Having hit six in a row and eight of nine, we are motivated to tackle Friday's slate with these stellar plays on the run-line odds. These three matchups stand out to us as the best choices.
The sportsbooks numbers are out and I will profess we do not have as much value as we have seen the last few days, which meant I just have to work a little harder as a baseball handicapper, which is a good thing.
Nationals vs. Phillies: Bet Max with Max in Philly
In Max Scherzer's (8-5, 1.76 ERA) last two starts he has complete game shutouts, striking out 26 and allowing one hit, one walk and one questionable hit batsman which cost him a perfect game. These performances are not fluky since the right-hander is conceding a major league-low .181 batting average against and has the lowest WHIP in baseball at 0.80.
With Philadelphia averaging a mere 3.3 runs per game and Scherzer posting a 1.23 ERA in three starts versus the Phillies this season, hard to imagine they score many times. Wagerweb.ag, home of the guaranteed next day payout, has the Nationals as -120 run line favorites (-1.5) and with Washington on a six-game winning streak and showing signs of life offensively, they should be able to plate several times against Aaron Harang (4-9, 3.41). The aging righty has pitched well again to start a season, but his 7.05 ERA in past three starts is showing he might be returning to normal. With Mad Max 24-11 on the RL versus teams whose hitters strike out seven or more times a game the last two seasons, the Nats are the right play.
MLB Picks: Nationals -1.5
Rangers vs. Blue Jays: Contrarian Play on Buehrle and Blue Jays
While their record road record is not the best at 22-17, Texas has been the finest wager away from home against the MLB odds at +17.3 units. And even though Nick Martinez (5-3, 2.77) has been exceptional for the Rangers at 6-1 as road underdog (Rangers record), I'm flying with the Blue Jays.
We cannot ignore that Toronto is 16-6 this month and is averaging 6.2 runs per game and pitching has improved in surrendering 3.7 RPG. Mark Buehrle (7-4, 3.90) has been a mixture of good and bad but in his lengthy career, he is 13-5 against Texas (Team's record is 16-5), with a quality 3.17 ERA.
With Texas slumping on a five-game losing streak and only scoring 2.4 RPG in their last seven, Toronto at +115 on the RL (-1.5) is inviting, especially when you know the Rangers are 3-11 against the run line after five or more consecutive losses since last season.
MLB Pick: Blue Jays -1.5
Cubs vs. Cardinals: St. Louis to Cruise Past Cubbies
St. Louis is eight games ahead of Chicago in the NL Central and part of that lead is having a 4-2 mark against the Cubs this season. This is nothing new in this friendly rivalry as the Cardinals almost always have the upper hand on the Chicago.
With the Cubs Jake Arrieta (7-5, 3.07) having a good campaign, taking Chicago on the run line might make sense but you have to pay a steep price of -210 or higher to bet them. This is why John Lackey and the Cards are more atctractive as +185 run line favorites. The tall Texan right-hander has a sharp 1.81 ERA at Busch Stadium this season. With the total at 7, Lackey is 25-5 against the money line at home when the total is 7 to 7.5 in his career (Team's Record), winning by 1.6 runs per contest.
While you cannot help but be impressed by the direction of the Cubs, their inconsistent offense is dipping again in registering 3.0 RPG in their past seven tries, making St. Louis a safe play.
MLB Picks: Cardinals -1.5