Thursday's Game Two
By: Ron Patrick
Thursday's Series Finale
Boston took the second game of this series Wednesday night 4-3, rallying from a 3-1 deficit with two runs in the seventh and one in the eighth for its fourth straight victory.
The Sox won as -180 favorites on Wednesday's MLB betting line, but to our chagrin couldn't quite cover on the run line.
The Orioles had won four of the first five meetings with Boston this season, but the Red Sox have turned the tables, beating the O's four times in a row.
On an injury note Sox OF Jacoby Ellsbury left Wednesday's game after fouling a ball off his foot, and he's questionable for tonight.
So Boston leads the AL East by 2.5 games over Tampa, while Baltimore trails Oakland by 4.5 games in the battle for the second American League wild-card spot, as the teams head into the finale of this three-game series Thursday night (7:10 pm ET).
Thursday's Betting Line
Most books we surfed Thursday morning opened Boston and Jon Lester at around -155 over Baltimore and Chris Tillman, then bumped the Sox to -160 or so on the MLB odds boards. The total held steady at nine.
Thursday's Pitching Match-Up
Lester (12-7, 3.97), by our tough accounting, is 12-for-27 on quality starts this season, but running on a string of four in a row. Last time out he held the Dodgers to one run and three hits through 7 1/3 innings, and over his last four outings he's given up just four ER through 29 innings.
On the season Lester has allowed 169 hits in 172 1/3 innings, walked 57 and struck out 141.
Boston is 16-11 in Lester's starts this year.
This will be Lester's third start this season against the Orioles; in the first game he got nicked for five runs and nine hits in five innings, but in the second game he gave up four hits and zero runs through seven innings. The Sox split those two games.
Tillman (14-4, 3.66) is 14-for-26 on quality starts this year, and three for his last four. Last time out he held Oakland to one run and three hits through eight innings, and over his last four starts he's allowed eight ER through 28 innings.
On the season Tillman has allowed 143 hits, 26 of which have left the yard, in 160 innings, walked 57 and struck out 133
Tillman is also 7-1 with a 2.97 ERA on the road this season.
Baltimore won 18 of Tillman's first 23 starts this year, but has lost his last three.
Tillman has been tough on Boston this season; in three starts against the Sox this year he's allowed just two ER and 11 hits in 18 1/3 innings; the Orioles won all three of those games.
Our Take on Thursday's Game
Both starting pitchers have been going pretty good lately. Tillman had pitched in some good luck earlier this year, but he's actually caught some bad luck as of late. Lester, meanwhile, is on a roll, allowing two or fewer ER in eight of his last 10 outings. But the kicker for us in today's match-up is the fact that Baltimore, a team that's nine games above .500 overall on the season, is just 18-22 vs. lefties. Boston, meanwhile, is 53-36 against righties. So despite Tillman's recent track record vs. the Sox we'll go with the Beantowners to finish off the sweep for our free picks for Thursday.
Wednesday's Game Two
By: Ron Patrick
For a breakdown of today's games, check out Wednesday's Baseball Betting Odds & Lines Report!
Boston grabbed the opener of this series Tuesday night, banging out 14 hits, including eight for extra bases, and getting seven RBI from Shane Victorino on its way to a 13-2 victory.
The Sox won as -120 chalk on Tuesday's MLB betting board, and the game played way ‘Over’ its total of nine.
So, Boston now leads the American League East by 2.5 games, while Baltimore now trails the closest AL playoff qualifier by 3.5 games, as the teams head into Game 2 of this series Wednesday night (7:10 p.m. ET).
Wednesday's Betting Odds
Most baseball books opened Boston and John Lackey at around -150 over Baltimore and Bud Norris, with a total of 9.5. Many shops then also bumped the Sox to around -175.
Wednesday's Pitching Match-Up
Lackey (8-11, 3.17) is 15-for-23 on quality starts this season, and four for his last five. Last time out he held the Dodgers to two runs and three hits through eight innings, and over his last five starts he's allowed 12 ER through 34 2/3 innings.
During the season, Lackey has given up 142 hits in 147 2/3 innings, and his K/BB ratio is excellent, with 130 whiffs against 32 walks. But Boston, thanks in significant part to some poor run support, is only 10-13 in Lackey's starts this year.
Lackey is also 5-2 with a 2.07 ERA at Fenway Park this season. In his two starts this season against Baltimore, Lackey allowed seven ER and 16 hits in 13 1/3 innings; the Sox split those two games.
Norris (9-10, 4.22), a recent acquisition from the Astros, is 13-for-26 on quality starts this year, but 0 for his last two. Last time out he got nicked for seven runs (two of which scored after he left the game) and nine hits in 4 2/3 innings against Oakland, and just before that he gave up four runs and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings against Colorado.
Norris has allowed 169 hits in 153 2/3 innings, walked 57 and struck out 118 for the season.
Houston, the worst team in baseball this season, went 8-13 in Norris's starts this year, while Baltimore, with some nice run support, has gone 5-0 in games he's started for them. In his one start earlier this year against Boston, Norris gave up five runs – three earned – and nine hits in six innings of a 6-1 Houston loss back on April 28th.
The ‘Over’/’Unders’ are a combined 13-34 in Lackey and Norris' starts this season.
Our Take on Wednesday's Game
Lackey has pitched in some bad luck this season, with just eight wins to his credit. Norris, on the other hand, has been a little lucky; he's given up 11 runs in his last two starts, but Baltimore won both those games. That kind of trend can't last very long. So we like Boston today for our sports picks. But we also don't like the direction that betting line is headed; so we'll take a chance and go with the Red Sox on the run line for our free Wednesday MLB picks.
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Tuesday's Series Opener
By: Ron Patrick
Boston's lead in the AL East is tenuous, while Baltimore has some ground to make up.
Join us as we break down this series from a sports betting perspective.
Tuesday's Betting Lines
As of Tuesday morning most baseball betting shops were listing Boston and Felix Doubront at around -135 over Baltimore and fellow lefty Wei-Yin Chen, with a total of nine.
Also, TheGreek.com was chalking the Sox at MLB betting odds of -185 to win this series, with the O's getting +165.
O's-Sox Series Set-Up
Boston just took two of three games from the Dodgers in LA, winning Sunday's rubber match 8-1. In the process the Red Sox became the first team to take a series from the streaking Dodgers in over two months.
Baltimore, meanwhile, just took two of three games at home from Oakland, winning Sunday 10-3.
So Boston, at 77-55, leads the American League East by a game and a half over second place Tampa, and by 5.5 games over 70-59 Baltimore.
The Sox also trail Detroit by just a half-game in the battle for the best record in the American League.
And the Orioles trail Oakland by 2.5 games in the race for the second American League wild-card spot.
Baltimore leads this season series six games to four. And going back to last year the Orioles have won 11 of the last 14 games they've played at Fenway Park.
Also, seven of the 10 games in this series this season have played UNDER on the totals.
Tuesday's Pitching Match-Up
Doubront (9-6, 3.79), by our strict standards, is 10-for-23 on quality starts this season, and coming off one of his best outings of the year, in which he held San Francisco to one run through eight innings. But in his two starts previous to that Doubront gave up nine ER and 20 baserunners (hits + walks) in eight innings vs. the Royals and Yankees.
For the season Doubront has allowed 138 hits in 140 innings, walked 58 and struck out 122.
But despite some rather mediocre numbers Boston has won 14 of Doubront's 23 starts this year.
In his one start this season against Baltimore Doubront got nicked for four runs – three earned – and seven hits in less than five innings of a 5-4 Sox loss back in June.
Chen (7-6, 3.19) is 9-for-16 on quality starts this year, 5-for-7 since the All-Star break. Last time out he held Tampa to two runs through seven innings, and since the break he's allowed 19 ER over 47 1/3 innings.
On the season Chen has given up 91 hits in 101 2/3 innings, walked 26 and struck out 63. Also, of his 16 starts, he's allowed more than three ER just twice.
Somewhat surprisingly, Baltimore is only 8-8 in Chen's starts this year.
In Chen's only start this season against Boston he gave up three runs and five hits in 6 1/3 innings of a 3-1 Orioles loss back in April.
In the bullpen match-up for this series Baltimore ranks 16th with a 3.65 ERA and is 46-for-67 on save opportunities, while Boston ranks 19th with a 3.71 ERA and is 25-for-45 on save opps.
Check out our Tuesday Morning MLB Odds & Betting Lines Report!
O's-Sox With the Sticks
Boston ranks second in the Majors with a .345 team OBP, 13th in home runs with 135 and second in scoring at 5.0 runs per game.
Baltimore ranks 15th with a .317 OBP, first in homers with 175 and fourth in scoring at 4.8 RPG.
O's-Sox Betting Trends
Boston is 40-23 at home this season.
Baltimore is 32-30 on the road.
The OVER/UNDERS are 28-32 in games played at Fenway Park this season.
The Sox are 25-19 vs. left-handed starters this year.
The Orioles, who are 11 games over .500 overall, are only 18-21 against lefties.
Our Take on Tuesday's Game
This is a tough one; Doubront and Chen are about even in the pitching match-up, the bats are about a wash, as are the bullpens. But Boston is a little better team against lefties than is Baltimore. So we'll go with the Red Sox for our free MLB pick for Tuesday.
Pick: Take the Sox at the -127 offered at TheGreek.