Baseball Betting Predictions, Astros vs Indians Lines

MLB Baseball Odds

Astros at Indians Picks

By Mike Rose

A possible ALCS showdown is set to go down on FOX Saturday night when the American League behemoth Houston Astros and Cleveland Indians lock horns in the third game of their extended weekend series. A doozy of a pitching rematch is set to go down with Lance McCullers Jr. set to square off against Carlos Carrasco. The righties went at one another last Sunday night in a game the Astros pulled out by a 3-1 final count. Runs could be tough to come by in this one as well.

Houston Astros at Cleveland Indians
Date and Time: Saturday, April 26, 2018, 7:15 p.m. ET
Location: Progressive Field, Cleveland, OH
MLB Odds: Check Back Later
Probable Pitchers: Lance McCullers Jr. vs. Carlos Carrasco
Astros at Indians TV Coverage: FOX

The Astros are one of four teams in all of baseball to have amassed 30+ wins at this point of the season. A.J. Hinch and his staff have done a tremendous job keeping their club level headed so as to not suffer a World Series hangover like many other clubs did before them. Especially with the pennant the first in franchise history.

Houston entered Thursday’s series opener winners of five straight series since dropping two of three to the them smoking hot Arizona Diamondbacks at the beginning of May. The club has gotten to this point by way of owning the best pitching staff in the game that’s backed by an offense that ranks top 10 in runs scored per game ( 4.7 ), batting average ( .256 ) and OPS ( .740 ). Even with the team favored heavily in just about every game, it’s still managed to produce $91 in baseball betting profit!

This season has been a struggle for the Tribe. Terry Francona’s squad did however just secure its first series win in three tries by going into Wrigley Field and taking two straight from the feast or famine Cubs. Maybe the feel good wins will propel this team into playing like the team many envisioned at the outset of the season. Regardless, Cleveland only sits a single game over .500 for the season which has seen them cost baseball bettors nearly $1K of their bankrolls.

The issue has been an offense that doesn’t hit for average ( .247 ) and a defense that’s committed a whopping 29 errors ( No. 18 ). On top of that, the bullpen has been a disgrace with it collectively pitching to an ugly 5.65 ERA. However, Andrew Miller looks to be healthy now and he just came up with his biggest hold to date keeping Chicago scoreless in the 8th inning even though they had runners on first and third with no outs. Him pulling through there could get their beleaguered unit back on track.

Pitching Matchup

Lance McCullers Jr. –McCullers was lights out against the Tribe last time out in Houston. He limited Edwin Encarnacion and company to just one hit and no earned runs through seven innings to log his team-leading sixth win of the season. He also registered 8 Ks! Though Houston has won four of his six road starts, his ERA jumps up to 4.36 as opposed to a nifty 1.73 when at home. He’s 1-1 with a 3.75 ERA and .045 BAA lifetime against Cleveland, but got lit up in his only career start at Progressive Field.

Carlos Carrasco –Carrasco was the tough-luck loser in last Sunday night’s matchup with the Astros. Cleveland’s No. 2 arm tossed 7.2 innings of 3 ER ball to log a third straight quality start. He also tallied 6 Ks and enters start No. 11 with a 63:14 K/BB ratio. Cleveland has split his four home starts where he’s thrown to an unsightly 5.01 ERA and .250 BAA. That said, he’s 3-2 with a 2.83 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and .285 BAA in six career starts against the Astros.
Baseball Betting Picks
Astros at Indians Picks

You can have your NBA and NHL Playoffs. I simply can’t wait to take this installment of ESPN Sunday Night Baseball in after getting a taste of this exact pitching matchup only a short week ago. We were all over the home team last Sunday, and that will once again be the case in this revenge bout. Carrasco’s home/away splits are a bit disturbing, but so too are McCullers. I honestly foresee the Tribe blowing him up this time around, and because of it, I’ll be laying the price with Cleveland the baseball betting lines at the top-5 online sportsbooks on both the moneyline and run-line. Look for Carrasco to go deep and get plenty of run support to allow Miller and Cody Reed to seal the deal.

MLB Pick: Bet the Indians at BookMaker.eu
MLB Score Prediction: Cleveland 9 – Houston 2

Baseball Betting Predictions, Indians vs. Astros Lines

MLB Odds

Indians at Astros Picks

By Mike Rose

The seventh week of the 2018 baseball betting season closes out with a gem when Carlos Carrasco and the Cleveland Indians square off against Lance McCullers Jr. and the Houston Astros on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball. This series has recently been dominated by the Tribe who’ve taken each of the last five meetings as well as seven of the last 10 heading into Friday’s series opener. The under holds a negligible advantage cashing at a 5-4-1 clip.

Cleveland Indians at Houston Astros
Date and Time: Sunday, May 20, 2018, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Minute Maid Park, Houston, TX
MLB Odds: Check Back Later
Probable Pitchers: Carlos Carrasco vs. Lance McCullers Jr.
Indians at Astros TV Coverage: ESPN

Let’s face it folks, the AL Central stinks. It’s arguably the least competitive division in all of baseball with no team the owner of a +.500 record entering play on Thursday. That said, the Indians are the cream of the crop having split its first 42 games which has equated to an ugly $1100 deficit for baseball bettors.

Most bothersome is the team’s record away from Progressive Field where its managed only eight wins through 20 tries ( -$861 ). While the offense leads the league in home runs ( 64 ) and has amassed 28 quality starts ( No. 2 ), the bullpen ( No. 30 ) and defense ( #24 ) has left much to be desired. That in large part is why losing clubs like Minnesota and Detroit are hot on their trail for the division lead.

No other team has amasses more wins than the World Series favorite Houston Astros who stood 28-17 heading into Friday’s series opener. Unlike the Cubs last season, Jose Altuve and company haven’t experienced any sort of hangover after winning the franchise its first championship ever a short season ago.

While it sits 11 games over the breakeven point, it’s still cost those attacking the MLB betting lines $201 overall this season. That’s going to happen when you’re installed favorites by the oddsmakers in all but one of your 45 lined games. Though the squad has logged $581 in profit on the road, it’s cost those that backed them at home over $780 overall. Unsurprisingly, they’ll be installed chalk to win this matchup as well.

Player to Watch

Carlos Carrasco – The Tribe’s No. 2 hurler has thrived away from Progressive Field this season in pitching to a 3-1 record and 2.78 ERA. Though he’s 2-1 at home, his ERA is nearly 3.0 runs higher there. For some reason, he’s been more comfortable in hostile than accepting territory. On top of that, he’s excelled versus the Astros in his career pitching to a 3-1 record, 2.67 ERA and 0.98 WHIP. Houston is batting .218 against him lifetime. He’s made a pair of career starts at Minute Maid Park and won each by throwing shutout ball and only five hits through his 15.1 total innings of work. Each of his last four road starts have been of quality.
Baseball Betting Picks
Indians at Astros Picks

As much as I don’t want to get in front of the Houston Astros, they’ve been more susceptible to defeats at home. You seriously never know what you’re going to get whenever McCullers takes to the starting bump. He can give you seven shutout innings with 10 Ks, or he can depart before the fifth with an ugly stat line. His inconsistency has me leaning towards the Tribe in this spot with Carrasco leading the charge. He’s been unbeatable in this ball park, and been at his best on the road. Add Cleveland’s recent dominance of the rivalry into the equation, and there’s no way I can avoid backing the visitors at top-rated sportsbooks. Especially if receiving a plus-money return by linemakers!

MLB Pick: Bet the Indians at BookMaker.eu
MLB Score Prediction: Cleveland 6 – Houston 3

2018 Stanley Cup Playoff Odds, Golden Knights vs. Jets Game1 Picks

Stanley Cup Playoff Odds

NHL Playoff Odds Winnipeg Jets vs. Vegas Golden Knights Game 1 Picks

By Rock Westfall

The Winnipeg Jets are coming off the thrill of a seventh game win at Nashville against the Predators to clinch what was one of the better playoff series so far this spring.  But now they must quickly recover and refocus.  Game One of their Western Conference Final opens just two nights after their series winning triumph in Music City.  The opposition will be the Vegas Golden Knights, the most remarkable and successful expansion franchise in any sport ever.  And with the hottest goaltender in the playoffs in Marc Andre Fleury the Golden Knights will be a tough out.  Winnipeg hosts Vegas in game one on Saturday night.

Vegas Golden Knights vs. Winnipeg Jets Game One
Date and Time: Saturday, May 12, 2018, 7 p.m. ET
Location: Bell MTS Place, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
NHL Odds at BookMaker.eu: Golden Knights +1 ½ (-230), Jets -1 ½ (+190), Over/Under 5 1/2, Golden Knights +120, Jets -140
Golden Knights vs. Jets TV Coverage: NBC

This is the first game of the best of seven Western Conference Final.  Game two will also be in Winnipeg on Monday.

Players to Watch

Winnipeg center Mark Scheifele has had the hot hand in post season with 11 goals and five assists and a plus six.  In the regular season Scheifele posted 23 goals and 37 assists with a plus 19.

Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien is another important man to keep an eye one. “Big Buff” has four goals and nine assists in the playoffs with a plus six and a powerful defensive presence.

A pair of centers, Jonathan Marchessault and William Karlsson, have led the Golden Knights all season.  So far in the playoffs Marchessault has four goals and seven assists with a plus seven.  In the regular season the Florida castoff had 27 goals and 48 assists with a dominant plus 36.  Karlsson was kicked to the curb by Columbus last summer and has four goals with six assists and a plus six in post season.  In the regular season he led Vegas with 43 goals and 35 assists with a plus 49.

Golden Knights left wing James Neal was their top clutch goal scorer starting with their first ever game in a win at Dallas.  Neal had 25 goals in the regular season with three goals and four assists in the post season.

Goalie Report

Vegas netminder Marc Andre Fleury has been the most dominant goalie in the NHL playoffs so far with a save percentage of an eye-popping .951 and four shutouts with a goals against average of 1.53.  Fleury has won eight out of his ten starts in post season.  During the regular season he posted a .927 save percentage with four shutouts and a 2.24 goals against average.  Fleury’s value goes far beyond numbers.  He is the marquee man of the franchise and its most recognized player.  He is a fan favorite that has shown the rest of the team how to conduct themselves as representatives of the franchise.  Fleury has three Stanley Cup rings from his days with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Connor Hellebuyck has enjoyed a breakout season as a goaltender to be relied upon for the Winnipeg Jets.  Hellebuyck has posted a playoff save percentage of .927 with two shutouts and a 2.25 goals against average.  In the regular season he had a .924 save percentage with six shutouts and a 2.36 goals against average.

Key Stats

Winnipeg was 32-7-2 at home this year with just 15 of their 41 home games going under the total.  The Jets ranked second in the NHL for goal scoring and fifth for goals against.

Vegas was a good road team with a mark of 22-14-3-2 with just 18 of their 41 away games going under the total.  The Golden Knights were fifth in the NHL for goal scoring and eighth for goals against.

Hockey Betting Picks

Golden Knights vs. Jets Free Picks

It’s understandable that Winnipeg would be a series favorite.  But its asking an awful lot for the Jets to fully reboot just two nights after winning a game seven at Nashville.  Look for well rested Vegas to take full advantage.

Golden Knights vs. Jets Pick: Bet the Vegas Golden Knights money line
Golden Knights vs. Jets Game Prediction: Golden Knights 4, Jets 2

 

MLB Baseball Odds, Twins vs Cardinals Betting Predictions

Twins at Cardinals Picks

By Mike Rose

Interleague play gets the ESPN Monday Night Baseball treatment when Paul Molitor’s Minnesota Twins invades Busch Stadium for an abbreviated two-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals. These franchises last crossed paths back in 2015 when the Redbirds went into the Twin Cities and got the brooms busted out on them by the Twinkies at Target Field. Both meetings combined for low scorers pushing the under to a lucrative 9-0 in the team’s last nine skirmishes.

Minnesota Twins at St. Louis Cardinals
Date and Time: Monday, May 7, 2018, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Busch Stadium, St. Louis, MO
MLB Odds: Check Back Later
Probable Pitchers: Fernando Romero vs. Carlos Martinez
Twins at Cardinals TV Coverage: ESPN

The Twins got out to a semi-decent start to their 2018 campaign by rattling off wins in eight of their first 13 games. Then they went on to drop eight straight games and completely fell off the mat. Since snapping the losing streak, they’ve managed just one win in their last four tries. Overall, the Twins have proven to be one of the bigger money burners in the league costing MLB bettors upwards of $700 overall.

A bulk of that deficit has been incurred on the road where Eddie Rosario and his mates have secured just three wins through 12 tries ( -$591 ). This is a team that ranks No. 20 in the league in scoring runs ( 4.1 RPG ) and has produced the fewest quality starts ( 8 ). On top of all that, the bullpen sports a sickening 5.93 ERA while the defense has committed 17 errors ( No. 16 ). This team has no doubt taken a step backwards through the first five weeks after qualifying for the play-in game a short season ago.

Since dropping two of three to the Brewers back on April 11, the Cardinals have been one of the hottest teams in the league. Yadier Molina and his mates have rattled off wins in 11 of their last 17 opportunities. In doing so, they currently sit a half game in back of the Brewers for the NL Central lead and rank out as the twelfth most lucrative team to wager on in baseball ( $225 ).

However, nothing about this team jumps off the page when you break it down statistically. The offense is league average in scoring 4.6 runs per game while batting .235 overall ( No. 24 ). The pitching staff has thrown to the No. 4 ranked ERA ( 3.32 ) and amassed 14 quality starts, but the defense is below average in fielding percentage and I’m not sure you can trust the bullpen entirely regardless of Bud Norris currently in good form. Still, the team has protected its house in winning nine of 14 in front of the hometown faithful ( $167 ), and gets the advantage of playing there in the series opener.

Pitching Matchup

Fernando Romero –The youngster impressed in his 2018 debut by tossing 5.2 innings of shutout baseball at the Toronto Blue jays to log his first career win in the big leagues. Though he issued a trio of free passes, he also racked up 5five strikeouts. He’s proven to be a reliable strikeout pitcher at all levels, but will have his work cut out for him in this spot versus a Cardinals lineup that’s been the tenth toughest lineup to punch out. He does have the advantage of St. Louis hitting lefties better than righties.

Carlos Martinez – C-Mart is starting to once again pitch like the ace Mike Matheny had hoped for last season. He’ll enter his eighth start of the year 3-1 with a miniscule 1.40 ERA and 1.04 WHIP. Though his BB/9 average sits at 3.8, he’s offset the free passes by racking up 45 strikeouts in 45 total innings of work. Like his offense, Minnesota has been average against right-handed pitching ( No. 17 ). He’s been nearly untouchable at home where his ERA falls to 1.07 and BAA to .205. St. Louis has won all four of his home starts, and he’s only conceded 2 ER in his last three starts.

Baseball Betting Picks

Twins at Cardinals Picks

As much as I want to believe Minnesota has what it takes to take down the Cardinals ace, I just don’t see it happening. Pitching at home against Toronto is a much different scenario than tossing in hostile Busch in your very first road test at the MLB level. That’s something I don’t foresee Romero conquering in this spot. He looks to be a viable arm that will give Molitor and his staff solid innings down the road, but he’s simply not prepared for this challenge. All things being equal, Minnesota’s only shot of beating the MLB betting lines at the best online sportsbooks would be if St. Louis suffers a major letdown after taking on the Cubs the previous three days. While that’s entirely possible, I’m not willing to bank on it.

MLB Pick: Bet the Cardinals at BookMaker.eu
MLB Score Prediction: St. Louis 8 – Minnesota 2

NHL Playoff Betting Lines, Penguins vs. Capitals Game 2 Odds

NHL Odds

Stanley Cup Playoff Odds Penguins vs. Capitals Game 2 Picks

By Rock Westfall

“Here we go again.”  That is the cry of Washington Capitals fans and gamblers after a game one disaster that re-opened many old wounds from the past.  With two of Pittsburgh’s top players, Evgeni Malkin and Carl Hagelin, out with injuries in game one at Washington and with the Caps holding a 2-0 third period lead fate finally seemed to be on the side of the home town team.  But once again the arch nemesis of the Capitals cursed them.  The Penguins rallied for three goals in less than five minutes to steal the first game and the initiative.  Washington has lost seven consecutive playoff series to the Penguins.  And now it’s looking more probable that it’s going to be eight in a row for Pittsburgh.  Once again Washington choked on a huge opportunity to seize control against Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals Game 2
Date and Time: Sunday, April 29, 2018, 3 p.m. ET
Location: Capital One Arena, Washington, DC
NHL Odds at BookMaker.eu: Check Back Later
Penguins vs. Capitals TV Coverage: NBC

With their 3-2 win in game one the Penguins lead this best of seven series 1-0.  After game two on Sunday games three and four will be in Pittsburgh.  If necessary game five is back in Washington, game six would be in Pittsburgh, and game seven would be set for the US Capital City.

Injury report

Malkin and Hagelin remain questionable for game two.  Malkin is hobbled with a leg issue while Hagelin has an injured face.  Malkin in particular is a key component for the Penguins as evidenced by his 42 goals and 56 assists with a plus 16 in the regular season.  In the playoffs Malkin has three goals and two assists.  He has played a key role in all three of Pittsburgh’s Stanley Cup championships.

Players to Watch

Pittsburgh center, team captain, and seven time All Star Sidney Crosby is on playoff fire with seven goals, eight assists and a plus eight in seven games.  Fellow center Jake Guentzel has been every bit as good with seven goals, nine assists and a plus 11.  Top defenseman Kris Letang has one goal, six assists with a plus seven.

Washington left wing and team captain Alex Ovechkin catches a lot of heat each spring for the team’s playoff failures but it’s hardly fair.  And so far, this playoff season “The Great Eight” leads the Caps with six goals and four assists.  That being said Ovechkin missed a wide-open net in game one that literally brought him to his knees in frustration.  Top Washington defenseman John Carlson has one goal with eight assists so far in post season.  The Caps do remain strong up the middle with centers Evgeny Kuznetsov (five goals and four assists) and Nicklas Backstrom (two goals and six assists) providing excellent playoff production so far.

Goalie Report

Washington goaltender Braden Holtby began the first two games of post season on the bench.  He rescued the Caps in the first round by backstopping four straight wins after they fell behind 2-0 to begin the series.  Holtby has a save percentage of .924 so far in post season.  He has a mixed record in the past playoff failures of Washington.  In the regular season he actually played himself out of a job.  Game one was a reminder of his worst moments in past playoff years.

Pittsburgh netminder Matt Murray also had a subpar regular season but has more than recovered in the playoffs.  Murray has posted a save percentage of .917 with two shutouts.  Murray backstopped both Stanley Cup titles for the Pens in 2016 and 2017.

Key Stats

Pittsburgh has had a solid advantage over Washington in this head to head series with eight wins in the last 12 meetings.  Five of the last six in this series have gone under the total.  The Penguins have brought considerable value in games at Washington with five wins in their last seven visits.  Five of those seven games have gone under the total.

Hockey Betting Picks

Penguins vs. Capitals Free Picks

The definition of insanity is to expect something different from the same set of circumstances.  So goes the old adage that may apply to this series.  Game one reminded all why Pittsburgh is a back to back Stanley Cup champion and the Caps are renowned as chokers.

Penguins vs. Capitals Pick: Bet the Pittsburgh Penguins money line
Penguins vs. Capitals Score Prediction: Penguins 4, Capitals 2