

The Orioles now face a four-game set north of the border, starting with a doubleheader on Monday. Toronto (66-85, 36-38 home) is long gone from postseason reckoning but will be looking to play spoiler this week, first against Baltimore then the Yankees. The Jays would also like to leapfrog Boston and get off of the bottom of the division.

Game 1 sees Henderson Alvarez (9-13, 4.87 ERA) go up against Baltimore rookie Steve Johnson (3-0, 1.91 ERA). Game 2 pits Ricky Romero (8-14, 5.72 ERA) against Wi-Yin Chin (12-9, 3.98 ERA). Expect a split of the doubleheader, with Baltimore taking the second game. Unless Game 1 goes to extras; then take Baltimore who appears to be unbeatable after the ninth.