Wed, 12 October 2011
Category:general -- posted at: 9:55pm CDT
Mon, 10 October 2011
The Dude is rasping and raving this week about the Steelers finding their mojo, Buffalo getting no respect, and people waking up to Philly being a nightmare team. He breaks down the early NFL and college lines and all the gambling goodness that is coming up. Check it out now as the Dude Presents!
Sat, 8 October 2011
Let’s keep the baseball picks rolling into the League Championship round!
Detroit (+120) vs. Texas (-140)
Hitters: Both of these teams feature stacked lineups that are hitting the ball well right now. For that to continue in the ALCS, each side will have to step up their game against very tough starting pitching. The Tigers would love to see Miggy Cabrera warm up and Delmon “Yankee Killer” Young stay hot in the second round. And speaking of hot, Adrian Beltre was scorching against the Rays. EDGE: EVEN
Starting Pitching: Again, both sides have very strong rotations (it’s no coincidence these teams are playing deep into October), so we need to look at the matchups. C.J. Wilson is a solid ace at the top of the Rangers rotation, and he’ll be followed by capable starters in Derek Holland and Colby Lewis. But the matchups seem to favor the Tigers in this series. It starts at the top with the best pitcher in the AL, Justin Verlander. Then comes Doug Fister, who followed his breakout regular season with a Game 5 gem against the Yankees. The Tigers are also solid at the back of the rotation with Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello, though this is where the advantage may swing in the Rangers’ favor. Still, Detroit is so tough at the top that I have to give them the nod. EDGE: TIGERS
Bullpen: Tigers closer Jose Valverde made good on his guarantee and shut down the Yankees for the series win. That said, Detroit’s bullpen just can’t stack up against their counterparts from Texas top to bottom. Feliz is the hard-throwing closer that gets all the attention, but Uehara and Adams bridge the late innings as well as any setup men in the business. EDGE: RANGERS
Other Factors: Ron Washington is a by-the-books guy, but at this point you have to give him some credit for getting his team to back-to-back ALCS appearances. As for Jim Leyland, he’s cut out of the Tony La Russa mold with his constant lineup tinkering. Neither guy is likely to make a big difference in this series. The Rangers have home field advantage, though that’s at least partially mitigated by the fact that they’ll be facing Verlander in the first game.
The Pick: There are a lot of potential heroes in each of these lineups, but for me it comes down to the starting pitching matchups. With a big pitching edge in Game One, Detroit has a great chance of taking this series home with at least one win, which would flip home field advantage in their favor. While I do think the Rangers will ride their potent offense and dominant bullpen to a couple wins, the starting matchups line up perfectly for a Tigers upset. The positive overlay on your wager is just the icing on the cake. DETROIT +120
St. Louis (+125) vs. Milwaukee (-145)
Hitters: St. Louis led the NL in runs scored in 2011, so there’s no doubt they bring great bats into this series. Pujols and Berkman were big for the Cardinals in their divisional matchup with Philly, while newly acquired Rafael Furcal had some big hits to fuel the upset. The big question surrounding St. Louis is the status of Matt Holliday and his injured finger. Holliday was basically a non-contributor against the Phillies. The Brewers are no slouches on the offensive side, with two of the best in the game in Braun and Fielder. As we’ve mentioned before, the Brewers have a gaping hole in their lineup at the shortstop position, but otherwise are fairly solid. If Holliday is healthy, the Cardinals have a pretty clear edge. If not, things get a lot murkier. The current reports out of St. Louis are that Holliday is back to regular batting practice, so we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. EDGE: CARDINALS.
Starting Pitchers: The Cardinals are very solid throughout their rotation, though none of their starters was dominant in the regular season. Chris Carpenter looked like his former Cy Young self against the Phillies, including a gem for the ages in Game 5. If that continues, St. Louis may have the ace they need. I mentioned in the divisional preview that Zach Greinke came alive in the second half, and he’ll be starting Game 1 for the Brewers. Gallardo and Marcum are very capable starters as well. EDGE: BREWERS
Bullpen: This was an area of weakness for both teams at the start of the season, but developed into a strength by the end. The Cardinals ‘pen has the versatility that La Russa enjoys, and that will come in handy against the Braun/Fielder combo. Milwaukee had a couple late meltdowns in their series against Arizona, but will likely have those issues straightened out coming into this matchup. EDGE: EVEN
Other Factors: The managerial matchup is a huge edge for the Cardinals, as La Russa has been under the bright lights of October many times in the past. But that advantage is countered by Milwaukee’s home field advantage, which showed up again in the divisional playoffs (3-0 at home, 0-2 in Arizona). Milwaukee just needs to hold serve at home to take this series.
The Pick: I’ve gone back and forth on this one. The Brewers are great at home in general, and even tougher when Greinke takes the hill (11-0 at home) as he likely will in Games One and Five. But the Cardinals are one of the few teams that can get to Milwaukee in Miller Park, as evidenced by their road sweep of the Brewers in August. This has the potential to be a chippy series, because these teams don’t like each other much. With an experienced manager, a veteran lineup, and a potential ace in Carpenter that seems to be rounding into form at just the right time, the Cardinals can ride their momentum to a World Series rematch with the Tigers. ST. LOUIS +125
Category:2011 -- posted at: 3:00pm CDT
Wed, 5 October 2011
With a quarter of the NFL season in the books, the Dude tries to keep his Survivor streak going. Plus teasers, college picks, a baseball update, and some hot German soccer action!
Wed, 5 October 2011
Category:general -- posted at: 9:52pm CDT
Mon, 3 October 2011
The Dude is back at you to recap a great weekend of football, which the Doctor owned. There's weird rulings for the Giants, Clemson showing consistency, and the Buffalo bandwagon hitting the off ramp. Add in a rundown of all the NFL lines and the best of the NCAA, and it's pure goodness! Check it all out now and enjoy the knowledge of the Dude Presents!
Thu, 29 September 2011
We didn’t get a chance to talk about the impending playoff matchups on our last show, since they were still being decided by one of the most exciting nights of baseball in recent memory. So here’s a quick breakdown of each matchup and where we think the smart money will fall.
Tampa Bay (+145) vs. Texas (-165)
Hitters: Despite health issues, Texas holds a big edge here. Beyond Longoria and Zobrist, the Rays have been a light hitting squad all season. Whether you consider Upton or Jennings their third best hitter, either guy would rate only about seventh best for this deep Rangers group. EDGE: RANGERS
Starting Pitching: The Rays have maybe the best 1-2 punch on the AL side in Shields and Price. They will certainly have a pitching advantage in Games 1 (Shields vs. Wilson) and 2 (Price vs. Harrison). After that it gets tricky, because it isn’t entirely clear who will pitch for the Rays. But regardless, the advantage will likely swing to the Rangers with Ogando taking the hill. EDGE: RAYS
Bullpen: Tampa’s bullpen has been an issue all season, but it’s hard to say how they’ll look in the playoffs with Wade Davis moved out of the rotation and the phenom Matt Moore added to the postseason roster. Texas has made great strides since last year in the ‘pen, though it’s worth noting that Neftali Feliz saw a spike in his walk rate and a reduction in his strikeout rate this year…not a great sign. EDGE: RANGERS
Other Factors: Joe Maddon is one of the best managers in the majors. He’s not afraid to think outside the box when it comes to deploying his personnel, which is a big advantage in the playoffs where every at bat counts for so much. Ron Washington is fine…he doesn’t really add or subtract much from his team. The Rangers enjoyed a substantial home field advantage (as most teams do) this year, posting a 52-29 record in Arlington.
The Pick: The Rays are a great story, coming from behind to grab a playoff spot on the last day while eliminating the rival Red Sox. At +145, they’re a tempting pick. But it’s hard not to think that they used up their magic just making the playoffs, and the run differential advantage for Texas (+178 compared to +93 for Tampa) indicates that the Rangers are really the better team here. TEXAS -165
Detroit (+130) vs. NY Yankees (-165)
Hitters: The Yankees are known for big name veteran hitters like Alex Rodriguez and Mark Texeria, but it’s been Robbie Cano and Curtis Granderson leading the way in 2011. New York is definitely blessed with a deep lineup, but the question is whether some of the older hitters will contribute against playoff pitching. Hold on to your drawers, because I’m about to drop a knowledge bomb on you: the Tigers’ top three hitters have been more valuable than the Yankees’ top three this season. Seriously. Look up the season Alex Avila is having...the guy is a stud. Throw in Cabrera and Peralta and you have one of the best middle of the order groups in the playoffs. Where Detroit is lacking is depth, as they get very little production at the bottom of their lineup. EDGE: YANKEES (but not by much).
Starting Pitchers: You may have heard about this Justin Verlander guy. He’s good. Really good. As in maybe AL MVP good. The Yankees sport the second best pitcher (Sabathia) in the AL postseason, but he’s second by a WIDE margin. The Tigers will also start the astonishing Doug Fister and the slightly disappointing Max Scherzer in this series, while the Yankees will counter with Ivan Nova and Bartolo Colon. Translation: Detroit will have the better starter in every game of this series. EDGE: TIGERS
Bullpen: The Yankees bullpen was in shambles earlier this season but has come around of late, and they still have Mariano Rivera, who has attended this little postseason dance once or twice before. Detroit’s bullpen is more of an unknown commodity given manager Jim Leyland’s penchant for using his starters until their arms fall off, though Valverde remains one of the best closers in the business. EDGE: YANKEES
Other Factors: Girardi and Leyland are mostly “by the books” guys, so don’t expect any surprising tactical decisions. Girardi is just hoping his team doesn’t blow this series so he doesn’t get blasted by the New York press, and Leyland is too busy applying Nicotine patches to care what’s happening on the field. Like the Rangers, the Yankees were 52-29 at home, so having the home field advantage will be big.
The Pick: A lot was made of the Red Sox collapse, but this Yankees team is slumping into the postseason as well. The only effective starter in their rotation will be matched up against Verlander twice, and the veteran lineup is looking old and gimpy right now. I have a lot of respect for Cano and Granderson, but they’ll need help against a tough pitching staff and I don’t think they’ll get it. New York was the better team in July, but the Tigers are the better team now (and the worst possible matchup the Yankees could have drawn). DETROIT +130
Arizona (+135) vs. Milwaukee (-155)
Hitters: Arizona features a young nucleus in Upton, Montero, and Parra that should keep the future bright in the desert for quite some time. But for the Milwaukee hitters, their time is now. Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder constitute the best middle of the order of any team in baseball, and yes that includes the Cardinals. Throw in the rest of this deep lineup (minus an even replacement level shortstop…yikes!) and it’s not hard to see which offense is more potent. EDGE: BREWERS
Starting Pitchers: If you’re looking for a reason for the Diamondbacks enormous improvement this season, look no further than their starting rotation. Kennedy, Hudson, and Collmenter all took huge steps forward this year despite pitching in a tough home park. As for the Brewers, Greinke and Gallardo got off to tough starts but have been huge for Milwaukee in the second half, while Marcum and Wolf remain very steady options for Games 3 and 4 of this series. EDGE: DIAMONDBACKS
Bullpen: The Arizona fans are wincing at this point, because they know what’s coming. This has been a major problem area all year for the Diamondbacks, as their main strategy has been to get leads early and then hold on for dear life in the late innings. J.J. Putz is a capable closer though. Bullpen issues hurt the Brewers in the first half of the season as well, though the acquisition of K-Rod to pair with John Axford have solved those to some extent. Regardless, expect some late game heroics in this series. EDGE: BREWERS
Other Factors: Kirk Gibson and Ron Roenicke are the postseason noobs this year, so it’s a bit ironic that they’re matched up against one another. More importantly, the Brewers sport baseball’s biggest home field edge (57-24 in 2011), so Arizona will need to steal one in Milwaukee to win this series.
The Pick: The turnaround in Arizona has been impressive this year, and Gibson gets my vote for Manager of the Year (even despite the second half that Tony La Russa coaxed out of the Cardinals). But the Diamondbacks feel like the “happy to be here” team in the NL, and as impressive as their young pitchers have been in the regular season, they saw a steady diet of terrible lineups from their NL West counterparts. We’ll hear more from Arizona in the future, but with Fielder headed to the free agent market, the Brewers need to win right now before their window of opportunity closes for good. MILWAUKEE -155
St. Louis (+245) vs. Philadelphia (-290)
Hitters: You’ve probably heard of these St. Louis guys – Pujols, Berkman, and Holliday are a productive trio in the middle of the lineup. Not surprisingly, the Cardinals rode their Big Three to the highest run production in the National League. As for Philadelphia, the dirty secret about this team is that their offense has been in decline for years. Shane Victorino posted a career year, but the rest of the team had major issues, including more injuries for Chase Utley and a career worst on base percentage for Ryan Howard. The addition of Hunter Pence is the wild card for Philly. Still they were only 5th in the NL in runs scored, despite playing in one of the best run-scoring parks in the majors. EDGE: CARDINALS
Starting Pitchers: Do I have to do this? Really? Carpenter continues to be a workhorse for St. Louis, while Lohse and Garcia are above average pitchers. But the Phillies counter with Halladay, Lee, and Hamels, who would all be the staff ace of the Cardinals (and many other teams). The Phillies will have the edge in starting pitching against any team they face in the 2011 postseason. EDGE: PHILLIES
Bullpen: The Cardinals have improved their ‘pen markedly in the second half, which is a good thing considering they traded away their best young player to do so. Salas has looked good in the closer role and they’re deep with a variety of arms, so expect plenty of pitching changes as Tony La Russa engages in his textbook over-managing. Like the Tigers, it’s hard to say much about the Philadelphia bullpen since they rarely need it. Expect to see a lot of Charlie Manuel sitting calmly with his arms crossed while his starters pitch deep into games. EDGE: CARDINALS
Other Factors: While we’re not overly enamored with Tony La Russa’s managerial style here in Doctor and Dude land, it’s hard not to admit that he seems to get the most out of his teams. But really, both the Phillies and Cardinals are veteran squads…they know what they need to do, so this series will mostly be decided on the field. The Phillies posted a 52-29 home record, though they also won 50 games on the road so it’s hard to tell whether they have a home field advantage or are just an awesome team no matter where they go.
The Pick: This is actually the easiest series to analyze for one specific reason: the lines. -290 is just a stupidly high number for a five game baseball series. Are the Phillies the best team left in the postseason? Yes, definitely. But that line implies that Philadelphia would win this series over 70 percent of the time, and there’s no way that’s right. Strange things happen in a short series...the Cardinals just swept Philly earlier this month. It makes no sense to bet on Philadelphia, so either give this one a pass or make the gutsy move and take St. Louis. ST. LOUIS +245
Category:general -- posted at: 8:51pm CDT
Thu, 29 September 2011
Category:general -- posted at: 8:35am CDT
Wed, 28 September 2011
Nearing the quarter pole of the NFL season, the Dude sees a glimmer of hope for the Bears this weekend while the Doctor is disgusted with the Jets' recent performance. Plus college football picks, the Dude's signature teasers, and a look at who just might be hoisting the World Series trophy in a month.
Mon, 26 September 2011
The Dude recaps a week that saw winners, losers, and bums fighting it out. He recaps the Patriots losing, LSU winning, and the Steelers struggling. He breaks down the early lines for the NFL and college, highlighting some great match ups for the week to come and college lines going wild. Check out this show and start getting ready for your weekend of action early!