WagerTalk Podcast: NBA Playoffs Predictions from Vegas

Nothing beats the thrill of winning and the WagerTalk Podcast prepares you to make the most educated bets possible. Listen to WagerTalk Marco D’Angelo @MarcoInVegas , Dave Cokin @davecokin and Ralph Michaels @CalSportsLV each and every Thursday night as they break down sports from a Las Vegas betting perspective.  WagerTalk Podcast: NBA Playoffs Predictions from Vegas.

This week on WagerTalk we look at the NBA Playoffs with special guest Dan Besbris @DanBesbris from Hoop-Ball.com who gives his predictions for the NBA Playoffs, biggest matchups in MLB and close out the show with Free Best Bets for the weekend from the WagerTalk Crew:

Marquee NBA Playoff Games
-Indiana Pacers vs Cleveland Cavaliers
-Miami Heat vs. Philadelphia 76ers
-San Antonio Spurs vs Golden State Warriors
-Utah Jazz vs Oklahoma City Thunder

►Weekend Marquee Baseball Games
-Arizona Diamondbacks (Greinke) vs Los Angeles Dodgers (Madea)
-Philadelphia Phillies (Arrieta) vs Tampa Bay Rays (Archer)
-San Francisco Giants (Beede) vs San Diego Padres (Lucchesi)

►Dan Besbris @DanBesbris from Hoop-Ball.com joins the ball to talk NBA Playoffs, including are there any Live Underdogs that can win their series and Dan’s picks to make it to the NBA Finals.

► The Wagertalk Crew closes out the show with their Free Weekend Best Bets

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MLB Preview and Free Pick: Detroit at Cleveland

MLB Preview and Free Pick: White Sox vs Indians

The Tigers and the Indians square off at Progressive Field with first pitch slated for 6:10 p.m. ET. Detroit throws Michael Fulmer (1-1, 0.68 ERA) to the mound to oppose Cleveland’s Trevor Bauer (0-1, 2.08). MLB Preview and Free Pick: Detroit at Cleveland.

Fulmer dropped his season debut in disappointing fashion. He followed the first outing with a strong performance against the Chicago White Sox. Fulmer surrendered six hits over 5 1/3 scoreless innings this past Saturday. Fulmer takes the mound tonight with a sub-1.00 ERA and a WHIP of 1.13. Fulmer’s performance across his first two games in 2018 is a mirror of his 2017 campaign. The right-hander doesn’t earn enough swings and misses to be dominant in any fashion or form. His five walks on the season are higher than his career average, however, what is most concerning with Fulmer is his regression in strike outs per nine innings.

Bauer and the Indians (-190, 8.5) look to complete a four-game home sweep of the Central Division-rival Tigers. And the mound mismatch today indicates that the likelihood of such an event is more probable than not. Cleveland starters have allowed just seven runs over 50 1/3 innings since April 4. Bauer is coming off an outing in which he allowed one run and three hits over eight innings. The result was a 1-0 defeat at the hands of powerless Kansas City.

Detroit is 10-30 against the Indians since the start of 2016. And the start of this 2018 season has seen the Tigers hit a mere 3 home runs in 377 at-bats.

The Indians top of the lineup has begun squaring up the baseball after a slow offensive start to the season. Francisco Lindor and Michael Brantley are heating up at the plate despite the cold April in the Midwest. In addition Cleveland third baseman Jose Ramirez is 4-for-8 with a solo homer in this series.

The weather conditions for tonight’s event in upper Ohio call for temps in the mid-50’s at first pitch. The forecast shows strong winds blowing out to right-center field but they are expected to die to 3-5 m.p.h. by the time the two AL Central squads take the field at 5:10 p.m CT.

Scheduled home plate umpire Manny Gonzalez has registered more over the total finals than unders across the last three seasons. However, those number are skewed when closely reviewed. The earned run average of the starting pitcher when Gonzalez is wearing the vest is nearly 5.00.

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 7-0 MLB RUN:  Finn cashed his seventh straight Major League Baseball release on Wednesday with an early pitch Hi-Roller event in Kansas City. The Royals and the Seattle Mariners came in under the 8.5 run total extending Finn’s overall MLB run to 7-0 and dating back to last year’s postseason is a perfect 7-0 with his baseball totals, as well. He has isolated one Thursday Night event from the Junior Circuit that offers significant advantages to his recommended investment. Join Tony on the diamond Thursday with this THURSDAY NIGHT AMERICAN LEAGUE GAME OF THE WEEK (7-0).

Read moreMLB Preview and Free Pick: Detroit at Cleveland

Wed Nite MLB Free Pick: LA Angels at Texas

Major League Baseball Preview and Free Pick: Indians vs Angels

Two American League West foes square off in the heart of Texas tonight. The Angels visit the Rangers for an 8:05 p.m. ET diamond dandy at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Wed Nite MLB Free Pick: LA Angels at Texas.

The Los Angeles Angels (+100, 11.5) are knocking the cover off the baseball. The Halos lead the majors in runs scored (79), hits (128) and home runs (20). The Angels tied their best franchise start to a season after 12 games winning their ninth on Tuesday night. L.A. score 19 runs and 31 hits against a Texas team that did nothing short of tank this offseason.

The Rangers 3-10 mark to start the 2018 campaign is their worst since the 2002 season. While future Hall of Fame third baseman Adrian Beltre continues to play like an All Star there are few bright spots for Texas moving forward. ‘

The Angels send right-hander Jaime Barria (0-0, 0.00) to the Globe Life mound to face Rangers veteran lefty Matt Moore (0-2, 11.05)

Barria was signed by the Angels five years ago as a teenager. He was activated today for his major league debut at 21-years of age. He has had only three Triple-A starts. The young righty depends on his plus-plus changeup. Barria has a low-90s fastball with dynamic movement that explodes at the plate, especially when he is commanding his change. He adds a slurve to his repertoire nearly 20 percent of the time and is for all measure a three-pitch pitcher at this point of his career.

Moore continues what was a pedestrian 2017 campaign. He walked four in his 3 1/3 innings of work on Friday against Houston. While he owns a 4-0 mark with a 1.78 ERA in five career outings against the Angels this is a different, a healthy, Los Angeles lineup.

Texas is offensively challenged especially after losing Rougned Odor to a hamstring injury on Monday night. And center fielder Delino DeShields is on the 10-day disable list.

It is difficult not to back a hot hitting Angels club throwing a pitcher to the mound that the Rangers don’t have an extensive scouting report on.

Wed Nite MLB Free Pick is a play on Barria in his big league debut

 

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PREZ WED ALL-SPORTS ALL-ACCESS

Read moreWed Nite MLB Free Pick: LA Angels at Texas

American League Central Free Pick: Kansas City at Cleveland

American League Central Free Pick: Kansas City at Cleveland

All of the talk that young right-hander Mike Clevinger was fighting for a rotation spot this spring was nonsense. The Indians host the Royals in a getaway day contest at Progressive Field today. American League Central Free Pick: Kansas City at Cleveland.

First pitch in this Central event is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. ET. It is noteworthy that the conditions in the upper Ohio region are anything but spring like. Temperatures are expected to be near freezing as the game gets underway with a 10 mph breeze blowing out to right-center field.

Cleveland (-210, 8) is not only the reigning division champions they are overwhelming favorites, by most measures, to repeat as the AL Central champs. In the first week of the season the offensive has sputtered. The 3-5 Indians rank last in the majors with a .161 team batting average. To their defense, being shut out by Kansas City ace lefty Danny Duffy isn’t anything to be ashamed or worried about. The Tribe was blanked 1-0 on six hits Saturday in a game that saw a total of nine hits. The Royals never had an at-bat with a runner in scoring position.

Cleveland has scored just seven times in losing three of its last four. However, today is a new day, and the ability and talent of Jose Ramirez (.067), Yan Gomes (.118), Jason Kipnis (.133) and Yonder Alonso (.167) will return to form sooner than later. While the conditions are not hitter-friendly today in Cleveland there isn’t a better opportunity to break out of an offensive slump than having at-bats against veteran pitcher Jason Hammel.

Clevinger gets the ball for Cleveland and he faces a Kansas City offense that is dead last in the RBI category this season. In six games the KC lineup has a mere 14 RBI and are hitting .186 as a team. The Royals also sports a league-worst .250 on-base percentage.

Hammel (0-1, 9.00 ERA) was himself in his season debut. Inconsistent with the inability to get enough swings and misses to make him competitive at the highest level. Hammel allowed just one run in the first four innings before giving four on four hits in the fifth frame. The 35-year-old was 8-13 last season and finished with a 5.29 ERA. Hammel faced the Indians five times a year ago and was 3-2 with a 4.88 ERA in those five starts.

Clevinger (1-0, 0.00) is off a start where he surrendered four hits and two walks over 5 1/3 scoreless innings. The 27-year-old is in his prime and is in line to have a career season. Clevinger was 5-3 with a 3.79 ERA in 15 appearances (10 starts) at home and 2-0 with a 2.16 ERA against the Royals a year ago. The Indians right-hander has underlying peripherals that are dynamic. Clevinger fanned 137 in 121 2/3 innings in 2017.

The righty threw 65 of 97 pitches for strikes in his debut against the Angels. Clevinger didn’t allow a base runner past second base. Clevinger is coming off the best campaign of his career. The Tribe’s righty threw 121.2 innings with a 3.11 ERA. In addition to those 137 batters he struck out he did walk 60. That K:BB ratio will improve this season and his numbers against left-handed hitters over his last 15 starts has improved dramatically.

There are no unknowns with Clevinger. Don’t buy into the local Ohio beat writers wishy-washy talk about Clevinger’s inexperience and command issues. This is a young righty with dominating stuff, especially against right-handed hitters.

Clevinger has four quality pitches with varying release points that make his 93 mph four-seam fastball extremely difficult to pick up. His change-up has an optimal 7-to-8 mph differential from his fastball. And his curve averages just over 75 mph. His best pitch is his slider which comes to the plate in the neighborhood of 84 mph.

Depending on how much value you put in peripherals (something that I put extreme value in with pitchers from start to start) his fastball grades at as average but his slider rates off the charts good. Using Fangraphs as the grader concerning Clevinger his fastball graded at -0.8. But his slider was a ridiculous 9.3. Clevinger’s curveball (3.2) and Changeup (0.5) make him a person (pitcher) of interest.

Note that Clevinger’s +9.3 grade on the slider only rates as the 21st best slider in the MLB. However, his delivery angle and repertoire of four quality pitches makes him uber difficult to square up, put the bat on ball period, for that matter. Clevinger had a sickly impressive swing and miss percentage of 23% on his slider a year ago. That figures to improve this season. Comparing pitchers grades isn’t a reliable measure but for this articles sake it is worth mentioning that Boston lefty Chris Sale’s highest career Whiff% in a single season for his slider is 18.35 percent.

The pitching matchup strongly favors the Indians Clevinger. Both teams are struggling offensively. The conditions at Progressive are pitcher-friendly. And while -200-plus on Clevinger isn’t something I recommend, ever, playing UNDER the TOTAL in this Sunday afternoon tilt offers value.

Free Pick play is UNDER 8 runs

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Read moreAmerican League Central Free Pick: Kansas City at Cleveland

Friday Night AL Free Pick: Baltimore at NY Yankees

but surrendered 15 runs and 23 hits over 17 frames in three turns last season.

The American League East rival Orioles and Yankees are in the Bronx on Friday night. First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m. ET at Yankee Stadium. Friday Night AL Free Pick: Baltimore at NY Yankees.

Baltimore is looking to win two consecutive games for the first time this season. The square off against divisional foe New York. The divisional battle is the second of a three game set.

Yankees (-172, 9) right-handed slugger, Aaron Judge, went deep for his 12th career home run against the O’s on Thursday night. Judge has 58 home runs in 189 career games and is indisputably the primary bat that makes the Yankees offense click.

The Orioles send right-hander Kevin Gausman (0-1, 13.50 ERA) to the mound to square off against Yankees veteran lefty CC Sabathia (0-0, 1.80).

Gausman was hit hard in his first outing this season. The O’s righty gave up six runs on seven hits over four innings in a loss to the Minnesota Twins this past Sunday. The young Baltimore starter allowed 29 home runs last season.

Sabathia has rebounded from an under-performing 2016 campaign. He was solid in his first turn to the mound. C.C. allowed one earned run and five hits with four K’s and two walks. He threw 54 of his 84 pitches for strikes and was a solid part of the Yankees first week of success.

Sabathia has been uber successful against the Orioles in his career. He is 19-10 with two shutouts with a 3.56 ERA lifetime against the Birds in 41 career starts. His last stint against the Birds, a season ago, was more indicative of who Sabathia is at this point in his career.  The southpaw surrendered 15 runs and 23 hits in 17 innings of work and three starts.

Andrew Jones has been successful against C.C. in his career. He has five home runs and 15 runs driven in against Sabathia lifetime.

This isn’t the pitching mismatch that the oddsmakers have positioned the game via the handicap. Sabathia and the Yankees are minus-175 favorites tonight at the new house that Ruth built.

The total of 8.5 is the play in this event. Weather conditions in the Bronx calls for 50 degree temps at first pitch with winds blowing out to right field. Both teams should have plenty of chances to score runs tonight.

The home plate umpire is scheduled to be Ed Hickox who is hitter-friendly. Hickox was 9-7 overs-to-unders a season ago. He was 8-8 in 2016 and was 15-11 overs-to-unders in 2015. The last two seasons in which Hickox registered more unders than overs was in 2007 and 2017.

The strike zone is small and both teams have a large number of scoring chances tonight at Yankee Stadium.

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FRI NITE MLB & NBA PICK-PACK (13-4)

Read moreFriday Night AL Free Pick: Baltimore at NY Yankees

National League Free Pick: LA Dodgers at San Francisco

National League Free Pick: LA Dodgers at San Francisco

The Dodgers and Giants take to AT&T Park for a late west coast event. First pitch is scheduled for 10:15 p.m. ET with the visitors sending RH Kenta Maeda (1-0, 0.00 ERA) to the mound to oppose host LH Derek Holland (0-1, 5.40). National League Free Pick: LA Dodgers at San Francisco.

Los Angeles (-153, 8) has been typical of most Major League teams in the first week of 2018 play. The Dodgers lost two games by a 1-0 score in the opening season series against the Giants. LA registered just seven hits in the two losses.

Friday starter for LA, Kenta Maeda, continues to get opportunities in the Dodgers starting rotation. When the Dodgers lost Cy Young winner Zack Greinke to Arizona in free agency the team has primarily used Maeda in Greinke’s rotation spot. After a brief stint of success the right-hander has been pedestrian 13-6 mark last season came with a 4.22 ERA. Maeda struck out 10 San Francisco batters allowing five hits in five innings of work in the Dodgers 5-0 victory over the Giants on Saturday.

Holland allowed five runs (three earned) and walked three in his first five innings of work this season. The veteran lefty, for the most part, hasn’t been effective since being a part of the Chicago White Sox a season ago. Holland is 2-6 in his last 11 starts with the Sox and Giants.

Both of these teams are better offensively than they have showed this season. And the two pitchers that are taking the mound to start for their respective teams are suspect to big innings. While AT&T Park is a pitcher-friendly venue the conditions in the Bay Area tonight call for 60 degrees with a brisk wind blowing towards right-center field.

The National League Free Pick is a play OVER the TOTAL of 8 runs

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FINN FRI ALL-SPORTS 3-GAME REPORT

Read moreNational League Free Pick: LA Dodgers at San Francisco

WagerTalk Podcast: Weekend Marquee Games in NBA and MLB, PLUS Best Bets!

WagerTalk Podcast

Nothing beats the thrill of winning and the WagerTalk Podcast prepares you to make the most educated bets possible. Listen to WagerTalk Marco D’Angelo @MarcoInVegas , Dave Cokin @davecokin and Ralph Michaels @CalSportsLV each and every Thursday night as they break down sports from a Las Vegas betting perspective.  WagerTalk Podcast: Weekend Marquee Games in NBA and MLB, PLUS Best Bets!

This week on WagerTalk we look at the weekend marquee games in the  NBA with playoff implications, biggest matchups in MLB and close out the show with Free Best Bets for the weekend from the WagerTalk Crew:

► Weekend Marquee NBA Games
-Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Philadelphia 76ers (Friday)
-Portland Trail Blazers vs. San Antonio Spurs (Saturday)
-Utah Jazz vs Los Angeles Lakers (Sunday)

►Weekend Marquee Baseball Games
-Los Angeles Dodgers (Madea) vs San Francisco Giants (Holland) (Friday)
-Arizona Diamondbacks (Greinke) vs St Louis Cardinals (Wacha) (Saturday)
-Oakland Athletics (Graveman) vs Los Angeles Angels (Ohtani) (Sunday)

► The Wagertalk Crew closes out the show with their Free Weekend Best Bets

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Read moreWagerTalk Podcast: Weekend Marquee Games in NBA and MLB, PLUS Best Bets!